The first rule of knowing how to run a profitable meetings room venue is to know what your customers want.
Second, you’ve got to be able to deliver those requirements efficiently and effectively. That way you will remain profitable whilst increasing your customer base.
There are certain things that can get in the way of being profitable but all can be overcome with good planning.
Keeping control of your costs is a common problem. Setting up events can spiral costs upwards easily. A lack of planning contributes towards this.
A miscalculation on the number of staff needed can cost you either way. Too few staff means slow set up and take down times where you may end up over running and causing trouble for other customers.
If your logistics isn’t perfect you will always be booking rooms out for longer than you should. This type of inefficiency can really eat into your returns on each room.
Too many staff means people are hanging around being paid to do nothing.
There are other more subtle factors such as the type of technology you supply and the costs to run it. A smart assessment of what is required and sourcing the right suppliers can help.
So how do you deal with the above issues?
You might want to call in some professionals to run a complete assessment but before you do just run some simple checks.
First you should get feedback from your employees to find out how well they are coping. This should include administration and logistics staff. They will be able to tell you what is causing issues. If you can’t get honest feedback join in for a few days and watch how well your team are coping or even dive in and help set up or take bookings. You’ll be surprised how much you learn from this exercise.
If you discover that your administration team is struggling then evaluate the software they are using. Many venues use antiquated hardware and software that slows down processes. A customer being asked to wait whilst a software tries to return available booking dates might not return – people are easily frustrated.
Take a look at your room management software. Is it well integrated with your website? Can bookings be taken online? If not maybe it’s time to look at some of the more cutting edge room booking software that is on the market.
Next you should book a meeting yourself (mystery customer style) and try out the facilities. You will then be able to gauge the quality of the rooms and equipment. Try setting up the technology in the room yourself. Is it tricky? If so you can guarantee that your staff are regularly hassled by customers with I.T. problems. Another reason why investing quality equipment can save in the medium term.
A 21st Century meetings room provider needs to offer a seamless service. From booking through to the use of the room technology needs to lead the way. Rooms should be fitted with good audio visual equipment; stuff that easy to use and reliable.
Software should be updated and familiar – the Microsoft office suite with PowerPoint is the default in most organisations so the latest versions are expected at your venue. Have presentation tools on hand for those that forget theirs. It happens a lot and you will be hugely rewarded for being able to step in and lend your equipment.
Finally you need to look at what do with rooms that are not getting use. Smaller rooms can be used for hot-desking or rented out to small businesses in the area. Bigger rooms that don’t get much use could be offered to local clubs or associations at cut price rates until you upgrade and can start making more lucrative bookings.
Ultimately the biggest cost saving will be on time-saving systems like room booking software and ensuring the rooms have up to date technology.