We take a look at what good data means for venues in the events industry
The secret of good data:
What does it really mean for your events venue?
Here’s something weird that directly affects you:
The UK Meeting & Events industry is worth £21.1 billion – but no-one’s benchmarking it.
What does that mean?
Well, what drives most conversations in hospitality is performance:
- How are you doing?
- How's your year?
- What's happening in the market?
But because there’s no proper benchmarking, everyone is relying on 'year on year' performance and 'against budget' to answer these questions.
The logical conversations about how businesses are performing compared to the market and competitors just aren’t taking place - because those numbers haven't been available...until now.
Over the last two years, we have been working on a unique project that will change the conversation in the M&E industry. A bold statement indeed!
We launched our groundbreaking (yep) and unique (yep again) benchmarking service two years ago. And as well as providing key data reference points that have never before been used, it’s also helping those conversations to turn to data.
We all know the most commons theories when it comes to data:
If you put s**t in you get s**t out or "Data is the new oil".
The consensus (just look at Facebook and Google and Amazon) is that data rules.
So you know you want data on your venue - but how do you make sure it’s accurate?
Considering your data systems is the obvious place to start, and how your people use them – then ask these 3 key questions:
- Have you got a decent venue management system?
- Are you putting quality data in?
- Can you get quality data (reports) out?
If the answer to any of these questions is "No", then the data you extract, and the effort associated with it, have limited value.
Let's explore best practice a little deeper and do some simple checks.
- Have you got a decent system?
- What system do you use and what is the relationship with the software provider?
- When was the last time you reviewed the platform and made sure it was fit for purpose?
Maybe it's time to review your systems and make sure they are fit for purpose?
- Are you and your team inputting quality, accurate and consistent data ?
- Do all the team fully understand how the system works and are they putting in data in the same way?
- Are the permissions of the system managed so that junior team members can't change any settings and allowing the team to (inadvertently) corrupt the data?
Your systems may be brilliant but if the users are not using them along a common set of agreed guidelines then you'll probably be wide open to bad data. And we all know where that leads (ends)!
- Can you get quality data (reports) out?
- Have you agreed the standard set of reports that management need, when and why?
- Do you know what they mean and why they are being requested?
- How easy and how much time do you spend on creating these reports?
- The more the system can do/is automated for you the better. It may be worth adjusting the reports with your supplier.
You've got a good system and the team are inputting quality data so the next and final step is to check upwards that the management team are receiving the reports in the way they want. It's worth sticking your neck out and asking the question. Your bosses will love you for it.
The alternative is that you don't find that out how good your reports are until you produce them for that important meeting/review. If they're not up to scratch, the clever people at group and board level will drive a coach and horses through your reports (that you spent all weekend compiling) and you are left looking like a right chump...and no one wants that.
Data is your lifeblood.
It’s where doctors go for answers to VERY complicated questions : “I’ll do some tests and find some answers” - and the same principle should apply to your business.
The answer to awkward performance questions asked about you and your team could and should be:
"I'll run a report, analyse the results and come back to you with the answer.”
If your data is tainted by poor systems, you have a potential problem.
And so it makes sense that if you have decided to treat data like the blood of your business, you need a decent system or suite of systems to keep, record, track and measure your data.
You also need a decent process and decent people to use it.
The conversations for our benchmarking take us into the world of venue management systems and property management systems.
All our clients are venues and they all need (or would benefit from) a decent venue management system. Systems like Rendezvous is one that I come across a lot and NFS Hospitality who run it seem to understand the issues.
Whatever system you choose - just make sure that you can get quality data out. We, as benchmarking custodians would be very grateful and it will also provide your venue and management with invaluable insights and a levels of understanding that you have never before had access to.
That surely can't be a bad thing?
If you'd like to know more about our benchmarking, you can find out more here.
You can also see other blogs on the big issue of data and trends here.