Results, Insight and Actions from the London Venue Benchmark Report

Results, insight and actions from the London Venue Benchmark report

Explore what the data means and how it can help your digital marketing

In this article, I'm going to look at the significant results from 2018's London venue benchmark report and how you can use the report and its data sets and analysis to be more targeted, more scientific and more successful with your sales and marketing campaigns, more specifically your digital sales and marketing campaigns
We'll go through the following:
  1. What do the report results mean and how can I apply the thinking to my business?
  2. The steps to using data scientifically to improve your sales performance
  3. Conclusion
Before we dive into the detail of the 2018 report, it's probably worth bringing you up to date with what this report is all about.

We started this report over a year ago because in most client and sales discovery meetings we sat through, a common topic of conversation and discussion with every person, every venue, every business unit was:

"what is everyone else (their competitors) doing?"

Were they having a good/bad month, quarter, year? How were their sales last month or even right now? What are the general trends out there?

Sure, the venues had their own data, primarily made up of two sets of data:

1. Year on year performance
2. Performance against budget/target

But were/are those numbers an accurate reflection of the market or just a reflection of only one set of data - their own?

The common and most natural line of thought and subsequent questioning was always about comparing yourselves to others. Even though at school and through our parents we were always told we are individuals and shouldn't compare yourselves with others, the natural juxtaposition is to do just that - compare yourself with others. I tell my children "you are individuals so just focus on yourself" but as my daughter quite rightly pointed out the other day when she told me the results of her French test and I said, "that's good darling - how did others do in the test?" she called me a hypocrite - in a nice way...I hope :-/

It's true to say that over the last 10 years we've been living and working in interesting times. Even today, as I write this blog, economists can't work out what's going on. Employment numbers are rising (that's good), wage growth is positive (that's good) and yet there are many other bellwethers that point to troubled times, even another recession. GDP and growth are 2 key figures that have these economists in a fizz. Personally, I think there's a new world order happening (driven by tech) and the traditional economists haven't yet come up with a formula to accurately measure it and therefore predict it.

Aaaaanyway, that may (or may not) have a relevance to what I'm about to talk about. Conferences....woohoo - how exciting.

1. What do the report results mean and how can I apply the thinking to my business?

Well, it may not sound exciting but according to our latest report, which covers the entire 2018, Conferences are where it's at. So, love 'em or....quite frankly, get bored by them, these event types are what is going to keep you in your job, get you that promotion and pay for your holiday because Conferences are where it's at (financially).

For those of you who have read my previous blogs on conference targeting, been to my presentations and read the performance reports before, you will have heard me banging on about my favourite mantra: 'Data, has a better idea'.
Yes, I know we live in a creative industry and yes, loads of people want to get into our sector because they're "creative" and that's great but if you want a big slice of London's £18billion events market then you need to be a bit more than creative, you need to be scientific and have a target. You need to aim at something and you then need a plan. If you don't know what you're aiming at then the chances are you won't hit anything.

Here's a quote/clip from one of my favourite authors: Jordan Peterson. He's a Canadian clinical psychologist and a professor of psychology. It's a bit deep but if you allow yourself to think about it, (I think) it's very true. Go with it.....

"You don't get what you don't aim at. You might get what you do aim at and your aim might get better as you aim"

And you can do a lot worse than aiming at conferences. In fact, I would go as far as to say that if you're not aiming at Conference events then you're nuts.

In my last piece on conference targeting I talked about how to go about targeting conferences and this piece is more food for thought about the significance of conferences and how you go about creating a plan so when you take aim - you have a high chance of hitting the target.

The truth of the matter is, there are 2 BIG markets that dominate the events sector: Conference Events and Christmas Parties. Between them, they account for over 50% of the total event spend*, with the rest split between Meetings, Dinners/Banqueting, Receptions, (non Christmas) Parties and Awards ceremonies.

Don't just have a great creative way of targeting the conference market - apply a scientific way of targeting it. It's why sports people (who do a lot of aiming) are so obsessed with data, because data will give you the answers. Fact. End Of. Oh, and your bosses will love it and love you for it.

So if you know you want to take aim at conferences, you now need to start your journey into Conferences data - even more exciting but here's my prediction. If you DO take the steps and use the various data sets this article goes on to explain, then you will be totally inspired and dare I say it, quite excited by what the data tells you and what you can do. THEN, you can get creative. After you have the data. But don't put the cart before the horse and get creative without the data - that's just wishful thinking and relying too much on hope - and that's not good a place to be because when you need to adjust your plan (because you will), what will you make your decisions based on?
Fact (data) or creativity?

If you would like to receive the latest benchmark report from Q4 and also the year, let us know and we'll 

2. The steps to using data scientifically to improve your sales performance

A quick look at Google will tell you that the conference market (for people searching for venues) has 2 distinct characteristics:

  • For the UK, there are peaks and troughs
  • For London, it's relatively flat/constant.

Basically, conferences in London are 'always on'. It never stops. No surprise there when you consider how popular London is for conferences....from all over the world.

Let's call this Data set 1

Data set 2
Next thing you want to do is dig a little deeper into what those search terms are. What are people punching/typing into Google? (nope, still not 'speaking' to Google about conference venues yet. Even though it is predicted 50% of search will be voice (mainly questions) by 2020 (I don't believe that) - nor does one of my 'go to' digital blogs from Econsultancy.

So, what are they searching? Conference venue location, type, style, size - all of the above? none of the above? Do some digging and look for the search terms and how closely they match your venue and your proposition.

Data set 3

Next up is competitors. Did you know that you can not only find out how your competitors rank for certain terms but also what they rank for and why?
YEP - you can go deep into your competitors' web site and pretty much ambush the search terms that they rank for. That's quite a cool thing to be able to do (and quite fun researching it) but it may also be a red herring so proceed with caution.

Data set 4

Your data - what do YOU rank for?
Yes, a bit of self-study and looking in the mirror.

How do you rank for conferences or for the terms that are being searched?
What data/traffic do you get? when? why?
A deep study into that data will tell you a lot.

Data set 5

External market data
That's where the London Venue Performance Report comes in.
What else is going on out there in the market?
How do you compare against your competitors?
When you 'onboard' (sorry) with the report, we build your competitive set and make sure you compare your data with your competitor's data (anonymously of course) so you can see how you are performing.
This has many benefits and will start the ball rolling on a whole bunch of internal questions such as:

  • Is our pricing right?
  • What are our busiest months and why?
  • How do our month on months track with the rest of the market?
  • What size of conference do we get and how many and in which month?

All these questions can be derived from the overall market data and more specifically, with the competitive set analysis.

3. Conclusion

So, there you have it. 5 sets of data that will help you define and build your strategy for targeting the biggest market of all - Conferences.

If you miss any of these sets of data you will not complete the picture and you will not have an accurate assessment of what the market is doing - FACT.
Whichever piece of data you are missing will be like the piece of the jigsaw puzzle and will stick out like a sore thumb when it comes to your next meeting/planning session. And when you bear in mind you only have 5 sets of data, then how on earth will you, your colleagues and your bosses work out what the picture is?

This approach can, of course, be applied to any event type for any venue. The other most notable type and revenue stream being Christmas Parties. This is the second biggest slice of the pie.

Of course, it all starts with the fundamental question of what do you want to aim at (and why?).

If you'd like help with any of the above then please do let us know

If you'd like more info about the London Venue Benchmark Report then CLICK HERE

And please do let us know if this article is helpful and we can keep em coming - all comments welcome in the comments section below. If you let me know what you like / don't like, I can adjust these articles accordingly - thanks

Tags : Christmas, Conference, London Venue, Digital Marketing, Venue Benchmarking