Most conference operations are looking for ways to increase revenue. Offering new services or raising rates are the most common means of growing the bottom line. However, there is one activity everyone should do that can positively affect revenue streams: enquiry tracking. There are a surprising number of operators who do not track incoming sales leads.
Sometimes it is due to the amount of work involved in tracking the information, but often it is because there is no perceived value in tracking these leads. The lead is often reviewed for viability, availability is checked and if they are not booked, they are simply turned away with no record of their request. Even worse, some are left completely unanswered. According to the Harvard Business Review, 23% of leads are never responded to by businesses!
Unless you are fortunate to have never had a customer cancel, tracking enquiries can help recover revenue from lost business. Consider this: you turned down an enquiry due to lack of space for the dates requested, a result of an existing booking for event A. The business was otherwise viable, the only issue was lack of space. Months after event A booked, they cancel their event. You now have space which is no longer being used on those dates, losing revenue in the process.
When you track enquiries, you can easily reference the details of the enquiry. Using the above scenario, you would identify the turn downs that exist for the dates and spaces left vacant by the cancellation. Contact these turn downs to determine if they are still seeking a location and try to convert their business. If you cannot identify who previously requested a set of dates and times, the effort required to refill lost business can be more challenging than necessary.
To best prepare for actioning lost opportunities, you should collect, at a minimum, contact information, dates of interest, space requirements, bedroom requirements, dining requirements and estimated value of the event. Having this information at your disposal will not only allow you to identify which turn down you can try to convert, but in cases where you turned down more than one piece of business, which one will yield the greatest revenue.
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