How Do You Do What You Do?
No matter if you are a venue manager booking arenas or clubs, or you manage a performing arts center, you know that booking shows can be challenging. Running a performance space of any size involves multiple people, endless requests and tight deadlines. From sound and lights to hospitality and staffing, you are the go-to person for owners, promoters and talent. They expect you to know the venue inside and out so there are no surprises. You have to understand everyone’s needs and then determine how you can provide customers, clients and coworkers the best and safest experience possible.
Eighty-one percent of event professionals say people skills, organization and time management are the top required, essential skills for success in this industry. Venue managers must be proactive multi-taskers who are responsive and flexible – not so easy when you’re using different systems and tools that don’t speak to each other. That’s where venue management software comes in to play and it’s helping venue managers do more better so they can be more profitable.
It’s Your Reputation on The Line
Ever wonder if it really matters if you are organized, efficient and responsive? Lots of venue managers suck at all three, yet they seem to muddle through somehow, right? Not so fast. Would you be surprised to know that 69 percent of event planners select venues based on word of mouth recommendations and 52 percent of event planners are frustrated by the slow response from venues?
That means you stand to lose nearly two-thirds of potential business if you have the reputation of not returning emails, losing paperwork or being slow to manage promoter requests, for instance. Venue management software may be the answer.
You may have heard of venue management software or even tried it, but it’s not all the same. Most venue management software isn’t comprehensive. Some give you the ability to calendar events and make to-do lists with reminders, but they lack critical components like financial tools and reporting. That’s a big deal given what you do all day.
Even if you are perfectly content with your QuickBooks™ and Gmail, you’re making your job harder than it needs to be if systems such as these aren’t integrated with everything else you do. Sure, it all works, but it doesn’t work together. That means more work for you. More time to pull together all the pieces of informations scattered across the multiple systems. More time to understand the status of your business and more time making sure nothing has been missed.
Chasing The Money
You’re likely not in the venue management industry just for the fun of it. You want and need to earn a profit just as much as the artist and promoter and your carrying costs are higher than either of them. If there is limited visibility into what’s flowing in and out, it’s hard to know what you have or what you need to do to earn more. How can you make critical business decisions without accurate, reliable data? Is it wise to just keep doing what you’ve always done and hope it all leads to a profit?
So, what do other venue managers do? For many of them, spreadsheets are still king. This is slightly ironic given the music industry is so dynamic and innovative, yet some of the tools being used to manage it were in their prime back in the early 90s. We aren’t bashing spreadsheets; they have their place somewhere, but it isn’t in venue management.
Spreadsheets are static, historical documents that have to be manually updated, again, by pulling data from disconnected systems. The spreadsheets often become huge and there are no alerts or notifications you can set to keep you on track. Did you enter the right information? Can the data be trusted 100 percent? Who knows? You own the doc and it’s up to you to make sure it’s accurate. That’s a lot of pressure.
Being that your and your employees livelihood is counting on those spreadsheets being a source of truth, do they really give you a sense of confidence?
If You Build It, They Will Come
The goal is to book your venue as frequently as possible with high quality programming that will fill your room. That means building your reputation so promoters and agents will bring you more business. But, it takes the right venue management software – one that is automated, integrated and streamlined. It should enable you to manage promoter requests quickly and with fewer resources.
You need trustworthy, comprehensive data that gathers historical information and real-time data so you can make smart decisions to grow your business. The best venue management software will give you the ability to do all kinds of things – all from one solution. For instance, could your workflow become more efficient if you could accept and reject requests, send challenges, clear and confirm dates with a click? What about adding multiple holds for a show, sending hold reports and automated challenges, and setting follow-up reminders to check on holds that have been inactive for too long?
How much more productive would you be if you could access that same solution from your mobile phone to place holds, send offers and settle shows? You could assign tasks and deadlines, and track estimated, reported and actual expenses in real time. You would have your own personalized dashboard with real-time visibility into the health of your operation. Would that be something of value?
Putting It All Together
The key to finding the right venue management software is to make sure it has the right mix of embedded tools and offers integrations with your favorites you already use. Think about everything you do in a day. Assess which systems and tools you must have to do your job well and which ones you wish you had to do it better.
Before you decide everything you use now is “good enough” or has been working just fine so far, try estimating how much time you spend using those legacy tools. Be honest when considering how many times you’ve dropped the ball, been late responding, miscalculated earnings or otherwise screwed things up because you lacked data or organization. Mistakes may have been made simply due to poor communication or forgetting to put something in your calendar. Now, think about if all of that was automated and the tools shared information so it was no longer up to you to manually enter it?
There is a cost to the inefficiency, disorganization and delays. If it’s not your bottom line, it’s at least your reputation. It may also be your love for the business. Things can be so much better. It’s worth your time to evaluate the modern venue management software products available today. When you find the right one, it may just be the boost your reputation and your revenue needs.