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Online Tool Streamlines Event Management
By Ceri Dowson, Event Manager, Heartland Brewery
Timing is everything in the event booking business. This is a well-known fact among venue owners and managers that cater to everything from weddings to birthday parties. If the venue misses an inquiry from a booker, or is late in responding, it could very well mean a missed opportunity for booking a client altogether.
Heartland Brewery (www.heartlandbrewery.com) has seven locations in Manhattan and books approximately 1,000 events every year. The greatest problem the event team faces is in managing the volume of inquiries, and responding promptly so that the planner doesn’t choose another venue. To safeguard against losing business, a solution was needed to give Heartland’s potential customers immediate results. Heartland turned to New York-based Imbookin.com (www.imbookin.com), an online database currently consisting of more than 10,000 venue choices, that party planners can use to search and book event venues at no cost.
For venues, there’s no charge for listing space; a 10 to 13 percent commission is charged when the venue receives a successful booking. Sign-up and creating a listing was a simple process; after adding a description, pricing, photos, space sizes and availability, Heartland’s information was approved and is now readily viewable to potential customers 24/7. The tool has resulted in an immediate savings in labor for Heartland Brewery, and noticeable increases in bookings.
Imbookin.com’s technology is built to make the site an event-booking engine with dynamic data, showing a venue’s most accurate availability, prices and package offers. Robust search functionality provides filtering options by budget, date, guest count, location, privacy, amenities, age group and keywords. The tool allows for transparent pricing for any available spaces and packages (such as food and open bars), which a planner can purchase and use toward the minimum price to reserve the space. This is compared to other sites that only disclose a price for renting the venue. This transparency and accuracy has been hugely helpful in ensuring that Heartland’s bookings are smooth and seamless. The system of checks and balances in place ensures there’s no back and forth during the reservation process. This not only provides that sense of immediate gratification to the client, but it saves valuable time for Heartland’s planners, as they no longer have to compile and send menus to potential customers.
Heartland’s managers are able to use the site’s organizational tools for greater insight and control, including a dashboard that provides the ability to track all inquiries, site visits, bookings and the status of bookings. Communication between the booker and Heartland’s managers via Imbookin.com’s proprietary online messaging platform has also been a valuable way to foster
Immediate results and increased efficiency
Since implementing Imbookin.com, Heartland Brewery has enjoyed an almost-immediate uptick in bookings. In the first week that Imbookin.com went live, Heartland Brewery booked approximately $5,000 worth of parties and there was a significant boost in holiday and corporate events. Heartland has also expanded its network of known event planners — there is no magic list you can purchase, but Imbookin.com enables Heartland to cast a much wider net, with clients now coming in from as far away as Chicago.
Another bonus has been employee and guest satisfaction, as event managers are thrilled with the ease of the booking process. Because everything is right on the site, there is a lot less back and forth. Prior to implementing Imbookin.com, a booking could take five to six hours to finalize. Going through Imbookin.com, the process only takes 45 minutes. One client sent an e-mail stating, “We had all of the information and within five minutes, the booking was complete. It was the easiest booking ever!”
Ceri Dowson is the event manager for Heartland Brewery, a New York City-based brew pub with seven locations, hosting about 1,000 events at its locations every year.
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