I wanted to learn more about the experiences of event professionals, so I reached out and had the privilege of talking with Shafcat Kassim-DaCosta, owner of Events By Pop Up Chic in New York. Shafcat has over 10 years of experience in the event industry as Director of Events in both non-profit and corporate planning on both the client and supply sides.
Shafcat shared her experiences and the challenges that venues and planners face in bringing their clients the product and experience they want. The following are key insights from our conversation.
Client’s first resource stop is your website. It needs to engage several types of visitors and markets.
There are 3 types of event categories that involve a variety of consumers looking for venue spaces online. Social events (weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, etc); Corporate clients (meetings, associations, team-building, etc); and a mix between these two groups where people may arrange quick get-togethers to have a good time. No matter if you are an event professional, an admin at a company tasked with pulling an event together or a do-it-yourselfer planning your own event, odds are you are starting your venue search online. Consequently, most venue websites highlight rooms that limit their versatility because they are staged as a still photo for one type of event. A great example is when a nightclub has a goal to build private and special event business but only show “nightlife” photo spaces on their website, or worse yet, just food photos! This is a missed opportunity when a corporate client may go to that website looking for a room to cater an office retirement party. Shafcat believes, “Venue websites have to be thoughtful and creative in how they showcase their spaces to make sure they are speaking to all markets that they want to serve.” A strategic move is to have an online presence that shows versatility since most spaces can serve multi-uses. Seeing the layout and capabilities of the space all in one place also decreases the time spent on making a decision to book.
Staged photos on your website can be a problem for event professionals
Though most venue space photos are stylistically photographed, event professionals who are planning events or meetings actually like to see spaces as a blank canvas. By presenting spaces in a more realistic fashion, they can envision their ideas and view their creativity mentally in the space without the distraction of specifically staged still photos. For example, if someone has ideas to create a fun-themed atmosphere for a team-building event, seeing still photos decked out for a wedding inhibits their ability to imagine what they can do creatively with that space. Shafcat said, “When I can look at a space online, know the layout, what to expect and not run into any surprises, it’s so much easier to make a decision before I even get there to visit the venue in person.” The ability to showcase a space that helps the planner imagine their creativity for their event streamlines the venue selection process by cutting down the time it takes to physically visit venues to see if it’s a fit.
If your space is in the digital world you’ll save time & increase revenue
The digital nature of our society has event professionals looking for spaces with no geographical boundaries! There are several digital tools available to help view still images of spaces but at some point you still have questions. In our “instant gratification” society, people expect timely responses. Venues with full-time staff will contact an interested party quickly but most venues do not have this capability, and as a result, miss an opportunity because their response was not timely. According to Shafcat, “A lot of venues lose business because they do not have someone dedicated to booking events. Nine out of ten times when someone books a venue, they book with the person who actually responds to their request first.” Many initial questions can be immediately answered with compelling imagery. If an event professional is working with someone in another state to book a venue, a lot of back and forth is eliminated if both parties can simultaneously review complete, compelling imagery of an event space and make a decision about that space. Then the event planner can quickly begin booking negotiations with that venue.
The case for venue space imagery is clear; it must be strategic, thoughtful, engaging and compelling. When correctly executed, it captures the client’s attention, sets expectations and increases confidence to take the next step—booking. On the venue side, you’re building trust and confidence that the client is getting exactly what they see. That makes their decision to move forward easier, and more likely to book your space for their event.
I’d like to thank Shafcat for an informative interview! Shafcat’s the owner of Events By Pop Up Chic where she works with social and corporate clients across the country. You can contact her by visiting her website at http://www.eventsbypopupchic.com
Connect with Shafcat on Linkedin https://www.linkedin.com/in/shafcat/
For this interview, Shafcat and I referred to the following imagery throughout our conversation. Check out this link http://www.houseofblues.com/chicago/vtour
For more information on how to get this type of imagery for your event space contact Helen or Steve at VRProPix 872-760-4174 or book a 15-minute online conference call with us at https://calendly.com/helen-vrpropix/vrpropix-consult