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Why Enabling Booking An Event Online Is A Bad Idea for Restaurants And Hotels

2015-09-10_15-11-47It is very tempting for restaurants and hotels to dream of a day when people can just “book an event” online without any interaction from the venue. By enabling¬†party planners to book event spaces like a restaurant, hotel or airline reservation is a terrible idea. If a venue turns over control of the booking process to the internet, they will turn their function space into a commodity, losing money and time.

Ask any Venue Sales Manager and they will tell you that their event space is “unique” or “special” and will go into great lengths to tell you why. The reason for this is that Sales Managers are selling the experience and where the event is being held is a huge part of the experience, I would argue more important than the food or drink. In the eyes of the event planner, who is managing the booking, one venue is no different than the next space down the road. This is why “online booking” turns your unique venue into a commodity.

The risk of losing business and money is very real. Venues are in danger of the event planner simply not booking because you show online that the space is not available for the date they want to hold the event. By allowing for a conversation to happen between the event planner and the venue Event Sales Manager, you can suggest alternative dates, times or possibly locations for the event. You want to open the lines of communication, not shut them down at the most critical point. Venues can also lose money by having an online booking that is simply bogus. Venue space is valuable and just letting anyone book the space without qualifying the business can be very, very costly.

It is very easy to think that by allowing people to book online that the Event Manager will save time. The truth is that over 42% of Event Managers have to go back to the event planners and ask additional questions regarding the booking. There are no time savings, just additional confusion that could have been solved with a simple phone call in the first place.

Booking airline and hotel rooms online is great and very convenient. Booking an event is not the same thing. Details count, communication is very important and every venue’s event space is different. To make the¬†booking of event space better and faster, simply respond to requests for information quickly and get the conversation started.

  • Online event inquiry should never be confused with event booking. I agree 100% with Jono. Imagine setting a time and diagnosis for surgery without directly engaging with your doctor.

    Technology can enable business but it should not replace person to person interaction. If the best website or best event management tool always wins then we would sit back and enjoy! Reality doesn’t work that way.

  • So true! the online leads are great but I love the personal connection you make as you plan an event.

  • So many of my guests become returning guests because of me. The space is fine, but the service is what they seek.
    Not eveyone is a party planner. They are bound to forget something, and that is why we are here. The little details matter, and a computer can’t see the excitement on a guest’s face when you deliver more than they expect.

  • Cristina

    Our clients need that face-to-face, so this makes perfect sense! Its much easier to establish a relationship with our guests this way.

  • hanna

    Part of me wishes that we had our available dates displayed on our website, but the other part of me is so glad that I get to have loads of conversations! I am often the first person someone talks to about their event, which for the inexperienced or first-time event planner, can result in some seriously helpful conversations. I don’t believe that transferring over to digital booking makes as much sense for events as it does for hotels and airfare.

  • Tjersti

    While booking on line is considered ‘easier’ it is much more important to have face to face interaction with the guest so they are able to visualize and communicate their needs/wants.

  • At our location, I get creative all the time with space and times. If someone was relying solely on a computer generated calendar, they would miss out on the many possibilities we can offer.

  • Hellen

    All Event spaces needs to be booked, it is so much easier in this very fast city.

  • Kelly Griffin

    I think that lead generation is great but the human element is essential.

  • Our Full Service Value Event Space in NYC in Chelsea/Flatiron does both – allow self-booking on-line for our small rooms, and personal attention and event planning support for larger and more complex events! For us, it’s important to have both! Our company has used the combination of Tripleseat’s API and services such as Formsite, Google Calendar, Liquid Space, and Happy Desk to make this a reality!

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