In the fourth part of the Venue Success Guide, we look at how you can gain a competitive edge against rivaling venues.
To truly step up your venue’s game and edge out the competition, it is vital to understand where your venue sits in the market. Figuring out your venue’s position in the marketplace will help you recognise what other venues are doing, how they are performing and what makes your venue stand out. It may feel as if you know your venue’s appeal, its strengths and weaknesses and how it compares to other venues but the market is changing all the time. If you lose track of where you stand in the market, you may very quickly get left behind. To avoid this, it is important to carry out a competitor audit.
According to Dan Cowdrill, the best way to carry out a competitor audit is by completing annual benchmarking. There are many ways to carry out a benchmarking exercise for a venue, but Dan favours the following two key focuses.
Compare your venue against hotels, not-for-profit venues, unique sites, and those venues which primary purpose is to generate income. All of these venues might not share the same capacities as your venue does, but if you convert their hire costs to cost-per-head or cost-per-square metre it will give you an idea of how venues are pitching themselves in your area. This is important as clients often pick a venue due to its location rather than its style or size.
Secondly, compare yourself to other venues that match the size and capacities of your space but that might not be particularly you. Having this dual set of data will help you to create a better picture of how to price your venue and what sort of venue hire packages to create. And remember, the best way to do this is to pick up the phone, chat to your contemporaries and offer to share your own current price lists and packages with them in return.
If you complete this basic benchmarking exercise every year, it will help you to update your brand, your offer and your rate card. Cowdrill recommends trying to carry out a competitor audit every year to keep it fresh and up-to-date. In the ever-changing venue industry, an audit that was performed three years ago will not hold much relevance in the present day.