Before you can capitalize on any revenue, you have to drive some leads for this segment of your business. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Communication - when was the last time you emailed your banquet offerings to your entire list? You should be doing this at least quarterly. Try to tailor your messages to the season; promote holiday parties and packages in the late-summer and fall, promote golf business meetings in the late winter and spring.
Social Media - make sure to highlight banquets on social media. Create some Facebook ads geared towards parties and showers. Post great photos of your facility, food and especially of people having lots of fun. Boost these posts on Facebook to reach a wider audience.
Referrals - If you have a strong base of happy past customers, ask them for a referral. A simple note to the customer is all it takes to get a few introductions.
Networking - all the new-age lead generation via social media and websites is great, but there is no replacement for good-old-fashioned networking in your community. The old axiom "people buy from people they know" still holds true. It is important to be active in your community via the Chamber of Commerce, CVB and social groups like Rotary and Lions clubs.
Now that you've got some leads coming in, it's time to turn them into happy customers (and revenue).
The single most important thing you can do to convert leads is to be professional and timely with your correspondence. Here are some additional tips:
Have a Sales Plan - most clubs wait for the prospect to show up to start the sales process. Great clubs have a plan from the very beginning. Know what information you are going to send the lead once they inquire - is it an email? Sales material? Virtual Tour? Then know the steps you'll need to take - a personal tour, a proposal, a contract - to get the deal done. When you have a defined sales plan, it is easy to move the process forward one-step at a time. You'll always have the goal of getting to the next step in mind.
Bundle - creating compelling packages will help you convert leads, so take every opportunity to bundle your offerings into intelligible experiences for the prospect. Create theme menus, offer wine pairings, signature cocktails and desserts. The prospect is choosing to host their event with you because you are the expert - be a true partner in creating an experience that will wow their guests - you'll make your customers very happy and establish a great reputation.
Customers for Life - don't create one-time customers. Keep your past customers on a list and communicate with them - send them any banquet related information like new packages or promotions, but also interact with them directly. Take the time to congratulate anniversaries of past weddings. Reach out to business meeting customers around the time they booked their past annual event. Send reminders for past Birthday Party customers roughly 60 days before the birthday.
Take some of the information above and use it to supercharge your banquet business. If you need a little help, give us a call or shoot us a note, we'd be happy to chat with you.