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How the Events Industry Can Use CX As a Key Differentiator

By Katy Mullet | 3 min read

This is the first piece in our series on customer experience and the hospitality industry. Stay tuned for more tips on exceeding expectations and delighting your guests. 

What is customer experience (CX)?

The Harvard Business Review defines CX as “the sum-totality of how customers engage with your company and brand, not just in a snapshot in time, but throughout the entire arc of being a customer.”

You’re already a hospitality expert, but the time guests spends at your venue is only one piece of the puzzle. Potential customers are looking you up online, reading reviews, interacting with the reservation process and making decisions— all before even seeing your space in person.

All of these touchpoints are part of CX, which is made up of any interaction a customer has with your brand–not just your brand’s conscious interactions with customers.

Gone are the days when your business was compared only with other venues in the neighborhood. Now, potential guests are thinking of your brand in relation to all the brands they see online, as well. As tech features improve guests’ online experiences with venues, the ability to provide seamless digital service becomes a key expectation. Speed, communication and customizability are not just bonuses for a customer anymore— they’re must-haves when booking a venue. From requesting event space to signing a contract, guests want to be able do it all right from their computers.

Improving Your CX

While those expectations might seem overwhelming, there are easy ways to enhance guest experience online, by phone or in person. We’ve drilled it down to the Three T’s:

Time

With artificial intelligence and real-time customer service, time is of the essence when responding to a guest. In fact, 64% of customers expect you to interact with them in real-time (Salesforce). While you can’t be available 24/7, you can take steps to automate customer interactions that buy you time to respond. By listing your availability online, providing easy ways to contact you and responding quickly, you can meet and exceed expectations. 

“I feel like the 24 hour response time is no more, it’s within the hour that people want information. It’s important to be able to respond quickly if you want to capture that business.”  – Kelly Barber, Events Director at Truluck’s 

Technology

You don’t need to be super tech savvy to provide a great guest experience— but you do need to pay attention to what consumers are looking for. About 76% of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations (Salesforce). According to PwC’s research 80% of American consumers say that “speed, convenience, knowledgeable help and friendly service” are key to a positive experience.

Those are high expectations to meet, and luckily there’s excellent technology out there that can help. From marketplaces and reservation softwares to POS systems and event management software, you can adopt different softwares to improve customer touchpoints. It’s also important to keep doing your research— as new tech develops, consumer preferences and expectations change.

Transparency

According Zendesk, 95% of customers tell others about a bad experience, while 87% share good experiences. While online reviews can be a headache, monitoring them and responding regularly is critical. Past and potential guests are online reading and leaving reviews, so make sure to participate in the conversation.

Asking for feedback— both in person and online— is helpful and appreciated by guests. A good place to start is by sending out a survey vial after an event. Showing guests that you’re aware of their needs and are willing to improve contributes heavily to a positive customer experience, and can even turn a negative review into a positive one.

The Payoff of CX

So what does CX, a concept popularized by major tech companies, have to do with your venue? The biggest potential payoff is increased loyalty. That can mean significant repeat business for you, which is easier and more cost effective to bring in than new clients. There’s a 65% chance that a guest who’s booked with you before will book again, compared with a 13% chance of converting a new prospect. And of course, the experience they have will determine the likelihood of repeat bookings— 57% of people reported that they stopped buying from a company because a competitor provided a better experience (Salesforce).

CX as a Key Differentiator for Your Events Business 

As technology and expectations evolve, your business should do the same. Venues that do it right earn more than just positive reviews, with 67% of customers saying that they’ll pay more for great experiences (Salesforce). Top notch experiences mean a pricing premium, so you can increase earning potential as your CX becomes a key differentiator. Start with the Three T’s and stay tuned as we dish out more tips on how to improve your CX throughout the customer journey.

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Katy Mullet
Content Marketing Manager

I'm the Content Marketing Manager here at Gather. Outside of writing and creating campaigns, I love to try new restaurants here in Atlanta or wherever I'm traveling.

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