Download the Guide A new year means a fresh start — the same goes for your business. It’s the perfect time to set new goals, reassess processes, evaluate operations and plan for any initiatives you want to introduce over the next four quarters. If your plan is to grow your events business this year, you’re in luck: we’ve rounded up helpful tips, experts quotes and some insightful statistics to turn that dream into a reality. The National Restaurant Association reports that: 68% of diners visit a restaurant’s website, up from 38% in 2005 Only 16.6% of the restaurant workforce is 16-19 years old, a decline of 4.3% since 2007 39% of consumers would pay their check with an app, if available 90% of restaurateurs believe that their guests know more about food than they did previously 72% of consumers believe that the food available in restaurants provides tastes and flavors that they can’t replicate at home Here’s What the Experts are Saying Chad Brown, Vice President of Operations, Scotty’s Brewhouse: “Commit to having an event coordinator that is passionate about the guests’ experience and takes each event and party as a reflection on their performance. Nothing beats someone committed to taking pride in their results, growing their results, and then giving them the freedom to do their party. “Also, commit to following up with each host or contact after the event. Build that personal touch. It’s a lot easier for someone to say, ‘I’m going to give Molly a call for this party we’re planning’ vs. ‘I’ll call a couple of restaurants to get some quotes and spacing availability.’ Once a connection is made, it makes the process easier for the potential event planner since they already know who to contact because of the professional relationship that was built.” Erin Rudolf, Owner, LoCal Events: “One of my New Year’s resolutions is to focus on building my accounts in Gather. If used correctly, this tool provides an invaluable prospecting source for guests that have used your restaurant or venue in the past. By inputting as much information as possible, you have the ability to contact them by mail, email, or phone to solicit new business in slower months. In addition, you can use the templates to create prospecting emails that auto-populate the guest’s first name and even the date and location of their last event. This is a great way to personalize your prospecting without having to manually type individual emails. Another great resolution is to reach out to your holiday party clients and ask for feedback on their event that can be used to improve your event execution and also give you material to post on your website showing testimonials from happy customers. The holiday season is usually the busiest time of year for the restaurant industry, which means it’s the perfect time to capture some constructive criticism that will help you improve your event program. Again, this can be easily executed by creating a template in Gather.” New Year’s Resolutions to Help Grow Your Events Business Focus on customer retention Following up with former clients is an easy way to build a relationship and score repeat business in a way that’s quicker and more cost-effective than marketing to new prospects. Pay attention to millennials Millennials are a huge portion of both current and future event clients. Maintaining a solid social media presence and highlighting venue aspects like customization options will help pique their interest and garner attention for your business. Make everything mobile-friendly From your website and menu options to booking info and more, having your venue’s online presence optimized for mobile viewing is crucial to success in today’s industry. Make sure you’re making it as easy as possible for people to view your site and make a lead inquiry, even if they’re away from a computer. Keep an eye on your competitors Being aware of what others in your industry are offering helps your company fills gaps in the field, and inspires your team to keep innovating and staying ahead of the curve, without wasting time and money on things that others have already tried. Stay on top of industry trends Growing your event business requires staying in-the-know when it comes to emerging trends in the field. This helps solidify your credibility, and shows prospective clients that you’re paying attention to better anticipate they want out of your space.