Head of Content and Partnerships Mark Bailey takes a look at how meetingsclub is different, why venue reviews are here to stay and how you can benefit from leaving a review.
The power of word of mouth is undisputed. However, in a world dominated by electronic and social media, we are more likely to find out where to buy the latest phone or what people really think of an event APP by checking with a review site. Word of mouth still holds value, but it has moved online – it even has its own acronym – eWOM!
It all started with Amazon, ebay, Yelp and of course TripAdvisor. It seems that this has become the norm – now everybody wants to know what other people think (good and bad) before committing hard earned budgets to that all-important purchase.
You don’t have to look past the first page of a search engine to read some powerful statistics. According to Search Engine Land, a huge 88% of consumers trust product reviews as much as advice from family and friends. Up to 90% of potential clients read online reviews before visiting a business – so says infographic. And BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey – really brings it home when they report that “positive reviews make 73% of consumers trust a local business more.”
It’s clear that review sites are here to stay. meetingsclub aims to elevate the venue review site to a new level. Not only are we a review site, we recognise that there is a much wider learning and development circle that can be embraced. We’ve a fast growing clubnews section. Editor’s Destinations feature in-depth reviews sharing what it is like to hold an event from a bookers point of view and Trending looks at the latest event technology though to news on the very latest UK venues.
Give something back to your peers
We know how valuable peer reviews are. They add an additional element to your decision-making process. You have the venue’s description and you may also have a venue finding agency’s review. But the most valuable information you can have access to is the experience of someone who has used the venue (preferably on multiple occasions).
People trust other people’s opinions. Fact. This is accentuated if they are in the same field or area of expertise. No matter what the event or your experience in the event industry, it’s all about making informed cost-effective decisions quickly, in order to identify the best value and most suitable venue. Unbiased reviews by peers, who have had first-hand experience of holding an event at a particular venue are held to be highly trustworthy AND reassuring. Without doubt, past positive experience validates future decisions. We also know that people place great value on receiving tips on what to be aware of at a venue. How was the pre-event administration experience? Did it change on signing the contract? Were the AV and production standards as high as promised? Did the PA system work when the CEO walked onto the stage? Did the venue really deliver when it came to serving 350 dinners all piping hot and to time? Did the Wi-Fi deliver as promised at peak times of use? Sharing knowledge, particularly for more junior members of the community is helpful and appreciated.
“Reviewing is learning from experience – or enabling others to do so.” www.reviewing.co.uk
Help venues improve their offering and services
Venues and hotels benefit hugely from feedback and comments made by reviewers. Feedback is a gift. One venue that recently installed a comprehensive new Wi-Fi system for guests had been assured by the vendor that it worked across the entire site. A conference reviewer begged to differ and identified areas where the Wi-Fi simply wasn’t working. Without this feedback the problem would never have been rectified and doubtless more unhappy clients. Feedback is however two way and the power of responding to a negative review demonstrates that the venue is listening and cares. Handling a complaint in a positive way can often turn around a customer and make them a fan for life.
Help venue bookers make important budgetary decisions quicker and with confidence
Venue reviews matter so much when you factor in the cost of getting it wrong. With live events there is no second chance or the opportunity to trial once the contract is signed, the date is in the diary and all the invitations have been sent. Your review will help others get decisions right first time and can save a lot of time with third party independent trusted reviews available all in one place at www.meetingsclub.com
Praise where praise is due
Many reviews naturally focus on the negative. How about highlighting the positives? Everyone loves constructive recognition and praise. It makes such a difference to receive a note of thanks or a positive reference in a review. Taking time out to do this goes a long way and it’s not uncommon for venues to have motivational internal competitions which reward customer facing staff whenever they receive a name check.
You’re not alone… Be part of a knowledgeable online community
For those who really buy into the whole review process, appreciate the benefits and want to go to the next level, active participation in an online community is a natural extension for you. If you are the only person in your organisation making event decisions, being able to ask a personal question of somebody who has been there and done it is extremely beneficial. Further sharing of direct experience either in a closed or wider online event forum creates a comprehensive venue review community where like-minded people can powerfully join together making you realise you’re are not alone out there and can make a huge difference to others.
Thanks to meetingsclub Member reviews, other Members and bookers will benefit from these experiences with the same applying in return. Join as a Member today. It’s free, quick and easy – please go to: www.meetingsclub.com/join/