In the events industry, busy season goes by incredibly fast, as you turn over one magnificent event after another. You may often feel as though no amount of organization and attention is ever quite enough to get everything done. When the off-season comes, use it to catch your breath, align your priorities with your resources and whip your property into shape before the next big events begin.
Keep an off-season to-do list
Throughout the year, keep a running list of items that need your attention. Include everything from major building repairs to procedural issues. Listen to feedback provided by your team and your clients and jot everything down. Don’t rely on your memory, especially during peak operating season. Keep a whiteboard or a go-to notebook of thoughts on how you can make improvements when things slow down a bit.
Off-season is the perfect opportunity to make major repairs or upgrades to your facilities. Block off time and secure the necessary quotes and permits to fix anything that may need multiple days of repairs. Avoiding peak event season allows you to close up shop without stressing your clients or impacting their events.
Photo credit Chrisman Studios
Update your marketing & public relations presence
Have you recently reviewed your website to ensure all information is accurate and that your messages are in alignment with your brand? Is your social media presence converting prospects into paying clients at a rate that justifies the time and effort you invest? Are your brochures up-to-date, business cards accurate and in stock, and customer outreach pieces, like standard email responses, on point? The slow season is the time to review and make changes to these important items, so you can put your best foot forward as you meet new prospects.
Review your contracts and documentation
This is also the time to contact your legal team and review client contracts, employment materials and tax planning information. Consultation with experts should be an annual exercise to protect your business interests as well as those of your employees.
Lavish attention on your clients
When you’re in the thick of peak-season events, you can’t devote quality time to clients whose events are still months away. In the off-season, you can reach out just to “check in” with each of your clients. You can also schedule tastings, venue tours and longer consultations. Your clients will appreciate that you are proactively approaching them, and you will benefit from early identification of potential stumbling blocks that can be addressed right away.
Photo credit Evonne and Darren Photography
Hold an annual team meeting
Bring your entire team together to talk about what is working in your business, what needs improvement and what you all hope to accomplish together in the future. You might hold a retreat off-site or plan an in-house meeting. Whatever the format, make sure you give everyone a voice and an opportunity to help make plans for future growth.
The off-season is your best opportunity to brush up your venue and prepare it for the next peak season. Make a point of creating routines that will help you use this gift of time wisely, while you take your business to a whole new level.
Heather Jones is the Catering Sales Director for Wente Vineyards, a family-owned property that is home to a winery and vineyards, golf course, restaurant and a handful of unique facilities for hosting weddings and special events.
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