By Becci Finn
The journey to making your venue the next ‘hot-spot’ can be long and arduous. We’re often asked… “where do we start?”
Our response is usually to recommend hitting the road and doing a venue tour to see what others are doing well to create a frame of reference.
Venue or research tours can range in distance, duration and purpose. One example of a grand-scale research tour were the management of a venue joining a retail asset group on a multi-city international tour, including strategic meetings and educational experiences across 4 weeks! That extreme was reflective of the project scale and budget. For the rest of us mere mortals, a typical tour might showcase between 5-8 venues with a variety of aspects in mind.
The aspects that should be considered when visiting a venue should go beyond the ‘look’ of the place. Taking note of the service point locations and how the seating is grouped or styled is a good place to start. Other things to note is the service experience and how the venue deals with queueing and functional elements like condiments and cutlery, signage and memorabilia.
These tours are never about repeating ideas or replicating designs, but intended for creating a frame of reference. Understanding new directions in your venue is complicated – seeing ideas in operation is a straight line to putting all the members of a project team on the same page.
A touring management team also presents a rare opportunity for the hosting venue to really showcase what they have successfully built and delivered. It is recognition of the ‘bright stars’ that innovate and lead the market, guiding others to pathways of future success. We all want a future where hospitality venues as a whole are reimagined into the hearts and minds of our contemporary culture.
The curated venue tour provides relevant discussion points when thinking about new ideas and concepts in the project process. Visiting a mix of fresh new ‘hotspots’ or stopping in to a few of the local offers gives a great insight into where your venues sits in the hospitality landscape and showcases unimagined potential.
If your team have discussed development work, keep in mind the value of a venue tour. Whether it suits to have a group-tour or just agree a shortlist and a timeframe for independent visits. There is value in strengthening your knowledge and experience of the hospitality market as you prepare to position your venue into the future.