I am still amazed in this day & age with face book & twitter that more functions managers & venue’s have not embraced this media and made more of an effort to connect with their clients, potential attendees and interested parties. I have spent the good part of the last couple of years fund raising for the Keith hospital and have found this medium great to work with.
There are web sites that offer group text’s at small costs so that your personnel phone number is not bombarded with messages. This gives the recipient time to find out about your event, time to think about a response and the opportunity to reply without feeling obligated. There is also fantastic sites that are for free that you can set up your newsletters to go out to the email addresses that allow people to unsubscribe. Function venues have great opportunities to gather this information and create databases for people.
I have one, I protect mine fiercely, I do not give out any of my contacts without seeking permission first. I have been asked numerous times for my database but have never released it. I have spent years cultivating it and maintaining in to a professional level that I find it laughable when i am actually asked for it. Though functions is not my profession I have just learnt over the years the value of assisting others and in a manner assisting myself.In the planning of the events I hold, I factor in the time to text message, the time to email and the time to call. I want to confirm for the venue the numbers, if someone tells me they are coming I make another list and from 1 month before hand I will follow up and even in the final week I will make calls at my own expense to ensure the numbers. We all know if you book a function for 150 and 120 turn up you have to pay for them, the venue has ensured there is enough food etc to cater for that seat. This means that the cost is taken out of your profit, it is not the venues place there were no shows. It is in fact yours.
This is why I try and pre-plan as much as I can to the nearest seat and budget for the no shows, I have in recent days and it is my fault, I said yes then was unable to attend. I was sent the invoice before I knew I could not attend and did not pay it. I also didn’t let the organiser know but sadly here is where their systems fall down. It is evident by the receipt of an email today
“We are obliged to provide final numbers 3-5 days before such events and we are then charged against that number.
Even though you didn’t attend we still had to pay hence we expect to also be paid.”
I was not sent a reminder email, follow up call, shout out on twitter or face book (I was a follower of their accounts) that payments were due. There was messages on these pages it was sold out, no more seats and a waiting list (hmmmm) so in light of the fact there was no one in charge 3 to 5 days before they had to give final numbers to check up that all booked attendees had paid and that those on the ‘waiting list’ could fill their seats. In my dealings with venues there are numerous calls & emails leading to this final cut off date so that I have chased people and then called an end to numbers. There really is no such thing as walk ins for these type of functions.
I am annoyed at myself for not letting them know but really annoyed at the association who obviously likes empty seats and no policy or person in place to spend half a day ensuing numbers and acceptances. As this function was at the Adelaide Convention Centre the organisation would have been confident in the layout that they could have spent time doing this, I now have a $170 invoice which I am obliged to pay. I will pay it and lesson learned. It is interesting I supplied 2 tickets to them for the Keith Hospital High tea and was sent an email 4 days after informing me they would not be attending and there was not an offer to pay for these tickets, they were not free either….