Cranmore Park Conference and Exhibition Centre is set in the heart of the Midlands with convenient road, rail and air links. A stylish and modern venue with airy open spaces it can host local, regional or national meetings and events in its first class facilities.
An independent and privately owned business, Cranmore Park is a purpose-built venue for exhibitions, conferences, meetings and training courses with over 3,500 sq. metres of space. Built over two levels incorporating two main exhibition showrooms, two large conference rooms and seven boardrooms, Cranmore Park has successfully been hosting a wide spectrum of events for several years with many of its clients returning time and again. The venue is continually improving its facilities, the most recent change being the addition of the 508 square metre Diamond Suite.
The in-house catering team prepare and cook all meals on site, using locally sourced food and the freshest ingredients. The venue’s Dining Room and Eating House are relaxed environments for delegates and visitors to eat, drink and chat. With seating for 150 in each restaurant there is ample space for comfortable dining.
With on-site car parking for up to 400 cars and excellent transport links, Cranmore Park is easily accessible for visitors wherever they may be travelling from. In the last financial year the venue hosted over 380 events and 40 trade exhibitions for Associated Independent Stores.
Wanted customised and intelligent reporting for growing venue business
Head of Events at Cranmore Park, Angela Peat explains, “We were no longer paying for support for our old system and as our business was expanding we needed to upgrade our technology. In particular, we wanted to be able to easily and automatically create bespoke reports on areas such as occupancy and the level of revenues that our spaces were generating, without having to resort to using Excel spreadsheets.”
“We save massive amounts of time in administration as customised reports can be created almost instantly.”
Head of Events
A cloud-based, modular system from Priava
The venue looked at three different technology suppliers, but selected Priava because it could do everything they wanted. “It was a natural progression to choose Priava as they could transfer some of the data across from our old system. The fact that it was cloud-based was also in its favour as we wanted to be able to access information wherever we are, whether at home or out of the office. We liked the fact that as long as you’ve got the latest browser installed you can use it. The modular nature of Priava was also appealing because we only needed to pay for what we needed.”
According to Angela the installation was quick and in the short-term both the new and old systems were run in parallel whilst the data was transferred. All training was conducted via the web and there was then a follow-up session a few weeks later, once the team had had chance to use the system. “We are a relatively small events team” says Angela, “so we can’t afford time out of the office, therefore on-line training was perfect for us. We found Priava really easy to use.”
“Massive amount of time” saved, instant access to strategic intelligence and automation supports a huge increase in volume of bookings
The principle driver behind upgrading the venue’s technology was the need for easy and detailed reporting and the collective results in terms of actionable intelligence and operational efficiencies have been significant. Angela says, “We save massive amounts of time in administration as customised reports can be created almost instantly. In the past it may have taken a couple of hours a week to produce a report as we were often relying on manual methods such as running through the calendar to find out what spaces had been used and how often. Instead we now have multiple types of reports produced at different times of the week or month covering all types of statistics from profit analysis, margins, revenues, volume of bookings or enquiries, number of people that have been in the building, through to repeat business levels. As long as we put the information in, we can get all the figures we need from Priava.”
Priava’s ‘repeat bookings’ feature is also a realtime saver as a large proportion of the venue’s business comes from repeat customers. “We only have to enter the details once, the system will then replicate this for future bookings. This is ideal for smaller meeting room bookings that are lower value as you avoid wasting precious time on admin, which takes just as long regardless of whether you are entering a £200 or £10,000 booking. At the same time it is simpler to raise contracts or invoices at the click of a button, enabling us to channel our time into focusing on more lucrative areas such as sales and client relations.”
By having a detailed understanding of where revenue is coming from, demand levels, margins and popularity of different spaces, the management team at Cranmore Park can more accurately assess future strategy and direction such as how to expand the facility in the future.
Technology supports 50% increase in bookings
“In the last twelve months” says Angela, “we have seen a 50% increase in overall bookings that have been influenced by a range of factors, such as an increase in the size of the events team, greater awareness of the brand and also a positive business climate. To sustain and grow this level of business Priava has played a key role in both logging and nurturing opportunities through to effectively managing events and then measuring customer feedback. The booking and tracking capabilities are fantastic. Once we have logged an opportunity we can also add notes, quotations and set reminders to chase potential bookings.”
Maximise the return from marketing such as Google AdWords
Using Priava’s reporting, the venue can also analyse where business is coming from, whether from direct mail or the web. “We can see exactly what marketing is working and understand what Google Ad words are most successful, which in turn enables us to optimise their return.”
Record and act on client feedback
Both during and after an event, the Priava solution provides support to both the events and catering teams. “Everyone has complete visibility of exactly what’s going on.” Says Angela. Function sheets provide clear and concise information to both the catering/ security teams and to the client, and can be tailored dependent on the recipients. Postevent feedback is also captured within the Priava system, so that any comments can be acted on and any changes made for next time.
Checking availability of ancillary items such as car parking spaces
Not only does Priava hold all information for booking and managing events, it also checks availability for ancillary items such as AV hire or the availability of car parking spaces. The latter is particularly vital, as this knowledge can determine on what days the venue is able to host certain combination of events.
Faster creation of invoices and contracts
Cloud supports flexible working and frees up internal IT resources
Time is also a valuable commodity for the internal IT team, so by using Priava’s cloud-based system that is fully supported externally, this relinquishes the management responsibility, so they can focus on other systems, plus there is no need to worry about back-ups, as again this is all managed by Priava. There are other advantages too of the venue and event management technology being hosted says Angela, “With the old system, if the remote access wasn’t working for some reason, then you could not log in when you were out of the office. With Priava it is independent so if you have an internet connection then you can view information. One example where this works brilliantly is when you come back from holiday and you want to see the night before what events you have on for the following day.
As the cloud is completely scalable it also means that Priava is capable of both contributing to and accommodating future growth of the business both in the number of events and expansion of the team.”
The benefits that Cranmore Park has achieved through the use of the Priava cloud-based venue management solution so far include:
- Automated technology helps to support 50% increase in volume of business;
- Saves ‘massive amount’ of time on administrative tasks e.g. inputting data, compiling reports;
- Intelligence for understanding margins, profitability, revenues and other key trends;
- Cloud-based technology enables flexible working and ‘always on’ availability of events information, whatever the location;
- No support required from in-house IT team, freeing up resource to focus on other priorities;
- Easy creation of customised reports;
- Access to strategic information for future planning;
- Automated booking and tracking of opportunities;
- Identifying sources of income helps determine best use of marketing budget e.g. Google AdWords;
- ‘Repeat bookings’ feature saves time and liberates team to focus on sales and CRM;
- Paperless centralisation of all information means everything is recorded;
- Support for receiving and acting on customer feedback;
- Fast creation of invoices and contracts;
- Web-based training means less time out of the office;
- Clear and detailed communication for catering team;
- Record information on hiring/reserving ancillary items e.g. AV equipment, car parking spaces.
Final comment from Angela
“The team have been excellent and if we ever have any issues they always get back to us quickly. They also provide you with the right guidance that allows the team create new reports themselves without having to go back and continually ask questions.”