Located in Shaftesbury Place near the Barbican and built in 1925 following the bombing of its former home on Fenchurch Street in the First World War, Ironmongers’ Hall is the home of the Ironmongers’ Company one of the Great Twelve Livery Companies. The Company has about two hundred and eighty freemen.
The Tudor style of the new Hall was decided upon, not only because it seemed appropriate for the housing of an ancient guild, but also because it recalled the Golden Age of Craftsmanship.
The venue comprises four rooms that together can accommodate up to 180 people and are suitable for banquets, weddings, dinners and corporate events. As a registered charity, The Ironmongers’ Company is one of around 180 livery companies in the City and the Hall acts as a popular venue for them, as well as attracting other corporate guests, in particular from the financial and legal sectors.
Needed to replace out-of-date premise based technology with a modern system.
A cloud-based system that would immediately save costs in IT maintenance and could be accessed at any location.
Ironmongers’ Hall chose to implement Priava’s cloud based solution and according to Paulina Sowa, the venue’s Sales Manager, moving from the old system to the hosted platform was very simple, “The transition was very smooth and we were really impressed by the level of training and support we received. Everyone had a positive reaction to the software. I was a little afraid of moving to a new solution as we were very busy but the experience was absolutely fine. The training was brilliant, delivered with the patience of an angel, and gave us all we needed to know. As we are a small team with no IT manager, being in the cloud is significant as we save on IT management costs and it is one less thing to worry about. Everyone can also take advantage of being able to work from home now too.” The venue has four users altogether including members of the events, sales and management teams.
"Everything we need to know we can get from the reports"
With the new system’s reporting capabilities it is now possible to use information stored in the system to help both the sales and management departments gain insight on the venue such as identifying trends or types of bookings. Paulina explains, “We have a lot of different departments including operations, kitchen, managers and so on, that all require different data on various parts of the venue and event management. Using Priava it is very simple to run reports on whatever is needed, for example we can look at all the business which has been lost during a specific period and analyse the reasons such as, ‘no availability’, ‘price’ and so on.
The reports have also enabled us to present more accurate sales forecasting to the senior management team. We had some initial support on setting up the first few reports, but now we are completely self-sufficient and can set up a report for pretty much any metric. Everything we need to know we can get from the reports and all the recipients find them valuable and easy to read. If I receive a request from our sales director on the number of enquiries we won or lost last month I can produce it instantly.” The venue can also look at where revenues are coming from and what proportion comes from where such as ‘Hire’, ‘Catering’ or ‘Extras’.
Managing opportunities and follow-ups is effortless
The intelligence created by the reports can help the day to day sales operation by providing key information such as ‘top bookers’ or reasons why a booking is made or not, such as ‘too expensive’ or ‘don’t have data available’. “With more information about our customers, we are more prepared when making a sales call as we know more about them.” Says Paulina. By drawing on past records such as who booked last year, the venue can also easily print out contacts for the business development team to follow up for the coming year. According to Paulina, managing opportunities on a daily basis is effortless because there is no duplication involved. “We put in all opportunities in the calendar as provisional, so we can see what chase-ups we need to do, without having to log this on a separate spreadsheet – everything is on the system.”
Easy to produce event sheets act as “blueprint for success”
Not only does Priava support the optimisation of booking sales Paulina explains how it facilitates the management and delivery of events, “We really like the event sheets, as they provide a ‘blueprint’ for success. Once created they are given out to everyone involved such as the operations team, serving staff and the event managers. Adding new clients is very easy and the event sheets are clear and easy to understand. This was very time-consuming using the previous system. You don’t have to be a ‘techy’ person to use it, you instinctively know where to go. All of the modules are joined up so we can easily see for example via the Catering module, what the food and drink requirements are or review the room choices, logistics and finance – all with just a few clicks.”
‘Tasks’ tab acts as aide-memoire
Another feature Paulina likes is the drop down task tab, “Everyone who is involved in event management knows that you can be juggling a lot things all at the same time, so it can be easy sometimes to forget something. The coloured Tasks tab is great as it acts as an aide-memoire for all essential actions such as client call-backs, checking wine or food requirements, confirming running order, following up on enquiries and so forth”.
Remote Access from any location provides better client collaboration
As the Priava solution is cloud-based, it can be accessed from any device that has a web-browser and Internet connection. According to Paulina this is very useful as it means that they can always respond quickly when a booking request comes in and they can access client and other data, real-time in meetings rooms and other places when they are away from their usual workplace. “By capturing an enquiry and checking availability there and then, reduces the risk of us losing an opportunity.”
Since the implementation of Priava Software, Ironmongers’ Hall has continued to meet its incremental annual targets and has seen further growth in repeat bookings which now represents between 40-45% of its overall business.
The benefits that Ironmongers’ Hall has achieved through the use of the Priava cloud-based venue management software solution so far include:
- Customised reporting to understand their business better, and provides accurate sales forecasting
- Supports flexible working
- Saves administrative time on inputting new contacts/dates
- Reduces lost enquires
- Tracks income from different sources e.g. Catering, Hire, Extras
- React quicker to new sales enquiries
- Identify top bookers
- Smoother event management through clear events sheets
- Task tab acts as a valuable ‘aide-memoire’ for event reminders
- Lower IT maintenance and support costs
Final comment from Paulina
“The solution is both reliable and brilliant, it has everything you need, and it does everything we want to do in just a few clicks. It has been a great experience so far.”
“The support team are always very helpful.”