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<p>Corporate groups can drive restaurant business during off-peak times.</p>

4 ways to generate more corporate event bookings

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Corporate groups are an incredibly attractive audience segment. Not only do these groups have large budgets to spend on entertaining their clients and guests, but they often need event space during otherwise slow times, such as weekday evenings.

And while many restaurants acknowledge the revenue potential of corporate groups, not enough are effectively marketing their private event space to this audience. Every day companies are looking for space to host meetings and events. Here are a few simple tips to effectively market your space and boost your corporate event bookings. 

1. Show off your experience

Do you have a wealth of experience hosting corporate groups or other large parties? Make that clear by creating a special page on your site dedicated to photos showing your private space set up for events. Consider adding testimonials from previous satisfied clients.

On this page, be sure to specify your capabilities. Are you equipped to handle an intimate dinner for 40, a cocktail mixer for 400—or both? Include your audio and video capabilities for groups interested in hosting meetings and create a “menu” of options broken down by group size and cost per person.

2. Differentiate your offering

While some corporate groups just want a quiet place to share a meal or mingle with clients, others are interested in getting the conversation started with a hands-on activity. Do you have a unique dish that everyone raves about or a specialty that you prepare in a unique way? Consider letting guests try their hand (under the guidance of a staff member of course). Or let guests work with your bartenders to concoct their own signature drinks. When offering interactive activities, always make sure you leave an open area in the private space for the guests who choose not to participate in the interactive portion of the event.

3. Let someone else do the marketing for you

Corporate event planners often have a very long to-do list. Planning the best event possible is a top priority, but people rarely want to spend valuable time researching and contacting dozens of individual venues. To save time and effort, corporate event planners often turn to technology for help.

Online marketplaces such as Kapow let corporate groups book events with the click of a button. Users just have to enter the estimated number of attendees and budget and the online marketplace will generate a list of local venues and experiences to choose from. By listing your restaurant’s event space on an online marketplace, you will reach a previously untapped audience of corporate groups looking for the simplest way to organize an event.

4. Implement a post-event marketing strategy

To encourage return visits from corporate groups, follow up after each event and solicit feedback from the organizer on ways you can improve. Consider offering groups a discount for a return event or referral. Your customers are one of your greatest marketing channels, so if they have a positive experience and want to spread the word, reward them for doing so. And don’t forget to keep past customers fully updated on any new events or activities you add to your restaurant’s offerings.

If your restaurant has the space and resources to host private events, you have the potential to build a widespread, loyal customer base of corporate groups. With these tips in mind, not only will you attract new corporate customers, but you’ll also encourage groups to book return visits and open the door for those who attend larger events to return to your restaurant on their own.

Nicole Lavin is v.p. of U.S. operations for Kapow, an online events marketplace.

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