In the past many venues including hotels, restaurants, wedding venues and convention centres managed their events using a combination of email, excel, notebooks and calendars. Over the past 20 years, software was developed to help take this process online. The first part of the process was utilizing in-house servers for the programs where the software was run on a dedicated computer in the event manager or catering director’s office. If an updated was needed, the software company literally had to send it’s team members to do it physically on site. While the software was much more efficient than the traditional system, it was still slow, clunky and lacked robust features that streamlined the work flow. Now, the venue’s event data was in one central system where it could be protected against being lost or misplaced, but it still required a lot of manual effort.
In the early 2000s, cloud based computing started taking over and many of the traditional server-based software companies began offering cloud versions. This was an ingenious business model developed by Salesforce which charged venues on a per user, per month basis. It was fantastic for the software company since they earned reliable recurring revenue but it was equally a win for the venues as they only had to pay for the software they actually used and not for an expensive hardware install and maintenance. These programs were a huge step up from the earlier server-based programs that were installed on site, however they were often just lightly “customized” versions of software like Oracle or Salesforce, that were really developed for sales teams and then fashioned into a product that those companies could also sell to hotels, restaurants and venues. Despite their lack of customization, the software was widely adopted and is still being used by a lot of venues today.
Now, we are entering a new phase in venue management software. Venues want software that can speak to the outside world as new technologies are being developed that are changing the way we do business. As well, they are looking for software that is built specifically for their needs with a keen understanding of their specific workflow. A one-size fits all approach is no longer sufficient and is now being rejected by market leaders in the venue space. The venues that are willing are adopting new software to do things like automate follows ups, streamline creating and sending BEOs and much more. In the future, we’ll see software made specifically for venues replace the incumbents that were simply slapped together for a quick sale and instead we will see the rise of software that is designed with venues in mind every step of the way.