Eventup was suffering from a serious inquiry overload. The Santa Monica, Calif.-based online startup -- which rents out unique spaces for parties, such as Eric Clapton's onetime home or the Malibu pad from The Bachelor -- needed a more efficient way to handle the hundreds of placement requests from venues, as well as customer queries, that were overwhelming the 12-person staff each day.
"Prior to our public launch, every venue we signed up was because of tons of calls and was extremely painful," says Eventup founder and CEO Tony Adam.
The company set out to automate as much of the painstaking process as possible.
Adam invested in a custom-made site with back-end tools that simplify the sign-up process. A "list your space" feature allows venue owners to submit a form with photos and all necessary information, such as size, capacity and parking options. Realizing that venues are booked more often after clients walk through them, Adam built a venue-visit scheduler into the system as well. Party planners can bypass Eventup's staff and communicate directly with potential venues via a secure messaging system on the site. This spares employees from having to answer questions such as, "Do you have a dinner table that seats 20?" Eventup joins in only when it is time to book the location, taking its 15 percent cut. Alternatively, customers can fill out a simple form labeled "Tell us about your event," and Eventup can contact multiple appropriate venue owners at once to solicit bids.
Eventup says its sales reps went from signing up five venues a day to more than 20, and that within a month, revenue was 10 times greater. (It would not provide figures.) The company is looking to expand to other markets, including Chicago."Now we're able to put more care into our corporate customers and focus our efforts where it makes the most sense," Adam says.
A second opinion
John Powell, CEO of Alfresco, a cloud-connected content management platform, says that even though Eventup successfully built its own automation process, a knowledge-management (KM) solution could have saved time and headaches."A lot of their questions can be stored in the KM system; answers can then be automatically stripped out of e-mails so that, over time, the common questions on venues can be answered more easily," he says, noting that KM systems can also help standardize forms for venue surveys, capturing blueprints and photos and then automatically updating the database.
Overall, though, Powell is impressed. "Eventup's site is very easy to navigate, and I really like the user interface," he says. "Its technology also provides a much-needed service that I think has currently been missing from the hospitality market."