Photo from ALLURE Best of Beauty; photo credit: concierge.com
When publishing giant Conde Nast gets involved, you know something’s big. So what’s currently on the horizon? Event software. This week, 23 Stories, the brand’s event agency, launched their guest management platform, Concierge.com.
The product is already seeing a solid client base. Brands such as iHeartMedia, Capital One, Vogue and AMC are on the list. Not to mention, Concierge.com has a partnership with Nomadic Entertainment Group for this year’s Super Bowl. For two nights leading up to and one night following the Super Bowl LII, the platform is responsible for overseeing invites, managing registration and on-site check-in for 15,000 guests during V.I.P. events.
Concierge.com is already raising eyebrows, despite a sea of competition. So what makes it so special? And what strategies can event planners adopt? Here are pearls of wisdom to extract from this success story.
1. Go Full-Service
The new software is an expansion of concierge platform Ribyt, which was bought by Conde Nast in March 2017.
“Ribyt started as a home-grown software for managing guests attending our more complex events—events with multiple levels of invitee and variable itineraries,” Eric Murphy, senior vice president of experiences for Conde Nast, told BizBash. “While we had begun to offer Ribyt in market as a standalone SAS product, it became clear that our full-service offering was actually more popular with our clients.”
The platform is a mix of both services and features. For instance, it can design and implement management duties such as special travel accommodations, invitations, personalized itineraries and task delegation. These software services are crucial. But so is the other side of the program, which involves a team of professionals who can handle event-day staffing, branding, website design and more.
The timing has to be right, but transitioning into a full-service brand is a terrific way to grow your company. Upsizing can come in the form of adding members to your team or partnering with another service.
2. Get the Hospitality Pros Involved
Self-labeled “software with a service”, Concierge.com supplies access to a team of event AND hospitality experts. By incorporating a hospitality perspective, Concierge.com provides a line of communication to relevant hotels throughout the planning process. The necessary expertise needed to hold a big event, on both the event and hospitality levels, is seamlessly provided. This saves a lot of time, perhaps the most valuable thing to a planner.
How can this be applied to your operations? Designating a reliable hospitality contact is a good place to start. Develop relationships with the staff at specific hotels during each event. If possible, connect your client directly with this contact. It will put them at ease and make them more comfortable reaching out.
3. Branding Really is Built on Experiences
Conde Nast has dipped into the meeting and events world in the past. Last year the brand showed its flair for event planning with the Teen Vogue Summit. They have only doubled-down on offerings since then.
“Consumers, and as a consequence marketers, are valuing in-person experiences more and more,” Murphy explained to BizBash. “As such, Conde Nast is leveraging its strong heritage in creating unforgettable moments—like the Vanity Fair Oscar Party and Glamour’s Women of the Year—to create a full-service offering for clients looking to connect with consumers in powerful ways.”
With buzz about “experiential marketing” at an all-time high, getting customers involved physically is now the baseline for engagement. The good news—it’s a fantastic time to be in the events industry. The more challenging news is that finding innovative ways to make events memorable is becoming more competitive than ever. Time to turn up the creativity and embrace new tactics!