Meet the founder of VenueScanner
Hi Rebecca, thank you so much for joining me. What do I need to know about VenueScanner?
VenueScanner is a tech-led venue discovery and booking platform. With the largest choice of venues in the UK, we empower event organisers and personal assistants to source the right venue in a timely and affordable manner. Co-founder Benjy Meyer and I formed the company in 2016, and we now have a 12-strong team across the UK and Poland. We are growing fast and it’s incredibly exciting!
Who or what inspired you to get started?
We were inspired to launch VenueScanner after becoming frustrated with how inefficient it was to find and book a venue for our own events– whether it was a team away day, wedding or offsite meeting. Our other motivation for starting VenueScanner was to bring a new lease of life into independent British venues. What venues don’t know is how versatile they really are, and we want to introduce them to a new customer and keep their doors open. We had one goal in mind when we developed the platform – to make venue discovery and booking as simple as Amazon makes shopping, for the host as well as the enquirer.
How do you set yourself apart from other businesses in your industry?
We are an entirely self-service booking platform, removing the middle man and creating open communication between the organiser and the host. One of the major bug-bears for any event organiser is the terribly low venue response rate. We pride ourselves on being a digital disruptor and wanted to combat this issue directly. We have recently built and implemented an Artificial Intelligence powered algorithm that rewards venues that swiftly respond to enquiries, by boosting them to the top of search results and demoting those that are slow. We find this creates a transparent, trustworthy platform.
What’s the single most important decision that you made, that contributed to your business?
The single most importance decision I’ve made is definitely taking the leap and launching VenueScanner. It was pretty terrifying quitting my full-time job, but deep down I knew I could make a difference to an industry that was ripe for disruption. Of course, there have been highs and lows along the way, but taking that initial leap of faith was the right choice in hindsight and I have never looked back!
What would be your number one tip for young entrepreneurs who are ready to launch their own business?
Make sure you take advantage of your network! Asking for advice from a wide variety of people such as colleagues, mentors, friends and family will help you build the skills you need to launch a successful business. Attend events that are relevant to your industry and build a black book of contacts to make sure you have someone you can turn to for advice, and for you to provide advice for others too.
What plans do you have for VenueScanner over the coming 12 months?
We have plans to raise further investment (following a successful first round that saw us surpass our target in 2017). This will allow us to expand our service internationally, initially targeting Europe. We’ve also launched a digital marketing arm of the business – VenueScanner Premium – to help venues market themselves (using our expertise from previous careers) and spread the word to the wider community. We’re incredibly proud to have such a passionate, dedicated team in the UK and Poland, all working together to ensure VenueScanner continues to succeed.
How do you believe the evolution of tech will affect the events industry over the next 10 years?
Technology is permeating nearly all parts of the events industry and it’s an incredibly exciting space to be a part of. Creating a seamless, pleasurable experiences is the number one priority if there is to be a strong relationship between the venue and the organiser. For example, Augmented Reality is letting organisers create a vision of their venue before they have even seen it, to ensure they aren’t wasting time visiting unsuitable venues. Additionally, and I believe this is the most crucial factor, technology will continue to streamline communication between organisers and venues. This could take the form of AI-powered chatbots to allow 24/7 communication, or real-time cloud-based calendars to ensure organisers aren’t misled by out-of-date information. The opportunities are endless when it comes to creating a seamless process for venue booking, and we’re part of it!