Updated: Aug 17
Welcome to our Dubsado User Series, where we highlight how amazing Dubsado users of all backgrounds, industries, and professions are loving Dubsado! From photographers to lawyers, calligraphers to doulas, the Dubsado family is a rich collection of skills, talents, and expertise.
This week, we're hearing from our amazing Venue Owners and Managers!
We asked them a little about themselves, their businesses and why Dubsado is revolutionizing their business process!
Keara: Hey! I'm Keara and I am the Director of Events and Sales for Historic London Town and Gardens here in Edgewater, Maryland. I was born and raised in Maryland, not too far from here actually and found myself drawn back here after graduating from JMU in 2013.
There's something really special about this area and I get to share that with each and every one of my couples and clients that walk through our doors. That's why I love my job so much! I get to meet and work with such sweet people and each one is different.
On the rare occasion, I'm not at London Town, you can find me hanging with my rescue dogs (I'm dog obsessed!), on the water, or volunteering with my church.
Tanisha: Hi there, I am Tanisha, the owner of the Atlanta based Event Planning Company, Soirees by Lee. Let me start by saying I absolutely adore weddings and events! Everything about them makes my heart flutter with excitement.
My journey began in 2010 when a friend of mine asked me to serve as a Hostess for her wedding. She joked that I was the only person she could think of to rally everyone together and help keep the peace at the wedding. From that moment on I knew I'd be a planner. It was so much fun and I felt like part of the family.
I was born in Miami, Florida and have lived in Virginia, Texas, North and South Carolina. Whew, that's a lot, but thankfully I've been blessed to reside in the good 'ole southern state of Georgia with my loving family. My love of weddings is coupled with charity work, scouring thrift stores for treasure, motherhood, and crafting.
1) How did you get into your line of work in the venue industry?
Keara: When I graduated college, I took a job as an event coordinator for a small caterer in Baltimore. I did it all there: from the financials to the staffing, to booking clients, running weddings and events, you name it!
After working at so many venues over the greater Baltimore area, I realized that's what I wanted to do next with my career. I knew that I could bring all of my knowledge from my job AND all of the things that I had seen work at other venues and be able to make another space work well.
We had catered here at London Town and I wanted to get back to the Annapolis area and when the job opened up the rest is history! I actually began here as a sales manager with a Director above me and when she left, I took her spot and combined both positions into one.
Tanisha: I found my way into the Event Venue Industry by pure luck. After working on my wedding business part-time for over 6 years while holding down a not so fun full-time job I was let go. I decided that I wouldn't look for a second job and would try my hand at planning events full-time.
At the time I had only been in Atlanta for less than a year and didn't have many connections. I figured the best way to learn and connect with other vendors was to meet them where they were, at a Venue. I searched for venues close to my home and low and behold there was a venue literally 2 minutes away (seriously, right around the corner!).
I had never seen it before but when something is for you it will come to you at the perfect time. I blindly emailed them my resume and by pure luck, the owner was in town and looking for an Event Manager but hadn't yet put out an ad. Needless to say, I swooped in and soon became the Venue Manager!
2) What is it about your space that takes it from just another useable venue to something that actually adds value to an event?
Keara: I like to say that we have it all here. We are a waterfront property, with over 10 acres of gardens, historic buildings, vast lawns, the list goes on. Our couples and guests are the only events on site, so it almost feels as if they are hosting their wedding in their own backyard. We've seen everything from black tie affairs to crab feasts.
You really have the ability to make it your own. I try and take all the worry out of a couple’s day by providing an inclusive rental (tenting with cement floor, tables, chairs, lighting, bridal suite, restrooms).
Being an outdoor venue, we have some couples that worry about the weather, but luckily we have an indoor glass pavilion which provides the perfect plan B for when Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate. I also strive to make our couples feel like they are more than just another client. This is a big day for everyone and I want them leaving every interaction feeling like a friend.
Tanisha: In a word, flexibility. In Atlanta it is common to see venues that have so many restrictions that each event ends up just like the previous event. Our venue is amazing at offering our clients the flexibility to create whatever their hearts desire.
Every weekend I look forward to seeing what our space will look like. We even customize our packages to fit the varying needs of our amazing clients.
3) How has Dubsado been most impactful to your business?
How hasn't it?
It has streamlined my ENTIRE booking and client relations process. Prior to Dubsado, I had a couple fill out a Word doc, which I would then use to add their information into our contract (also on Word), which I then emailed to the client, they would print, sign, scan, send back, then we'd talk about payments, etc, etc (you get the picture).
Now with Dubsado, it's all in one place! I can track our bookings and financial data, add in forms and additional invoices, you name it. I don't have to remember due dates for payments, or reminding clients about filling out the forms I need. It also keeps ALL of my leads in one place which has been great for tracking who I have and have not followed up with or heard back from.
Not only do I get benefits from it, but so do my clients. They have all of the information in one place and it really makes us look like a professional business.
Oh, how we adore Dubsado.
When I first became apart of the team at our Venue there was NO system in place. I know, can you believe that?! We were still using paper contracts and invoices.
Well, with the owners of the venue being out of state I had to find a way to streamline the way we worked. I literally tested each CRM I could find online and my eyes lit up when I discovered Dubsado. It allowed me to incorporate our processes to create a unique experience for our clients.
4) Do you have any processes in Dubsado you think would be helpful for other venue owners/managers? (This should be more detailed, ideally)
Keara: My workflow is probably the most helpful part of Dubsado for me. Since I'm a one-woman department (as I'm sure a lot of other venue owners/managers are) I have to be 38 places at once.
My workflow is set up to remind clients about payments, check in with them throughout the year (plus) during their planning process, schedule our month out meeting, request reviews, remind me of important dates (like returning security deposits!).
All of those little things that often get lost in the shuffle of managing not only the 100+ leads we get a month but also the 50+ weddings and events we do in a year.
Canned emails are also my lifesaver, especially for responding to leads or scheduling meetings. Having those templates is such a great jumping off point for all of the emails that I send more than once a day. Honestly, I could keep going. There really isn't JUST one part of Dubsado that wouldn't be helpful for a venue owner or manager.
Tanisha: Yes, so many! One, in particular, is the use of Workflows because it saves us so much time. I would encourage other venue owners/managers to list out there process from inquiry to sale. Then use Dubsado to create a Workflow based on that process.
For example, we created a lead capture form that asks the client to choose the event type (Wedding, Party, Meeting. etc.). Once they make a selection, a Workflow is activated and an email is sent with our packages (specific to their event type) and a link to schedule a tour.
If they do not book during the tour, then we have another workflow (use a canned email) set to follow-up with the client. Once they book (use a proposal), a third workflow is activated to onboard the client. This includes things like a link to their portal where they can schedule a tasting, complete a vendor questionnaire, view their contract and more
5) Like entrepreneurship, how do you think the venue industry will evolve?
Keara: I think the nice part of the venue industry is how we don't technically evolve, but our events do. The venue is what the venue is...it's not as if we can tear this down! But with so many business' popping up in the wedding industry, we get to see new vendors and new trends come through all the time.
This is awesome for us because we then have such a comprehensive list of talent to offer to our clients. We also get to show potential clients how the space can be used in so many different ways.
Tanisha: The venue industry is huge in Atlanta. As more entrepreneurs dive into venue ownership I believe the industry as a whole will begin to create unique ways to serve its clients. I see venues diving into other avenues such as offering rental items for events and partnering with other creative vendors to create an all inclusive experience for clients.
No matter what your venue looks like, or what industry you are in, Dubsado is the client management system designed for you. That's why no matter what industry you're in, you'll find friends at Dubsado.
So before another busy event season sneaks up on you, make sure you have the system in place that will help you stay on top of everything, the way YOU want to.
You can start your free, no time limit trial of Dusbado, here.
Learn more about our featured guests at their websites:
Keara Mahan: Historic London Town and Gardens
Tanisha Lee: Soirées by Lee