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Driving data

Driving data

Luis De Souza, CEO of NFS Technology, reveals how to harness data and technology in order to better understand customers and businesses.

An emerging trend at International Confex 2022 was data, specifically how it can showcase the power and reach of events.

Venues competing in today’s fast recovering marketplace now have access to better data tools than ever before. But the question is, how many have the courage and culture to make the most of what they discover?

Conference News spoke to Luis De Souza, CEO of NFS Technology, to find out how to capture good data and how to leverage insights to continuously improve.

“The industry has traditionally lagged behind other sectors, such as hotels and hospitality, when it comes to the capture and analysis of data – but that’s now changed radically,” according to De Souza.

“It’s now become possible for the first time to compare your venue’s actual performance not only against current competitors, but also against those who you would like to compete with and entire market trends,” he adds.

Consider this

When looking at data, Souza says you shouldn’t be afraid of what you might find. “If you only rely on what you know, you can never evolve,” he says. Instead, you should use the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the venue’s strengths and consider areas to develop. “This will open up a whole world of possibilities,” De Souza adds.

“It’s also crucial that a venue has the culture in place to take that data, analyse it and draw actionable conclusions about the direction of the business,” he stresses. This not only helps to strengthen the offering and open up new revenue streams, but the culture also helps make “solid decisions based on more than gut instinct and guesswork”, De Souza says.

According to De Souza, this level of data comparison has never previously been available to venues. “For example, users of Rendezvous, venue management technology by NFS, are now able to subscribe to a national survey that constantly measures the progress of the industry and provides unprecedented insight on a weekly basis,” he says.

To gain good data, De Souza says systems must deliver the ‘Five Vs of Big Data’. “First up is volume, the data must be able to capture large amounts of insights. Next, is veracity, the data has to be both accurate and of a high quality.

“Then we have variety and velocity, the data must be collected from a range of sources and ideally collected in ‘real-time’,” he says.

Finally, arguably the most important aspect, your data must have value. “The system must enable actionable analysis,” De Souza adds.

So, now you have the knowledge to capture good data, it’s time to put it to the test. By using data to
better businesses, it in turn will only better our industry. 

How data boosts a venue business

How can good data boost a venue’s day-to-day business?

According to De Souza, you need to consider the following:

Sales and marketing

It’s easier to be effective with access to competitor and market insight, together with a venue management system that integrates with a customer relationship management (CRM) system for greater understanding of clients.

A fully integrated venue system improves efficiency, automatically updating events data instead of relying on manual spreadsheets.

Customer service

Access to customer data via a CRM ensures clients’ preferences and requirements are met, and highlights opportunities for new business. For example, if customers enquire about space for an AGM, the sales team can approach them at the right time for the following year.

The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) generates important events revenue across its multiple campus buildings and is using data to future-proof its business.

Jackie Cunningham, assistant catering manager, says UCLan now has better data analysis with the help of Rendezvous and, during recent uncertain times, has been able to maintain outstanding event services while streamlining operational processes and achieving pinpoint control of its resources.


In-depth data analysis and benchmarking against competitors helps identify growing trends, such as the current strong market for small meetings, and ensure the space configuration evolves to suit.


Data can drive efficiencies in areas such as in labour control, making it easier to match demand to supply at the busiest times for businesses.

“Operating a venue in 2022 without making the most of data is like driving a car while wearing a blindfold – possible, but not likely to succeed,” says De Souza.

“Venues who will succeed will be those who display the courage to interrogate their own performance against others’, and who have the go-ahead culture to learn from and act upon the results,” De Souza concluded.