If your business is like most, a significant amount of time and money has been poured into making your office appealing to employees, customers, and visitors.
Maybe you’ve hired an interior designer, invested in new lighting or furniture, or added cool features like an office coffee bar or even an amazing water feature in the lobby.
Why not leverage that energy and investment to attract even more leads and positive attention for your company? Open up your facility or office to the public and show off your hard work in an open house.
Open houses give potential clients, partners, and even prospective hires an opportunity to learn more about your business in a fun and relaxed setting.
With the right planning and tools, open houses can be a great marketing strategy for a wide variety of organizations.
Types of businesses that benefit from an open house
Most of us have been to a real estate open house, where the goal is to view a space at your own pace and on your own timing.
But many other professionals and industries can benefit from them too, including the following:
Schools and educational facilities – Schools for any age group tend to require a big commitment of time, energy and sometimes money. Hence, the selection process can go slowly. People like to do plenty of research before they decide. Open houses allow people to see the best of your education facilities informally before they proceed with the rest of their enrollment process. Related post: 5 Online Tools to Improve Office Administration at Your School
Professional offices or firms – Instead of a traditional open house, professional firms can consider hosting open-house-style events such as community discussions over coffee in the morning, or a networking happy hour after office hours end. This kind of event can work especially well if you’ve invested in designing common areas that were built with the intention of encouraging groups to socialize. Related post: For a Fun, Playful Office, Add These Elements
Retirement communities or rehab centers – The people who are considering a retirement home or nursing facility for a family member also have a relatively long decision-making process ahead of them, and they may visit several times before they feel comfortable making a commitment. An open house is a great way to ease them in and make them feel welcome. Related post: The Best Visitor Management Practices for Retirement Homes
Manufacturing or research facilities – These types of facilities tend to have higher security needs that make it more complicated to provide open access for the general public. However, if an open house is well-orchestrated and planned well in advance, it can be a good way to show your community a little more about what you do. Spreading awareness about what your facility does can be good for public relations. You could also host open-house-style industry-specific events to help fill your hiring pipeline. Related post: 4 Strategies for Recruiting Top Tech Talent
The benefits of hosting a business open house
When it comes to impressing visitors, open houses have a few big advantages over more formal office visits or unannounced drop-ins.
- Creating a Positive Impression: An open house allows you to showcase your business in a welcoming and engaging way. It provides an opportunity for potential customers, clients, partners, and community members to visit your premises and get a firsthand experience of your brand, products, or services. This can leave a lasting positive impression and help build trust and credibility.
- Networking and Relationship Building: Open houses attract a diverse range of attendees, including industry professionals, local business owners, community leaders, and potential customers. It offers an excellent platform for networking and building valuable relationships. Engaging with attendees on a personal level can lead to collaboration opportunities, partnerships, and increased word-of-mouth referrals.
- Increasing Brand Awareness: Hosting an open house enables you to generate buzz and raise awareness about your business. Through effective marketing and promotion, you can attract a broader audience and introduce your brand to new potential customers. By showcasing your products or services and highlighting what makes your business unique, you can leave a lasting impression and increase brand recognition.
- Showcasing Products or Services: An open house allows you to provide hands-on demonstrations of your products or services. This interactive approach enables attendees to experience the quality, functionality, and benefits of what you offer. It helps build trust and confidence in your offerings, leading to potential sales and customer loyalty.
- Gathering Feedback and Insights: Open houses provide an excellent opportunity to receive valuable feedback from attendees. Engage with them, ask for their opinions, and encourage them to share their thoughts and suggestions. This feedback can be instrumental in identifying areas for improvement, refining your offerings, and enhancing the overall customer experience.
- Strengthening Community Connections: Hosting an open house demonstrates your commitment to the local community. It allows you to engage with community members, establish a positive reputation, and contribute to the local economy. This can lead to increased support, goodwill, and positive word-of-mouth recommendations from community stakeholders.
- Generating Sales and Leads: Open houses provide a platform to showcase new products, promotions, or special offers. By creating a sense of exclusivity or providing incentives for attendees, you can generate immediate sales or gather leads for future follow-up. The face-to-face interaction allows you to build rapport and establish personal connections, which can significantly impact the likelihood of conversion.
- Employee Engagement and Pride: An open house can boost employee morale and engagement. It gives your team members an opportunity to showcase their work, interact with visitors, and take pride in the organization they represent. This can foster a positive work environment and contribute to a strong company culture.
How to plan for and get the most out of a business open house
Of course, if you do decide to host an open house, your staff will have to put the necessary time and energy into planning it properly.
Failing to have the right tools and features in place on the day of the event could lead to the entire effort being a waste of time — or, even worse, it could do serious damage to your brand.
Choose someone you trust, and preferably someone with other event planning experience, to take the lead on the project. Their efforts should include the following.
A Promotional Plan
Most people need to be reminded of an event several times before they take action, and they appreciate knowing about events well in advance so they can plan properly.
Start announcing your open house at least a month ahead of time, and make a schedule for how you’ll promote the event (i.e. make plans for when and how you will share posts on social media, send emails to your list of subscribers, put up signs in your office, or even post local ads).
A Plan for Events and Activities
Of course, hosting an open house entails more than simply opening your doors. You’ll want to provide drinks and refreshments, and perhaps set up special signage or decorations. You may need to schedule staffers or volunteers to give tours or presentations. And depending on your organization, you may also consider promoting other perks, such as a giveaway or special activity. (Make sure to mention these in your promotional messages.)
A Plan to Follow Up With Visitors
To get the maximum benefit from your open house, you need to have a solid plan in place for keeping track of who attends so you can follow up with them later. (Keeping track of who is on site at any given time is also a good idea for security and safety reasons.)
This task gets a lot easier when you use visitor management software like The Receptionist. With The Receptionist, your staff can design custom check-in flows for any visit type — including a special event like an open house. Your guests sign in via touch screen on a tablet, and all of their data is automatically timestamped and will be easily accessible when you need it later. It can also print visitor badges seamlessly as part of the check-in process.
A Plan to Track Success
Open houses may not typically require as much cash as other marketing options, but the time and energy they require can add up, especially if you hire professionals or host large numbers of guests.
You should have a plan that ensures you get a good return on your investment, just as you should for any marketing expense.
It helps to clarify what you want to get out of the open house, whether it’s more leads that could eventually develop into customers, more potential hires or job applications, or just more awareness of your work in the community.
But regardless of whether visitors are coming to your facility for an open house, a routine visit, or some other reason, it’s worth paying attention to the impression you’re making.
For more on best practices for visitor management, check out this daily comprehensive visitor management checklist. And if you want to learn more about The Receptionist, check out our full features list or request a personalized demo.
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