Venuexplorer Singapore is a Singapore based venue search and booking agency which offers an incredibly user-friendly and fast interface to help users search for and identify the right venue for their needs with their desired specifications. We recently Interviewed Christopher Lee, founder of Venuexplorer Singapore to know more about his platform.
Christopher, you have been an entrepreneur for quite some time. Tell us more about your previous works. Also, what led you to go ahead with the idea of Venuexplorer Singapore?
I have been in the events & entertainment business industry since 2005 and have serviced more than 500 corporate companies. We started off clinching dinner & dance project at first and slowly moved into other segments such as meeting conferences, exhibitions, road shows and weddings. From there, we gained a pool of regular clients whereby they started putting their trust in us and requested us to manage their yearly calendar project from sourcing venues to catering services, entertainment etc.
At that time, I felt that we should launch a website and gather all the Singapore venues under one roof for those who are searching for venues and make their life easier rather than them calling several venue owners individually and asking for quotations or scrambling into the internet looking for suitable venues.
What were the initial challenges that you faced in launching an online marketplace for venues?
I must say that funding was the biggest challenge as I had used up my own savings to start off this project with no guarantee of success. Moreover, there are already a few successful online marketplaces with a strong backing of either funding and/or technology experts. My initial challenge was to differentiate ourselves from the existing players. But with my previous experience in the events and catering sector, my biggest advantage was that I had a better knowledge and understanding of customer requirements and marketing challenges. Especially, when it comes to searching and comparing venues. My experience can do away with the ordeal that Clients have to go through while enquiring about venues and conducting site inspection before they confirm anything.
How are Venue owners in Singapore reacting to your Startup’s concept?
Definitely, nothing goes as you plan and there were a lot of rejections initially. However, we took it positively and learned from our experiences. Moreover, there are several sites that have been operating in this segment, so reaching out to venue owners was not an easy task as many owners expect us to list them for free which can cut the necessary cash flow necessary for operations.
Also, few venue owners were skeptical about our website’s capability. However, with time, the venue owners are getting more and more open to the idea of collaborating with us and considering us as an alternative sales arm for them and in some cases as their sole agent for their venue. Even Venue owners realize that it will reduce their expenditure as we will help them to save their manpower costs.
Tell us more about how one can avail your services along with the key features of your platform.
By using our platform, users will no longer require to call several venue spaces and wait for their quotations. They can simply search, compare and do instant booking(only for Certain venues) on our platform for their next event and if they decide to change venue, we allow 24 hours cancellation with full refund with no questions asked.
If they are too busy to even search online, they can just call our venue experts and our venue experts will give them a list of suitable venues that match their requirement and budget. Other than venues, we have also partnered with Kitchen Language Catering and EliteBar solutions to provide additional support for those venues that do not own a Kitchen or a Bar.
We also provide teambuilding activities like anger management activities, personalised chef’s tables, throwing axe, Bungee jumping, bike riding etc.
What are your expansion plans in the upcoming year?
We will still be focusing on the Singapore market until we meet our current goal which is listing 80% of venues in Singapore with us. After that, we will then start planning to focus on gaining market share of Thailand and Vietnam. We have plans to create a mobile chatbot as an easy enquiry system for booking whereby users can use their mobile to communicate and we will recommend venues based on their requirement.