Finding the perfect event venue should be an enjoyable task. In reality, it is a constant challenge. The market is always packed with options, which brings a positive and a negative. While it’s good to be given a few different choices, it’s hard to select the right location for your specific type of event. Size, design and accessibility all enter the decision-making process. Even when you’re sure you’ve found the right one, it has to align with your budget.
To aid your event venue finding mission, EventsCase has compiled a few tips to help you along the way. Here’s a three-step guide to get you started.
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Step one: finalise the important details
There’s nothing wrong with scouting for venues before you’ve sold your first ticket. However, when it comes to meeting and negotiating with venues, you need to be clear on your topline information.
Work with your team to establish the following:
- Your budget.
- Your attendance.
- The type of event you’re staging.
- Requirements for attendees (catering, hotel rooms, wi-fi).
- Requirements for logistics (times and access for loading in).
- Requirements for staging (available AV and equipment).
The top two points should be fairly easy to gauge. It might be hard to pinpoint what you need in the way of AV equipment and access to the venue, but our advice is to get everything outlined as soon as you can.
We’ve seen organisers make the terrible mistake of assuming they have 24 hours to get everything built and set up. When they realise the venue is hosting another event the day before, their plan starts to unravel.
By asking the obvious questions at the beginning, you’re also more likely to come up with a solution if a problem does occur.
Step two: How to find a venue
Much like searching for a piece of clothing, a car, or even a house, when it comes to event venue finding, your best bet is to head for the web.
Online directories like Hirespace make it easy for you to sift through hundreds of options to find the right location. Best of all, as they work on the basis of commission, you don’t even have to pay for the privilege.
Aside from online platforms, we’d advise asking your connections (e.g. past attendees, sponsors) if they can recommend any places to consider. New venues are built every week, and not all can be found through directories. Some actually depend solely on word of mouth to get business. In which case, it’s as much about who you know as what you know.
Smaller events might even be able to get away with creative and inexpensive solutions. For instance, if you’re holding a networking event with 30-40 attendees, does it really make sense to book an external location? Hosting an event at your offices might give you an extra branding boost. Alternatively, you could attract a sponsor and use part of their location.
Step three: How to negotiate
So, you’re near the end of your event venue finding mission. You’ve identified the perfect spot and everything is falling into place. Now it’s time to seal the deal.
Everyone has their own formula for negotiating with venues and suppliers. Some like to keep their budget secret to avoid overpaying. Others favour a more transparent approach, where all the cards are on the table.
We’d advise you to consider four things before entering into talks with a venue. They are:
- Provided they’re not already set in stone, try to be flexible with your dates. You could save a small fortune by booking on a Wednesday morning rather than a Friday afternoon.
- Be prepared to share your budget if the initial price is too high. Once you know their highest figure, you can see whether it’s possible to come to an agreement.
- Sell yourself to the venue. If you have hundreds or thousands of attendees, all of whom could organise their own events in the future, you should explain the positive implications of your business. Your name could eventually become the biggest on their portfolio.
- Even if there is only one option you really want, remember to gather quotes from other venues. This can help you bargain with someone that is charging above their competitors.
The event venue finding process doesn’t have to be as complicated as it sounds. Provided you go into every step with a plan in mind, you too can find the perfect home for your gathering.