One of the largest hassle an event planner runs into, is finding and securing a location fit for the event and it’s attendee’s.
It is very important to understand that your choice of venue will play a major part in how your event goes. It’s not guaranteed to be a horrible event if the venue isn’t perfect, but you just need to be aware of the areas you need to compensate on.
Finding the right venue usually isn’t the most challenging part however, it’s gaining the trust of the venue owner and negotiating a fair price for the use of their venue, location and services. Keep in mind that any time you work with a new venue, you are less likely to get the “fair” end of the deal until you have proven yourself a few times. If you can add enough value to your event to drive down the price a bit, then you can at least do it a few times to prove that you aren’t just going to waste the venues time, and then you will find the procurement of their venue fast and easy for all of your future event needs.
If you find that you are having a hard time getting more win/win situations then win/lose situations, then I have some tips here for you.
1. Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things
When it comes to working with new venues, and on occasion, keeping up with the changes in venues that you currently work with, it can often be confusing or difficult to cultivate a win/win situation.
I find that some venues would like their rental fee upfront, while others want a percentage of the events earnings, while even yet and still other venues won’t ask anything from you except the business of your attendee’s. It varies depending on the venue you choose, and the type of people that will be attending the event.
The idea with this tip, is to go with the flow. Even if it is not your preferred method of arrangements with a venue, it is best to do it their way, until you have established a presence for yourself in their venues. Once you have a reliable and honest presence their, you are going to have an easier time getting the deal that benefits both you and the venue.
If they want pay upfront, and you have to use their venue, the get the funds. This would mean that you would need to assure enough guests to re-coop what you spent on overhead, but at least you can be assured the venue doesn’t lose either way, creating a strong image of you to them.
If the venue would like a percentage of your profits and nothing else, then give it to them. Go through your budget, and figure out what you have to make to at least break even, and then play ball with the left over percentage. Once you have done this a few times and proved your worth, you won’t need to worry about getting the raw end of the deal.
If the venue is pretty self sustainable when you bring them customers, such as restaurants or bars, you won’t have to worry so much about overhead. Your main goal with these venues is to create attention and bring in new faces and wallets.
Work with what the venue wants at first, to build value and to show that you are willing to earn your keep.
2. Build Your Value
Aside from building a strong reputation, you also have to build the value that you can offer to the venue specifically. Make sure to keep in mind that you are focusing on what is in it for them, not what you can do for them.
I.E. *The attendees live in the local area, so they are potential new regular customers.
*There will be lots of attendee’s to use the food or beverage services available through the venue and boost sales.
*The attendee’s are also thinking about hosting their own event, and will spread good word of mouth
*Your promotion will gain lots of positive attention for the venue.
There are plenty of ways to add value for the venue. The best way to decide, is to try and talk to the booker or venue owner and ask. What is important to them? Most venues are surprised by this question, but they feel you aren’t going to try and put one over on them if you ask them precisely what it is they need from you.
It might be new customers, it might be that they need customers to stay longer, or that they have great foot traffic and just need to attract outsiders to come in. Go ahead and ask them, and if you don’t have a direct chance to ask them, then visit the venue on a Friday or Saturday night as a customer and observe the situation. Is it empty? Are they rental only? Are they regularly open on the weekend for customers? Do they have any promotions going to get in more people? Do people come in and then leave quickly? Or do just a few people come in and stay a while?
Just go and observe. See what you feel is missing from the customers stand point, and you will see where the venue needs the most help. Then you can offer that help to them, as if you just magically knew what they needed and were sent by some higher power.
Once you add enough value to your event for the venue, you will have a much easier time getting them to work with in your budget. If you play your cards right, you might just have them doing everything to help you succeed, since they will believe it will lead them to their success.
There are plenty of times in a persons life, when we have to compromise. Not to lose something, but to gain something. Compromising is about giving a little more of yourself, in order to get a little more of the venue.
Whether it’s the venue fee’s that you need to break down and examine, or just the available services there. It could even be that it is time for you to seek higher ground, but that you like working with your current venues, and just need to sweeten your end of the deal to make it a true win/win situation.
If that means that you need to give up a percentage of what you make, in order to not have to pay up front, take it! You can always renegotiate later on.
4. Ole Faithful
There are some tried and true methods that have worked time and again for event planners in just about any genre of event. If the venue you are working with doesn’t know what they want for compensation, or they are not opening up to tell you, here is a traditional method of procuring a decent venue for your event.
Take the door.
It’s a simple idea. Just offer to not charge the venue anything, and in turn to bring lots of customers to their venue, as long as you can charge a door fee for attendee’s.
Either the venue will see the value in your services which would be free to them, of bringing in the important customers and connections, or they won’t. If they don’t see it, they are at least likely to open up and tell you what they would prefer to do, giving you a little more information to work with.
5. Remember Your Numbers
When you find that you need new venues, or the venues you are trying to get into aren’t responding very well, it is important to remember that finding the right venues is a numbers game.
Keep a constant search for new venues going. Ask your friends, send out emails, respond to ads and do google searches for venues in your area. Look for new venues in different cities, preferably where your guests are most closely located.
I find that when a venue you are currently working with no longer suits your needs, another one comes into play. As long as you keep constant vigilance for new venues.
You never know which door down the street will hold the event location that you truly need. There are lots of options for negotiation of business, and plenty of room for trying new things all over. If one thing doesn’t work for you, try something else out.