• Melissa

3 Tips to Opening A Venue

Although COVID is in full swing and some businesses have had to sadly shut down, some businesses are actually being created during the pandemic, including event venues! Being a serial entrepreneur myself, I couldn't be more excited and proud of these people making something out of a terrible situation into something awesome! I applaud all the people in the events industry for believing in yourself when our field is probably taking one of the biggest hits. Keep it goin', you rock!

Now going into the topic of this post, a lot of people are wanting to open event spaces. A lot of those people sometimes don't have a lot of experience in events, they just like the industry in general. As the first Venue Consultant here in the upper Midwest, I'm here to steer you into the right direction by providing 3 Tips to Opening a Venue:

1 - Scope out your competition

When I say competition, I'm referring to the venues that would be in the same region, and to be quite frank, statewide. You should think about the following things: Where are they located? What is their aesthetic? What is their niche? Why are clients booking them and what is their booking rate in general? How is their branding, including their website and social media presence? How can you make YOUR venue stand out from theirs?

I'll fill you in on 2 things that I always bring up to my venue clients (2 out of 1,000 tips really; I could honestly write a whole list that could take you hours to read): It's about the amenities and the aesthetic. What are some things that clients expect and what are 2-3 things that would be an extra "fluffer" that most venues don't provide?

When it comes to the decor, 1) You want it to be "Instagrammable". It's free advertising if a guest posts on their social media so although social media can be annoying, realistically, all of us business owners need to embrace it. Did I mention that it's FREE ADVERTISING?! 2) Keep up with the trends, but also set yourself apart by thinking outside the box. Interior design, specifically for homes, really sets the tone for all trends - event venue interiors (and fashion, actually). From the textures, to patterns, to the colors. Think about it - When Chip and Joanna Gaines started Fixer Upper, everyone was super into white and grey interiors (and still are, to be honest). Most of the venues that are currently popping up are white and airy. Recently, you're starting to see dark interiors, like black accent walls and even black exteriors. So although you want to stick with these trends because that's what people are looking for, also think about how you can utilize that same trend but in a different way.

2 - Location, location, location

Are there nearby hotels for guests to stay at? Is there nearby late night entertainment where guests can go for an after party? Is it easy access for guests to travel to if they're not originally from there? And while I'm at it, I'm going to throw this in there - Is there enough parking? Clients are very money conscious (even before COVID) so if they fall in love with your space, but after they do their research and find out there are more costs involved, that is a huge dock against you. For example: If the travel time for the guests from the hotel to the venue is too long, they are going to have to look into reserving multiple shuttles. That means more $$$. If they don't go that route, that means that guests are arriving to the space SUPER early. That is just one of many situations to think of when it comes to location. Let's not forget traffic, too!

If your space is centrally located where there is traffic during weekday mornings and evening hours, or if a lot of events are held during the weekend, you're going to want to take this into account when clients are planning their production schedule. It's the little suggestions and reminders that your clients will appreciate BECAUSE if they have a great event, they're going to refer YOUR VENUE to other people. Even if the guest can easily get there, they'll think of your space when they, or someone they know, needs one.

PS - Don't forget to know what's happening around you every month by looking at local event calendars. This will help determine in knowing when there will be high traffic - just a little extra tip for you 😉

3 - Build, and brand, it correctly from the beginning

I already talked about the interior design of it all along with knowing your competition, but now you have to think about the all the event types you want to work with. In addition to, you need to know what kind of content (alongside visuals) you need to provide to prospects so they can see their event being held there from the very beginning. For example: If you want to host corporate events, do you have all the AV equipment in-house such as mics, projectors and projector screens? If you want to do fashion shows, do you have a green room along with good lighting? How about art shows or photo shoots? Lighting is SUPER crucial when it comes to creative events. Quite frankly, if someone has to bring all the lighting in, it will actually eat up space from the guest count if you don't even have rafters to hang the lighting from. With that, it will be super spendy for the client and they'll probably just dodge from booking with you. Going back to knowing your competition, this could be one thing that sets you apart; being able to host other types of events besides just weddings.

The next step is to provide the visuals and the content so, like I mentioned, potential clients can actually see their event being held there. Most venues only have wedding photos on their site so someone that is looking for a space for their fashion show probably won't even look at your venue. People want the picture painted for them, so do it! And just remember, don't limit yourself.

Once again, I hope this helps! I wrote another post related to venues specifically when the client is wanting to host a fashion show. That blog post might help as well and may get your wheels turning - You can read it here. There is also another blog post I wrote specifically for venues; similar info, but a little different type of tip - That blog post can be found here. Lastly, if you would like to learn more about my Venue Consulting services, please visit my homepage.

Until next time,