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HOW TO: Source, book & negotiate a venue

The dos, don’ts and maybes of finding the perfect venue for your upcoming event, according to Jo Austin, Sales Director at Lime Venue Portfolio – which has 30 years of experience in providing the perfect places…

Let’s start with the basics: the first thing that will likely jump to mind, is setting the date and booking a venue. This is important but, despite the nature of our business, we’d advise on considering the objectives and content of your event first. It sounds strange, but every event has content, theme and message. This theme should dictate everything, including the date and the venue. 

If you’re organising a company conference that needs to be motivational, create energy and enthusiasm, your venue should reflect this. You could choose a football stadium like Bramall Lane, home of the newly promoted Sheffield United FC. If it’s a dinner for global heads, you could choose somewhere like the Churchill War Rooms.

So, you’ve got your content, you’ve got an idea of venue but what about the date? We all know trying to co-ordinate multiple diaries can be a nightmare but try and avoid the clichés – ‘only do a Tuesday or Thursday’, ‘never in August’ – if the content is good, and the venue is enticing, you may get a better deal on the venue by being flexible. 

In terms of venue selection, the biggest tip is to give your venue finder everything; what sort of a business, the people involved, how you work, what the culture is like.

Around now, you’ll be refining your costs. Depending on the event, one of the larger budget lines will be food. This is right, and very important. Like a venue, food can underline messages, add excitement and drama to an occasion, and be a really fun and interactive part of the event.

After that it’s about finding the right package for your price point, making sure you get the right value, the right support, and the right counsel. It’s not always about asking for a discount but asking what else this venue can give as added value? Finally, spend time going over the contract, cancellation periods, etc. Read carefully, take your time and don’t be afraid to question the venue about specifics. 

Then you can look forward to a collaborative partnership with your venue. The reality is they want to create an amazing event for you, as they want you to come back. Good venues will work with you as an extension of your team to support your vision. 

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay