B2B event marketers live and breathe the events world. From planning private parties and team away days to meetings and private dinners, every event is different and requires a distinct approach. But one common feature of successful corporate event planning is that in every instant you need to find a venue that fits your brief.
Finding the right spot to host a show-stopping event is key to ensuring your goals and outcomes are met. However, dealing with venues alongside the plethora of other tasks that corporate event management necessitates can be difficult.
Here at HeadBox we find venues for corporate event planners every day, so we like to think we’re somewhat experts when it comes to managing event venues with corporate events in mind. To help you find the perfect venue and ensure you hit the right note, we've gathered our top tips for B2B event marketers when it comes to navigating the process of hiring a venue.
Follow these tips for successful event management and you’ll be your venue partner’s new best friend.
1) Provide a Detailed Brief
First on the list is simple. Before starting your venue search, write a clear brief that both you and your stakeholders (if applicable) agree on. Getting a clear brief defined before you begin your search and involve external parties is crucial to making the process clear and effective for all involved.
When constructing your brief, be thorough. This will help you narrow down your initial list of venues to those who will best match your needs. You can then send an RFP (request for proposal) which the venue can respond to. Responding to an RFP can be a time consuming process, so in order to maintain a positive relationship with venue partners you want to be clear on what you’re looking for so as to not waste their time.
Remember: It is crucial for B2B event marketers like yourself to nurture relationships with venues. Even if a space isn’t the right fit for your present event, it might be in the future. So you don’t want to irritate a venue host by getting them to service a vague brief that they are not suitable for.
When writing your brief it is crucial to consider the goals and requirements of your event, the budget, capacity and features such as accessibility as well as any additional services you require. Clarify features you are willing to compromise on and those that are uncompromising. The more detail you provide, the better equipped each venue will be to service your brief.
Trust us, this simple step can help you foster a positive and mutually beneficial relationship with your partner venue from the start of the corporate event planning process.
2) Think Outside the Box with Reason
When it comes to reviewing corporate event venue options, think outside the box. What has worked previously for other events isn’t necessarily the only option
Reference creative corporate event ideas and look into unusual venues to see how you might be able to utilise different applications of the same space. Venue hosts, just like corporate event planners are #EventProfs too, and us #EventProfs do love a challenge!
If you’re planning something a little more unusual, make sure your plans are attainable. Be clear with the venue that you’re looking for something a little more unique and ensure that they are capable of meeting your requirements.
3) Have One Point of Contact
When approaching venues, request one point of contact. There is nothing more time consuming than having to riffle through email threads from multiple venue managers from the same space to find the answer you’re looking for. Having one point of contact will save you time and mean that you can get the answers you need as efficiently as possible.
One added benefit of having one point of contact is the opportunity to develop a rapport with that individual—not to mention, less confusion. Nurturing the important relationship between you, your company and the venue partner will result in a more constructive collaboration that will benefit all parties.
4) Treat the Venue Like a Partner, Not a Supplier
With all the demands that come with being a corporate event planner, it can be easy to get caught up in checking off your to-do to the neglect of the venue-event planner relationship. Treat your venue like a partner, not a supplier.
The in-house venue staff have a wealth of knowledge you can draw upon and letting them know that they are valued and appreciated can go a long way. Your attitude, tone of voice and outlook can signal to a venue whether you value them as a partner or view them simply as a transactional link.
A key way to cultivating this relationship is to set yourself the same expectations for standards of behaviour that you set the venue. If they have laboured late into the night to send you a proposal, read it thoroughly, respond to confirm that you’ve received it and ensure you check that your questions haven’t already been answered within the document before sending them over. If you’re constantly asking questions that the venue has already worked hard to predict and answer, you are making it clear that you haven’t read or valued their hard work.
Fostering this collaborative relationship will mean the staff are more eager to please and will go the extra mile to create an awesome event.
5) Create a Checklist for Your Site Visit
Once you’ve narrowed down your initial search to a preliminary shortlist of venues that are suitable, it’s time for a site visit. Be sure to come prepared with a checklist of the information you require from the venue. Don’t be afraid to continually ask questions to generate a full picture of what can be provided on the day of your event. Pushing for transparency from the venue will save any unnecessary an unexpected costs further down the line.
6) Create a Sense of Urgency
Creating a sense of urgency can be a fantastic way to encourage venues to go the extra mile in servicing your brief. Let them know your time constraints and any other event venues you may have on hold. The extra edge of competition that this will create will give the venue an opportunity to come up with an impressive proposal and earn your business.
What’s more, the venue will appreciate your transparency about where else you’re looking at and will likely offer you more competitive rates. This is a fine line to walk however, and you should be careful to balance your urgency with a realistic time frame. Demanding a proposal within 6 hours is probably not the best way to kickstart your pending partnership.
7) Establish the Services on Offer
Establishing what can be done in-house is an important step when choosing an event venue. Not only can in-house suppliers save on your spend, but different venues have different policies regarding external suppliers.
If a venue doesn’t have in-house service, they may have a strict preferred supplier list. If you’re looking to bring in your own suppliers, it’s crucial that you iron out the details before agreeing to the corporate venue hire. If that is the case, try to work with suppliers that you have an existing relationship with and who you know will go the extra mile to deliver an exceptional event.
8) Get Everything in Writing
It can be easy to get excited on a site visit and make an agreement on the spot. That’s all well and good, but it’s important that you don’t rely on ‘handshake agreements’. If you’re requesting alternative inclusions, be sure to get them in writing to avoid any miscommunication or confusion further down the line.
Make sure you follow up any calls with an email to reiterate and clarify any points discussed. That way, should a problem arise, you’ll be able to refer to your earlier correspondence to resolve any issues.
Managing Your Corporate Event Venue
So there you have it! Our top tips for managing event venues for corporate event planners. Keep the above points in mind when you’re on the hunt for a corporate event venue and we’re certain you’ll find the perfect spot and develop constructive and positive relationships with each venue’s hosts.
You now know how to manage your venue. Now it’s time to manage your data. Click the button below to access our event data resources.
Ella is a Digital Content Executive at HeadBox, the UK’s first online marketplace for creative offsite, meeting and event spaces where you can search, book and pay for venues online. Their offering, HeadBox Business, allows corporate event managers to have complete oversight of company-wide venue bookings across teams and territories through with an easy-to-use and intuitive dashboard.