If you’ve been in the event planning industry, even if you’re new, you might be thinking about how you can start an event venue. This is one area in the industry that is definitely not going away as people continue to host and plan events and will need spaces to do so.
To start an event venue might seem like a daunting venture, especially when you’re not sure what to do and where to start. That’s why I’m sharing 3 steps to starting an event venue AND I’m interviewing an expert venue owner to share her tips on running a successful event venue.
How to Start an Event Venue in 3 Steps
- Do your research
- Find a location
- Find Clients for your Venue
1. Do your research
Before starting any business, it is important to educate yourself on the challenges and requirements that you’ll need to be successful in that area. This is the same should you decide to start an event venue.
Research the viability of an event venue in your local area. Find out what the requirements are.
Here are some questions to consider:
What are the state or city laws governing venue spaces?
Will you need a liquor license?
Will you be selling food?
Are there any licenses you need as the venue owner?
What are your responsibilities legally if someone if injured at your venue?
These questions will help you to make the best decision and be prepared for the unexpected when you start an event venue.
What will this cost you?
Once you’ve looked at the legal aspect of owning a venue, it’s also important to research the cost. Think about all the costs associated with owning a venue beyond the cost of purchasing or leasing a space.
For example: What will it cost you to heat the space, clean the space and will you need to hire staff to help you maintain the venue?
The best way to evaluate this is to create a budget of what you can afford, so when you go to the next step, finding a location, you will know exactly what you can take on and the properties that are outside of your budget.
Who are your competitors?
Researching a venue is more than just the legal requirements and cost, but you also need to know who your competitors are before you enter the market. This will give you an advantage as to their weaknesses and where you might be able to differentiate your venue space to ensure success.
Think about what services your competitors are offering and how you can provide something slightly different. Maybe they are failing on the client experience front. Make a note of this.
If you created a business plan, this is also a key area to answer in your business plan.
2. Find a Location
The next step in the process of figuring out how to start an event venue is to secure quality space in a good location. This is definitely one of the most important steps in the process. While you can control everything about your space, such as how to design it, the type of events you would like to host or accept, what food to cater (if any) – your physical location is one item that cannot be changed once you make that final decision and sign on the dotted line. So choose carefully.
When sourcing a location think about where you would like to be. Would you like to be in a specific neighborhood in your city for example and why? If you’re looking to have a hip and trendy event space, chances are you might wish to look in the hip and trendy areas.
The second item you should focus on if the type and size of the space. Are you looking for a large banquet hall or a small intimate venue? The B Suite in Georgia is the perfect example of a venue space that is niched in what they offer and caters to only certain events in a small intimate space.
Your location will mean everything and can also affect the type and number of clients that you can work with. If you decide to go with a larger space for example, this will have very different implications for your staffing and cleaning needs versus a smaller event space. Take all these into consideration when you begin looking for an event venue.
3. Find Clients for your Venue
Once you’ve decided on a venue and signed the papers, the fun part begins. Maybe you found a location that needs no changes and you can begin working with clients immediately, or maybe you found a location that needs some redesigning and you will need to focus on revamping the space. Whatever that is for your space, once that’s completed you will now need to focus on finding clients to book you.
If you don’t have any clients or bookings, your venue space is not bringing the venue you will need to keep it sustainable.
Once you start your venue and officially open for business it is marketing time. How do you get those clients to roll in that probably never knew you existed before?
There are three main ways that you can market your venue quickly and easily as a new space on the block:
I usually don’t recommend discounting as a way to bring in clients for service-based businesses, but for venues, this works really well. As a new business use this as an opportunity to bring in those clients.
Offer your clients an opening or business launch promotion. This is a great way to bring an influx of new business, as well as bring awareness about your new venue space. And if you treat them right (you know that amazing client experience), they will keep coming back for more – and bringing their friends with them.
It’s also important to set up your promotions in a way that encourages repeat business. For example, 20% off your first book and 30% off your second, or a two for 1 type promotion. These are great for getting clients to come back
If you’re new to an area as a business owner networking is the key to meeting new clients and other business owners that can help. This is an opportunity to learn more about your potential clients, find other businesses to collaborate with and essentially build your brand awareness.
Look up different networking events in your area for business owners and potential clients. Attend, socialize and see how you can help. Build that know, like and trust factor to get clients to meet you and this will lead to more bookings.
Market, Market, and Market
Starting an event venue is not for everyone, but if you wish for your business to succeed you will need to put in the work. Get your business on social media, pay for local and online advertisements and get your name out there.
You won’t know what works until you try it, so start now.
Conclusion: Start an Event Venue
Whether you’re looking to start an event venue that caters to weddings, concerts, or just social events, if you find joy in bringing people together, this is definitely a venture to consider.