Finding a venue is one of the most important (and stressful) aspects of planning an event. You will want to make sure that you find a large enough venue, a venue that has all of the amenities that you need, and above all a venue that fits in your budget. Learning how to negotiate with potential venues and hotels will help you to get what you want for a price that you can be comfortable with.
- Establishing a Foundation
Think about the 4 main things that you need to know to begin negotiations. More information will be needed as time goes on, but you should always start out with your budget, the event dates, head count, and what you need in the space (accessibility, audio/video equipment, etc.)
- Be Realistic
Make sure that you don’t shoot for the moon when you’re discussing your head count and the features that you need. If you overestimate you’ll get an incorrect pricing in terms of food, beverages, and rooms. This can lead you to not be interested in a venue that may actually be offering you the best price.
- Timelines and Expectations
The amount of time that you have to plan an event may be short, giving you less time to negotiate. Give the venue a timeline that explains when you need a proposal, when you’ll give them a counter-proposal, and the ideal date for signing a contract.
- Talking to Multiple Venues
The best way to get the most for your money is to talk to multiple venues and get a variety of quotes that you can compare against each other.
- Ignore Sales Tactics
Every venue is going to try to sell you on their space but it’s your responsibility to see through the sales tactics. Does the venue actually have what you need? Do you have to pay more for the extra bonuses that they’re trying to sell you on?
- Non-Hotel Venues
Hotels generally come with a higher price tag in terms of food and beverages as they don’t specialize in many events. Choosing an outside venue will help you to save on costs for the space and outside vendors may offer less expensive packages for food.
- Partnering Up
The venue manager will have to work with you (and vice versa) to throw the event without a hitch. You may also want to use them again for a future event so make sure that you establish a positive relationship.
- Look at Both Sides
There are 2 things that a venue manager will be concerned about: having every date booked during the year and getting the most money from each event. Taking these things into consideration will help you to manage your event to take the concerns of the venue into account as well as your own.
- Flexible Dates
It is important to remember that even though you have a set date in mind, you may find that another day may be less expensive than the one you’re interested in. Being flexible will help you to get the best deal.
- Book Multiple Events
The more money that you put into the venue, the more leverage you will have in terms of negotiations. If you agree on booking multiple events with them, they may be able to offer you a lower price.