Do you want more event bookings at your venue? We’re guessing that’s a “heck yes”. Everyone wants to be booked out with events!
In this post, we share 21 easy ways to get on the radar of event planners, partner companies and potential event clients – and book out your venue this year!
Start implementing some of the ideas on this list to increase your event bookings for the year ahead.
With a little planning ahead and a bit of creativity, you can sleep well knowing your space is booked out … without the last minute stress:
21 Sure-fire Ways to Get More Event Bookings at your Venue
#1. Host a Networking Event
There are always groups looking for new, fun spaces. Reach out to some of the local networking groups and offer your space as an alternative. Add some incentives to the mix like a great drinks/canapes offer, or perhaps free hire for the first booking.
The key here is to get eyeballs on your venue. Some networking groups are stuck in a rut and just don’t think to rotate their venues. Place the idea in their minds for them!
An additional benefit to attracting more networking events to your venue is that the members of networking groups may be looking for venues themselves for other events – a party, celebration or work function. Guess what? You just exposed your venue (and your attention to detail, menu, drinks and more) to a wider group of potential customers with just one event.
TIP TO GET MORE EVENT BOOKINGS: Start your own networking event. It could be a singles night or a particular genre of business like tourism and hospitality. Maybe even organise a networking night with your suppliers and event planners. Think out of the box!
#2. Work with Local, Government or Charity Organisations
Reach out to your local Council, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club or similar organisation in your area.
Let them know you have a space for hire and the points of difference that make your venue a perfect fit for them – whether it’s for a simple meeting or a bigger function.
TIP TO GET MORE EVENT BOOKINGS: If it’s a charitable organisation then consider #3 as an option to book out your venue.
#3. Offer your space for free to Not for Profits for Event Bookings
A great way to start getting bookings at your venue is to start filling it. Once people are “in” your space, they are more likely to talk about it.
A good way to do this is to open it up to NFPs for free (or a reduced rate) for the venue hire fee. We love this idea (inspired by the guys at TripleSeat). Here’s a story from our local area, to help you see the potential of doing this:
One of our local banks had a conference/board room they didn’t use every day. They made it available for the local community to use for free when they were not using it. Yes, they could have charged those community groups and businesses, but by bringing people into their bank, something else happened: They were showing that they had their community’s back. They cared. Wouldn’t you want to do business with a bank that cares about supporting small business?
Now, translate this scenario to your venue. By offering your space to Not For Profit organisations you will be doing two things:
- Giving back to your community (it doesn’t go unnoticed!).
- Exposing a huge range of business owners and clients to your awesome venue space. They’ll consider it the next time they need to book something for their business. And you have created a sense of good will with them, so they are likely to think of you first!
TIP TO GET MORE EVENT BOOKINGS: Ask the NFPs if you can share images from their meetings or events on your social pages. This promotes the NFP and gets more eyeballs on their cause, but also gives social proof that your venue is popular and is being used by recognisable organisations. It’s a win-win.
#4. Get your (stunning) Function Pack sorted.
A stunning Function Pack is the key to just about every conversation, email or meeting you have with potential customers or event planners that will fill your calendar with event bookings at your venue.
Let’s cut straight to a visual of what a stunning Function Pack might look like:
To ensure that your function pack turns heads and leads to bookings, include the following:
- Amazing venue imagery. Showcase your function spaces with photographs of your venue when fully styled for an event.
- Include personalisation! When constructing a proposal for a function, ensure you add the recipients names on the front cover, and throughout the proposal, along with any suggestions. Give your potential guests a taste of the fabulous service they will receive.
- Outline options for various price points in packages, including drinks packages if applicable.
- Include a clear call to action on how to book your venue, and provide various easy ways to do this eg online form, email, phone.
- Include Terms and Conditions. Ensure these are concisely outlined.
The best part is that with Easil, you can edit your function pack with a few simple clicks.
Don’t forget that Easil has a handy Menu Maker that you can use to whip up a function menu for your Function Pack. Your function pack will be your secret weapon when it comes to maximising event bookings.
#5. Get friendly with event planners
Make a plan to get to know the event planners in your area. Ask them for lunch, show them around …. without any pressure to book any functions (although make sure they take away your function pack for when they do want to book a special event).
This is about building relationships for the long term. Keep in touch with these prospects re ideas you have for use of your function spaces, and any specials or openings you have in the future.
#6. Partner with industry suppliers
If you have some well-loved industry suppliers that you work with on a regular basis, partner up with them. Co-host an event or combine forces to put together a great deal or package for event planners.
It could be music or entertainment, food or decorations. Think about where you can partner up! Maybe you can arrange a referral scheme with each other.
#7. Hold a Showcase or Open Day
Hold a showcase or open day for event planners and suppliers. Think about the end game here and the type of events you want to host. Then invite the suppliers that work with those clients – whether it’s weddings, businesses, local charities or corporate.
Invite them to an open day where you showcase your menu, drinks, attention to detail and entertainment. Theme and style your venue to fit your guests.
TIP TO GET MORE EVENT BOOKINGS: Arrange with your kitchen to provide a sample menu or mini bite-size versions for guests to taste. Follow up on the open day by sending an email within 24 hours showcasing your stunning Function Pack.
#8. Be the Source for “Events” with your blog
This tip is Gold! If you can pull it off, it will mean more eyeballs on your event venue, while providing huge value to your community.
Here it is: Don’t just blog about your venue or your new menu or your latest news for your events. Blog about events in your wider community… and become the “source” for events.
TIP TO GET MORE EVENT BOOKINGS: If you are a hotel or club, your website blog/news could include updates about local events that have nothing to do with your venue. You could also showcase a local business that you partner with. What about writing a complete local event guide that you host on your website? It will catch the attention of Google AND local event planners all at the same time.
#9. Get your Venue Listed on Event Directories
Getting listed on local, state and national online event/business directories is super important from an SEO/search perspective. It has huge potential to drive quality traffic to your website.
It also catches the attention of corporate event planners and customers alike. Here are a few examples of directories you might want to check out and get listed on:
- Trip Advisor – the world’s largest travel site – filled with reviews about tourism and hospitality venues.
- Yelp – another huge review site that your customers can review you on.
- Hotfrog – a place for you, the business owner to tell the world what you do differently!
And some Australia-specific sites:
- True Local – Australia’s largest collection of local businesses reviewed by customers.
- Local Business Guide – a State by State business directory in Australia.
- Aussie Web – an Australian local search directory.
This is just a drop in the ocean when it comes to business directories. Find the best ones in your local area.
TIP TO GET MORE EVENT BOOKINGS: On your calendar, make a note to add your business to at least one business directory every week. Use keywords to describe your venue clearly ie Conferences and Events, Function Spaces/Rooms and relevant event keywords like Wedding Venue or Corporate Events/Hire.
#10. Segment your emails
Email marketing is anything but dead. When was the last time you checked your email? Not so long ago we’re guessing. So, make sure you prioritise your email list.
Don’t just send the same email out to everyone. Start to segment your emails to go to different groups and tailor your content to those targeted groups.
For example, you might have a contact list for event suppliers and party planners and a separate contact list for the general public.
#11. Print indoor and outdoor banners to advertise your space
Print Media can still be very powerful. Don’t forget to put up flyers and posters in your venue to remind customers that you have a venue for hire.
And don’t forget outdoor advertising too – a banner on the roadside or near the entrance to your venue is still one of the most effective ways to remind people that you have an awesome venue for hire or that you cater for group bookings and have function rooms.
#12. Get Consistent on Social Media
If you are finding it difficult to keep up with social media posts to promote your event space, consider focusing in on one platform instead of trying to be everywhere.
Ask yourself this: Where it is your ideal customer hanging out. Where does you or your team find it easier to post content? The point at which those two things meet, is your sweet spot! It could be Facebook, It could be Instagram… Decide on what is the most important platform right now. Then double down on prioritising that platform and posting regularly on it.
#13. Freshen up your branding
We’re talking photography, social media images, print media and more. When was the last time your branding had a freshen up?
Consider getting a photographer in every quarter or twice per year to take a series of photos of your venue, staff, new menu and customers (with permission). Use it to freshen-up your branding.
Easil can help with this when it comes to social media and print media. Once you upload your new images into our system, you can easily include them in editable templates for social images, posters, flyers and more… and better showcase your venue possibilities.
#14. Fess up about fees
Be up-front about your fees. Even be so bold as to list them on your website. Don’t make the customer hunt for the information. If you have a function pack, include it in the pack (even if it’s just a starting price).
TIP TO GET MORE EVENT BOOKINGS: Remove all “surprise charges” from your pricing and state them up front. You’ll waste less time with people who are not your ideal client, if they know the pricing “ballpark” for your venue. You’ll also avoid putting them off with unexpected fees. Be. Up. Front.
#15. Keep Your Website Landing Page Current (and Awesome)
The landing page on your website for events and venue bookings should be many things, including:
- easy to find
- easy to navigate
- contains a downloadable version of your Function Pack (see #4)
- includes the answers to every major FAQ you have ever been asked.
And above all, make sure you have a clear call to action so the visitor knows exactly how to enquire about your venue or book it for an event.
#16. Location Location Location
Don’t forget to leverage your location. Make sure your location is listed in all the most important places – on your website, on all your social channels, in directories, on Google local search (claim your listing) and on your emails.
#17. Leverage the Power of the “Check-in”
Encourage attendees at events to “check in” on Facebook and Instagram by adding their location (or using Instagram Location Stickers if they post to Instagram Stories).
This way, their friends, customers and business associates will see the event being hosted at your venue. It’s free advertising!
TIP TO GET MORE EVENT BOOKINGS: Nobody ever wants to check in to a place unless they are happy for others to see that they are there. This works to your favour, as once somebody has checked in via Facebook, Facebook will (at the time of writing this post) ask them to write a review about the location or venue a day later. If they’ve already checked in, they are likely to feel positive about your venue and will place a positive review. Find out more here about how this works – and leverage it!
#18. Follow up
You’d be surprised how much of an impression it makes when you follow through on your promises. If a potential customer or event planner visits your venue, send a follow-up email or call to follow-up.
TIP TO GET MORE EVENT BOOKINGS: Don’t just focus on new bookings. Repeat bookings are the easiest to get, as the customer already likes the space! Don’t forget to follow up after a successful event to keep communication open, offer incentives and get feedback.
#19. Put yourself in your customers shoes
What is it that your ideal “event” customer is looking for? Put yourself in their shoes and make a list of what their challenges and needs are that you can solve.
This includes cost, location, parking, capacity of the venue, cost per head, menus, services and amenities, ambiance, acoustics, special conditions… the list goes on.
TIP TO GET MORE EVENT BOOKINGS: There are plenty of blog posts and articles out there online to help customers wrangle a great deal with a venue. A bit like this one. Use this type of content to your advantage in a reverse-psychology kind of way. Be ready to give these potential customers exactly what they are looking for.
In short, use this kind of intel to know what they are going to ask before they ask it….then impress them with your answers!
#20. Know Your Secret Sauce
And most of all, know your special sauce. What is your point of difference from other venues? This is what will help you to get more bookings.
Share that point of difference in your printed material, your social media, your digital marketing and on your website.
#21. Make it Easy for Them
The more you can make the event easier to organise for a client or event planner, the more they will want to come back for a second event.
Make the whole event easy for them. From the initial booking to the entertainment and the menu… show exceptional attention to detail.
Start using some of these tips to ensure a steady flow of event bookings this year. What’s your favourite tip for getting more bookings for meetings, functions and events?