We’ve all been there. You have spent days/weeks finding the right venue for your gala dinner or conference with lots of exhibition space, or even a last minute meeting room – made the decision and thought excellent – well done the hard part is over … and then the contract arrives….

It’s a “book’’ of small print and big numbers with dollar signs …schedules of room capacities, room hire and required, estimated food & beverage expenditure vs actual – and the $’s send you into an initial spin…and why are some of the room hire waived and others not ? and what is included in the room hire – it does differ depending on the venue.

Sound familiar??

There are many things to consider and keep in mind when negotiating your next venue contract – following are a few tips that have made a huge difference in our experience:

Share your budget with the venue

They are there to help you – they want to partner in business with you and being totally honest and transparent cuts through a lot of time wasting for both parties and don’t be smart – give them your REAL budget.

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Tell them they’re dreaming?

Ask yourself – Is it a first time event ? Will you really get those numbers ? Have you done your budget ? Know the value of your event when you start negotiations with the venue. Review your release backs, is there a smaller / larger room you can go to if you numbers do/don’t come in ? How flexible is the venue?

Too big, too small or just right ?

After deciding on the venue – it’s the room size – nothing worse than going ‘big’ and locking in a room that needs draping to make it smaller come event time – a nasty budget item …. It’s really important that the heart does not rule the head – it needs to be the perfect fit – geographical location, suitable space and size and at a price to suit your budget.

The venue has the power to enhance or diminish the success of an event and with their guidance, you can choose a room that will keep your delegates impressed and engaged throughout the occasion – not squashed in or looking like half your guests have not turned up.

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Room Hire and/or F&B spend…

Rule of thumb – if you are in the right sized room – your f&b spend should waiver your room hire – review your spend – are YOU being stingy with your spend – if its a ticketed event and you are feeding your guests main course only with cash bar – you may have a riot – or at least it will not be a repeat event…exceed your guests expectations and deliver a value for money experience – far better than paying ’empty rent’ (room hire) if you do not meet the spend.

For events where food & beverage is minimal – ask the question, if you have chosen a non-peak period you may have some negotiation here – Are you bringing considerable ‘other’ revenue streams to the property – ie car park or use of public catering outlets – is your event happening in a slow period – Jan or Feb, school holidays ?

How is your cash flow?

Be transparent with the venue as to deposit schedules – if you rely on registrations to commence – tell them; alternatively if you can pay in a month or quarter, financial year of benefit to the venue to achieve budget – do so.

To seal a good deal – offer multiples. Venues LOVE repeat clients, they get to know you and develop a relationship making their life easier by knowing what and how you like it. Can you offer multiple years or several events per year – work collaboratively with your team internally and externally.

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Consider getting in the professionals!

Conference and Event Managers can end up paying for themselves in the savings you will make by engaging them – they have long standing relationships with hotel chains, convention and exhibition centres and let’s not talk about the time and stress involved working through that contract. They can identify a host of suitable venues to present to you and negotiate on your behalf to secure the best value.

Need help? Let Nectar Creative Communications work with you to choose the right venue for your event and negotiate the best contract for you.