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How to … Find a venue / Promote a venue

28th July 2010

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Design Inc’s Event & Venue Specialist, Darren Scurville has been in the fortunate position to experience both sides of the coin for venue promotion campaigns, having worked for over 10 years as a high-end event organiser and in his current role at Design Incorporated.

Darren explains, “From a venue’s point of view I was their archetypal buyer. From the clients side I was the trusted, experienced and venue promotion expert.

This experience has provided valuable insight into the decision making process for companies selecting a venue for their own events and the essential marketing requirements when a venue needs to promote themselves”.

I have summarised the criteria for Venue Finding and Venue Promotion as follows:

Venue finding

Venue finding provides a mammoth task for many people every day with more and more corporate events being held every year. More than 80% of the success of any event, meeting, conference or any type of event is dependent on the choice of the venue itself. Spending money in venues should be looked upon as an investment in your company’s future and should not be looked at without due consideration. Consider your requirements fully, look at the venue carefully and book the venue confidently.

Start early! Venue finding can be a very time consuming exercise. It is never too early to start looking for a suitable venue. If you are thinking about hosting an event, then you can be sure that there are dozens of other companies thinking about hosting one also.

Identify your objectives and format – what do you want to achieve from your event and how are you going to achieve it? Is it increased sales, sales recognition, employee motivation, product launch, customer appreciation day, etc?

Attendees – How many people are you going to invite? Who will be attending – employees, existing customers, prospective customers, media, members of the public, any VIP’s or celebrities?

Location, location, location – where do you want to host the event? Close to company offices; easy access from major road networks, train stations or airports or in a luxury countryside setting away from it all? Consider the widest geographic area. Think not just in terms of miles but minutes of commuting time. A location may be further away but well served by motorway and other transport links

Budget – Yes, this is important and needs to be realistic to your objectives? Has one been approved? How does it compare to other events you have arranged? What does the budget actually need to cover? Set a budget you are comfortable with. Everyone has financial constraints but you need to get the best value for your spend.

Specialist Support – Of course, there are many venue finding specialists you can call upon who will know the ins and outs of hundreds of potential venues. These companies can help reduce the aggravation, time and hopefully cost in finding & booking your venue. Be sure you provide a full brief as to your requirements, which could include:

Venue style and service quality
Does the venue have a high level of standards and ethics
Accommodation proximity
Quality of food and beverage services
AV production support
Availability of meeting space, activity rooms, discussion space and break out areas
Specific room dimensions, capacities, ceiling heights, natural daylight and lift access etc
Compliancy with the Disability Discrimination Act
Dietary requirements; kosher, halal, gluten-free, vegan etc?
Availability of team building activities, florists, entertainment and games for after dinner, etc
Does the venue provide creative production services and inspiration for themed events?

Venue Promotion

Building an effective venue-marketing plan is like sowing a field for a successful crop. There are certain methods that are absolutely necessary. You can tweak a little here and there adding your own special methods as long as you include the main components’

Distributing seeds instead of planting them in one place by not just reaching people individually and telling them what your venue does or has is a tough way to do it and an uphill battle. Instead thinking of each person you interact with, as someone who can carry the seed of your venue to someone else is valuable. Your goal shouldn’t be just to convince them, it’s to give them some way, large or small to carry your venue message forward.

How are you as a venue making things happen and distributing the message? Do you…..

Blog – demonstrating your venue industry awareness, expertise, knowledge and establish yourself as a recognised venue industry voice connecting to the topics of the moment.

Send tactical e-shots & newsletters – To reach out and engage with your audience, telling them about your venue’s successes, latest events at your venue, your venues new features, the venues new services or even the venues new staff. Also to solidify your current client relationships, strengthen your venue ‘brand’ and keep your venue constantly in the public eye.

Strategically Advertise – With calculated planning, compelling copywriting and powerful messaged advertising design for your entire venue advertising campaigns. Making sure it is tailored to appeal to your target market using compelling and strategic design, graphics and messaging to entice a reaction, an enquiry and a venue booking.

Design your marketing collateral tactically – Making sure your brochure and direct mail pieces truly reflect and delivers your venue’s image, values and core services. Creating interactive elements such as incentivised response devices for data capture and the use of enticing formats and tactile materials.

Stand out at Exhibitions – to distinguish and differentiate your venue amongst all the other venues doing the same thing. Making sure your stand fascinates, captivates, generates interest, interacts with your audiences, creates the WOW factor and leaves a compelling impression on your visitor.

Optimise your Website – incorporating strategic, valuable keywords & phrases that relate specifically to your industry so your prospective clients find your website ahead of your competitors and integrate strategic creative designs, high impact copywriting and a fully comprehensive statistics area to gather that all-important marketing data.

View our venue promotion portfolio