How to operate a venue business
Hosting an endless variety of events and functions, venue businesses can be whatever you want them to be – literally.
Whether you’ve come across an unusual space which is begging to be a wedding venue, you’re building a conference centre from scratch or embarking on buying an established business, here’s our quick guide to operating a successful event space business.
1. Start with your own experiences
If you’ve never run a venue before, we’re willing to bet you have attended your fair share of weddings, conferences or conventions. Think about what facilities you have been impressed by at other locations, or wished they’d had. Imagine what your future clients might need – catering facilities, a bar, technical specifications, or optional accommodation? You should start small however, in line with your budget – you can always grow later on.
2. Think about your customers
Venue businesses are often multiple-use spaces, so your customers might be members of the public, bands and event organisers, sports organisations or other businesses. Though potential is diverse, some requirements will be common: so investigate permits and licences for selling food and alcoholic drinks, permissions relating to noise, and maximum legal capacities.
3. Make a list of all the staff you will need
No matter the type of events you host, certain staff will be required. Venues must be fully staffed before opening day, with potential roles including security teams, bartenders, sound and lighting engineers and in-house caterers. Ticketing also requires significant organisation, so if you will need to check tickets at the event – or even sell them through your own box office – make sure this is a seamless experience.
4. Prepare to promote yourself
Katie O’Reilly, Senior Partner of Business Development at Kenmare Catering and Events, says costs in the event space business are often less about equipment and staff, and more about getting your name out there.
“The best way to promote your business is networking and getting involved with other people in the industry,” says O’Reilly. “You have to keep building on yourself and showing people who you are and what your skills are—you can’t sit in a dark space and expect people to show up.”
You should also ensure your services are priced in-line with competitors, and consider introductory offers and low-price deals when you start out.
5. Prioritise keeping it in good condition
“The condition of the facility sets the tone for the guest’s experiences”, say management operator VenuWorks. Keepings things clean, well-maintained and in good condition not only extends the lifespan of your fixtures and fittings, but projects the right impression to clients, attendees and would-be customers.
6. Keep it protected
Whether you’re hosting rock concerts with thousands of fans, expensive equipment and international stakeholders, or playing your part in a bride and groom’s big day, there are plenty of potential pitfalls for which your business could be found liable. Often requiring a bespoke combination of liability and property insurance products, talk to our insurance experts today for independent, impartial advice on venue and event insurance. Call us on 02920 626 226 or email firstname.lastname@example.org