If running a successful venue was easy everyone would be doing it. And I wouldn’t have this wonderful job that I have.
But the fact is that it is not easy. It’s a challenge to stay relevant, stay profitable and to always be gracious to your guests, staff and clients.
Before I can really dig in with any client or venue I have three questions I always ask.
Are you being honest?
Sounds easy, but it can be tricky. You have to be honest with yourself about what you want from your venue. Be honest with what you can commit to. Be honest with your staff and your team. If you’re starting a new venue be honest about your strengths and with what areas you need help. If you are revamping an existing venue be honest about how much time and money you can dedicate. And it doesn’t stop there: your policies and practices have to be 100% honest. Tell the truth to your vendors and insist on the same from them. And most of all, you must tell the truth to anyone booking your space. If there is a problem, we can’t fix it if we lie about it. Honestly discussing issues is how we get started.
Are you embracing change?
Technology. Inclusion. User experience. Yes, buzzwords that are hot right now. But also, things you should be accepting and implementing as these are all things that your clients are seeking. I’ve heard it before “we don’t book meetings; our clients aren’t interested in that type of technology” when in fact if you had that technology, you could market that as part of your services. Same goes for inclusion.
Beyond hosting LGBTQ events, your venue should be enacting an inclusion policy covering diversity in your staff and vendors, gender-neutral bathrooms, ADA accessibility, captioning or sign/language included with your technology components, comfortable space for nursing mothers and much more. It’s not enough to think that your venue is capable of these things, you should be making these things obvious.
Enhancing your guests’ experience should be a near-constant quest. From parking to Wi-Fi to seats and amenities, you should embrace the small changes that will lead to an upgraded experience. You don’t have to bow to each and every trend, but you should be committed to researching what is going to be best for your venue and your clients. This forward thinking can likely put and keep you ahead of competition.
Is it easy?
Speaking of user experience, is your venue easy to book? I’ve heard of a few clients walking away from a venue because it wasn’t easy; the contract was confusing, the billing was odd, the hours were limiting, etc. Look at your policies and procedures and make it easy. Within reason and with few exceptions, a client should be able to book your venue in 3 steps: check the date, visit the space and meet staff, and then sign the contact. How can you redefine your process and make it simpler? Are there rules and requirements that you can discuss up-front to make it smoother for a client? Again, a process that is user-friendly could make your venue a top contender when the competition is thick.
Of course, there is much more to ensuring a healthy and profitable venue, but this is a good place to start. As the industry changes, I’ve found that these issues are universal.
I’d love to hear from you – are you able to answer yes to these questions? Want to know more? Reach out and let’s talk about it.