Venue Finding is an industry in itself, with some agencies having dedicated teams or departments solely for the purpose of sourcing the best value, most relevant spaces for a client’s event. Even if that isn’t in your specific job title, most event managers are tasked with venue finding on a regular basis, and when you do, it comes with its own list of very specific pet hates.
Here are 8 things that venues get wrong or that drive event planners crazy!
1. When venues include stationery and sweets in the DDR as an amazing added extra.
Please don’t charge me an extra £5 per head because you’ve thrown in a branded pen, notepad and some mint imperials. Half my delegates have brought a tablet or laptop to make notes on, and the other half will be using the event branded merch they got on arrival.
2. When venues charge you extra for hiring a Flip Chart.
Let’s be honest, who is still using flipcharts? And if you are, I certainly don’t want to be charged £75 + VAT for the privilege (we kid you not). I’ll bring my own, cheers!
3. When venues charge extortionate rates for WiFi.
This one should have been top of list. We live in a world where connectivity is key which means a decent WiFi connection is up their with running water and electricity on the list of basic human requirements. To be charged an additional fee for access to WiFi is what I see as a tactic by venues to strong arm event organisers into spending more money with them.
4. When venues don’t even have WiFi! Shock! Horror!
There are no words. WHY NOT?
5. When venues charge for tea and coffee per serving at an all day event.
Again, this feels a little like venue strong-arming to ensure maximum spend from bookers. If the event is a full day, it is very likely that delegates will expect a tea or coffee on arrival, mid-morning, with lunch and maybe even mid-afternoon as well. That’s at least 3 cuppas per person, if not more! I appreciate that this all costs money, but just factor this into your DDR instead of charging me £3.50 per cup.
Forward-thinking venues are providing inviting refreshment stations that are available on demand for attendees to grab a brew of their choice when they want one, rather than only during the dedicated short coffee break.
6. When venues don’t list contact details on the website.
This seems to be really obvious, yet you would be surprised how often I have to hunt round for an email address or contact number to even make an initial venue enquiry.
Often venues seem to prefer contact forms which don’t even give enough space to add in the important details the venue will need to be able to quote accurately.
And the amount of times the form has an error and won’t submit, or the form gets lost and no one ever gets back to you. It becomes a vicious circle as you once again try to track down a phone number to chase up the venue.
7. When venues don’t even respond.
Potentially the most frustrating on the list: venues that you make enquiries to that don’t ever get back to you. This happens all the time. I appreciate the volume of enquiries to the most popular venues must be significant, and that proposals take time, but just let me know either way if you can or can’t do the dates. I want to spend money and make a booking with you, it doesn’t make sense to me why you wouldn’t pick up that lead and see if it can be converted into a sale.
8. When venues don’t have basic information available online (or it is incorrect)
When venue searching, I try and find out as much information online as I can before I contact a venue. I know everyone is busy, and I don’t want to waste someone’s time asking about straight forward information like capacities, room layouts and floor plans. If all of this is online, I can make a call as to whether or not the space is relevant for the event in question, then I can decide to get in touch, or not, from there.
Furthermore, when the information is there it can often be completely exaggerated. You claim the Renaissance Suite can accommodate 230 theatre style but actually it can barely squeeze 200. Sigh.
Do any of these venue pet hates sound familiar? What are your pet peeves when venue hunting or working with venues for your events? Let us know in the comments below or on social media!