Keep your options open. Have around 3 venues that you’d be happy to consider in your final list, so if any venue drop a last minute bombshell, you’ve always got back up options.
Be prepared to compromise. Whichever venue you choose, there will be elements that aren’t quite perfect. For example the venue that ‘has it all’ will typically be very expensive; a city centre venue might not have as much space as an out of town venue, but will be easier to travel to; some cost effective hotels that look great in the brochure might be a little tatty around the edges when you see it first-hand. Decide on what is most important to you and focus on these things when making your final choice.
Value is the most important thing. The most expensive venues aren’t always the best and the cheapest ones will usually be cheap for a reason. Value is a combination of many factors and often 4* venues priced in the middle offer all the comforts and service of a 5* property but at a price that is more affordable.
Do a site visit. Venues are more than happy to show you round and let you sample menus, so take them up on this offer. By seeing the space you hope to entertain your guests in first hand, you’ll get a much better feel for reality and whether the options you have pencilled are still appropriate.
Exclusive use, without the exclusive price tag. If you find a venue that has a similar number of bedrooms to the number you need, you should end up with the feel of an exclusive use venue without having to pay a surcharge.
Flag it before you sign. If something specific is really important to you, then flag it before you sign the contract as afterwards is too late.
Get it in writing. If a venue make specific promises to you regarding any ad-hoc wishes you may have, make sure you get this on an email so should your on-day experience not be as you expected, you have hard evidence to back you up.
Hold space with no obligation. Get any venue options you are interested in held on ‘1st option’. There is no commitment at this stage, other than the venue must come to you first should someone else be interested in your dates. This means you have time to consider the creative content of your event before committing to the venue spend.
Read the small print. Be really clear what’s included in the contract and what’s not. There are loads of things to consider. What are the payment terms and cancellation policy? Is your favourite meeting room detailed on the contract or can the venue move you to a different space if they get another booking at the last minute? If you’ve been promised private dining, is it written in the contract? (or you might find yourself in the main restaurant on the day) and there’s lots more to consider.
For advice on venue options or contract negotiation, then please speak to one of our venue experts.