I’ve learned that just because you build a website, doesn’t mean people will automatically come, especially for a local venue. A lot of work and dedication goes into marketing and building a reputation with the local community. I’ve had some time to think about how I would approach marketing and branding such a business.
You’re an events expert
If you’re in charge of a venue, you don’t just offer space for parties, ceremonies, celebrations, etc. You’re also an events company. You’ve seen many events of different sizes, people, cultures, the list goes on. The combined experience of seeing all these events from beginning to end gives you an advantage because you know what to do, and what not to do in order to have a great event. At the end of the day, the value you’re giving isn’t just space, it’s the experience!
Publish your findings online
You have a lot to say, and people who hire out a venue are looking for support. They might not know everything or they might know quite a lot already but wouldn’t have considered some other things. Whatever it is you know, be creative with it and publish what you know on your blog, emails, and social media.
Try and put yourself in the customer’s shoes, what would they like to know?
- Best room layouts for banquets
- What about decoration ideas?
- Is there a checklist for a successful event?
Be creative with this and keep a note of the frequently asked questions so that you can answer them.
Post event ideas on Instagram
It’s becoming increasingly important to have a social media presence. To be honest I don’t think there’s an excuse. It’s not that hard, why don’t you find pictures of different event ideas and keep a catalogue on Instagram. You can have a theme for every month or even upcoming seasons. Now that we’re in the month of October, we’re in the middle of Autumn, so it would be good to post Autumn inspired pictures of centrepieces, decorations, food etc. Leading up to December you could do a Christmas-inspired collection. The list goes on. A good example of this is The Mae Company, which is doing a pumpkin inspired theme in line with Halloween!
Seriously, do this.
At every event there’s a person that’s taking pictures of the decorations, taking selfies, recording speeches and people dancing. The attention there right now is huge and venues are missing out on a big opportunity to potentially advertise to a whole bunch of people. Create a SnapChat filter for the entire year! You can’t put a call to action, web address, or any blatant form of advertising on there, but nothing’s stopping you from putting your venue logo and strapline at the bottom.
Do it, do it now!
Host events and offer use of space for FREE
You read that right.
Every two weeks I meet with some friends for a Bible Study at the Southbank Centre. We’re only able to do this because the venue is a public space for people to hang out, have a few drinks, in a comfortable and informal environment. Most of the time they host free concerts on the ground floor, and also art exhibitions.
This gives added value to a venue because they’re giving something back to the community. It might not pay directly, but it pays to be nice. This will put the business on the map as a hub for gatherings. Again, be creative. Why not do a pop-up library? A games room will be good for the local kids. If you wanna go overboard, turn your hall into a roller skating arena (don’t know about the health and safety implications though)! Get some table tennis and pool tables out! Give, give, give!