Managing an event venue is equal parts rewarding and stressful. Every event has its own unique set of challenges, but the smiles on the faces of your guests at the end of the day make it well worth the stress. But what happens in the off-season when the events are few and far between?
Instead of facing burnout and worrying about your cash flow, consider some of the following ways to generate revenue for your venue. Whether your venue specializes in weddings or corporate events, you can supplement your income with any of the following options. You also get the added bonus of increased exposure and the potential for cross promoting your services to new clients.
Just about any venue can accommodate a vendor fair. From craft vendors to individual booths for business, a vendor fair is the perfect way to bring money into your venue while simultaneously making valuable connections with your community.
The first step to attracting vendors to your space is to advertise and network within your community. It’s a good idea to update your website and social media to list vendor fairs as a service that you offer. That’s true for all different types of events that you plan to offer in the future, as well.
After you update your service offerings, start reaching out to different organizations in your community. Check with your local Chamber of Commerce or business association for organizations or vendors that might be looking for more exposure and sales opportunities.
You’ll also want to control the focus of any vendor fair you host by attracting a mixture of like-minded entrepreneurs. Craft shows are great, but consider adding in party planning or direct sales representatives. These individuals often have experience with vendor fairs and come prepared with impressive table displays. There’s also the added benefit of the network of vendors that they can connect you with.
A logical extension of hosting vendor fairs is opening your space up to workshops. There are all sorts of options, including craft workshops, instructional classes, or motivational speaking events. Much like the previous scenario, the event venue provides a space for an individual or small business to offer products or services. The price of those offerings are usually not included in the rental contract.
One major thing to consider when hosting a workshop of any kind is who will handle the advertising. In other words, are you the host or simply offering up your space? The answer to this question should be worked out in initial meetings when you and the third party sign contracts.
While it’s perfectly fine for you to take on the responsibility of attracting attendees, you shouldn’t be responsible for accepting any participation fees to pass along to the renter. Establishing clear boundaries is key.
Business Retreats & Meeting Space
If you have success hosting workshops, you might consider opening your venue for corporate businesses to host large meetings and retreats. These events are usually less complicated because the corporate entity handles everything from the guest list to any additional participants. There’s no real advertising necessary on your end, so you can sit back and tend to the renter’s needs as usual.
Another bonus in hosting corporate events is that they can book up your calendar for several days at a time. Business retreats are typically at least 2 or 3 days, so you can often establish a working relationship with managers and attendees alike. They become familiar with your space and you as an event manager, setting you up for future opportunities.
If you have a stage or dance floor that you usually use for weddings or public speaking, consider switching it up and opening your doors to concerts or shows. You don’t have to be the next Hard Rock Cafe, but small events for local acts can be a great way to bring in revenue.
When hosting musical performances, you’ll want to establish some ground rules up front. Will you control a cover charge? If you have a liquor license, will you offer alcohol? The answer to these questions will depend on the type of musicians you decide to attract and their associated demographic.
The great thing about hosting performances is that you get a chance to show off your PA system and your venue’s party-ready atmosphere. You’re much more likely to book weddings and other festive events if people have already had a great time at your venue in the past.
Speaking of people having a great time, gaming tournaments can be an excellent way to offer entertainment for a niche demographic at your venue. The popularity of gaming tournaments, both video games and strategy games, has grown exponentially in the last few years. Unfortunately for gamers, there aren’t that many spaces available to meet.
You can reach out to gaming groups in your area or find gaming companies to sponsor events. While you don’t have to go all out and put on your own convention, a day-long deck-building tournament or video game competition will be sure to attract a large group. Consider charging an entry fee or extending catering services to make a little extra.
Gift Shops or Boutique Rental Space
This final idea might take a little bit of extra work on your part initially, but could pay off in a big way down the road. Depending on the amount of space you have available, consider designating it as a dedicated retail or boutique space.
Creating a gift shop could be a great way to bring in extra revenue, especially if your venue is located near a tourist attraction or interesting historical or geographic landmark. You could also offer custom inventory for events like weddings or large corporate events and build the price of goods into your rental package.
Another option is to offer a dedicated retail area to different featured boutiques each month. Pop-ups can be immensely lucrative for vendors, and you could utilize the connections you make at vendor fairs to attract sellers.
Diversifying is Always a Plus
Casting your net wide by diversifying your service offerings is the best way to serve a wide variety of clientele through your event venue. You never know when someone will see your space in person and spark an interest in using your services for their next event, even if it’s completely different from the one they just attended. Plus, networking with different business owners and members of your community is always a smart move when you’re in the service industry.