It’s all about negotiation!  If you’d love to secure a discount but don’t know where to start, here’s a very quick guide on how to strike a bargain with your chosen venue. 

Not every venue will be able to offer huge discounts, such as those managed by social enterprise or registered charities, but there are many who are only too happy to negotiate rather than have an empty space, especially during those times in the year when there are fewer events.

Some people love to haggle and don’t give up until they get what they want while many are prepared to pay the full price and won’t even think to ask for a discount, whether out of pride, embarrassment or just plain fear.  If you do have a tight budget however, and want to pay less, it is always worth asking so here are my top 5 tips:

  1. Consider if there is the opportunity for you to use the same venue in the future and provide them with repeat business throughout the year or annually, this is the easiest negotiation around as you will become a valued client to them.
  2. It is always worth mentioning that you are looking at other venues. Healthy and fair competition between venues will ultimately mean you will get a competitive rate. Ensure though that you do your research and are comparing venues that offer a similar rating, standard and quality.
  3. This one can be tricky especially when there are a few stakeholders to consider but try to be as flexible as you can with your dates and have 2-3 alternatives.  Avoid one day events on Wednesdays where possible and consider Monday’s and Friday’s.  Also consider the peak and trough business periods through the year for events, understanding why and when a venue will do a deal will help you get the best discount.
  4. Another tricky one but consider the lead time for your event, there are venues that offer considerable short lead discounts however, your preferred venues may already be booked and if it is last let space and the venue’s enquiry level is high it may well be more costly.
  5. Consider the event you are hosting, what is the purpose of the event and who is attending, could there be potential customers for the venue or fellow event planners attending, maybe you could allow the venue’s Business Development Manager or Sales Manager to network at your event or do a quick 2 min introduction with your attendees in return for a discount?

Know exactly what to ask for, for example, a 20% discount, removal of items from your package to lower the price, or a substitution that will give you a better deal.  A lot will come down to having a good knowledge of your attendees and being very clear on your objectives.  Complimentary items offered by venues are great but if they don’t fit with your priorities don’t let your venue use them as a bargaining tool and, always keep any associated spend in mind too, eg. bedrooms or add on events such as planning or committee meetings.

Remember try to be as flexible as you can, don’t make empty promises and get everything agreed in writing.  Being the best Event Manager is upheld by the relationships you have with venues and suppliers, and the very best relationships are built on commitment, compromise and trust.

Happy negotiating #Eventprofs, until next time…