How To Get The Perfect Venue Rental In 3 Minutes
You forgot about planning your friend’s engagement party. Or maybe it was just some last minute thing.
This experience runs really personal for me. For my wedding, my first choice venue rental cancelled on me a few weeks before the wedding! But I persevered and found an even better venue rental in no time at all and the wedding went perfectly.
So whatever type of event, you have to find a venue rental very quickly.
Don’t panic! We will tell you what you need to know and what you need to care about to find that perfect venue ASAP.
And we’ll go step by step.
Step 1 For Your Venue Rental: Check The Meeting Room Information
How is budget not the first thing to look at?
Well, it turns out that room information is the number one factor event planners use in making a decision about venue.
And the pros know what they are talking about.
Think of it this way:
Budget is obviously really important but it is negotiable. When you are pressed for time, you need to filter based on information about your meeting room.
Does the venue have any rooms that fit your capacity?
If the venue doesn’t, don’t waste your time with that venue. You need to move fast.
So the first thing you need to do is get everything together regarding your guestlist, square footage requirements, room shape requirements, etc.
Because a venue rental will not be able to accommodate this if they don’t have it already.
Makes sense now, right?
So before determining a budget, think about how many guests you have and how much space they will require.
Remember that the more furniture you need in your venue rental space, the more square footage overall you’ll need.
Furniture takes up a lot of space!
And remember that one of the main factors that goes into pricing venue rental space is square footage. So you need to know this metric.
Step 2 For Your Venue Rental: Determine How Much You Are Willing To Spend
You were waiting for me to get to the money, right?
Now is the time to determine how much you can or are willing to spend.
No matter the type of event, the costs and your relative budget are crucial.
Going gaga for a venue only to find out it is too much not only leads to heartbreak, but also wastes precious time.
So let’s take a step back.
Before looking for venues, you need to develop a budget for your event.
Go to The Venue Report or a similar venue budget guide to figure out what venues generally go for in your area. You will have to develop your number around the general figures you find here.
Here’s a tip:
Don’t come up with a hard number. Come up with a range of low end to high end.
Remember that too cheap of a venue could indicate that the venue is not high end enough to suit your needs.
For example, if you are planning a fancy wedding, there’s probably something fishy about a venue that is too cheap.
You need to pay for quality.
To recap, now you know your venue space information like square footage, dimensions, capacity and your budget.
Are you ready yet to actually look for a venue? Not yet, but we’re getting close.
Step 3 For Your Venue Rental: Think Whether You Need Any Special Amenities
Is there anything about this event that needs to be extra special?
No matter the location of your event, some people have their musts.
For example, I have friends that have needed to have their weddings overlooking a body of water.
These are the special amenities that only some venues can offer.
In my wedding with an ocean overlook example, a venue not within any range of water is just not going to cut it.
But here’s the thing:
If you are planning this event for yourself, try to cut these down as much as possible. If you have very little time, stay away from as many special amenities as possible.
Some amenities are easy to get. I live in Los Angeles so finding a venue near water is very simple but if you are more inland, you may want to forget about it.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is that your budget and your room requirements make sense.
Once you have those, you have the main filters you’ll need.
Step 4 For Your Venue Rental: Filter Filter Filter
Now you are ready to search for venues. You have all the basics down but you aren’t done yet. Depending on your budget and room requirements, you still may have a lot of venues to choose from.
For a lot of you, you may be done here.
If you need a venue just based on this criteria, go to a booking app such as Instynt.io, download the app, and you can book your venue immediately.
Then you really are done!
But if you need more specifics, you are not done. So here are some things to look out for:
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard nightmare stories of people booking their events and only finding out later they needed to have a specific type of insurance.
Some venues will not work with you if you do not have insurance.
So what should you do?
You need to find out immediately upon filtering your venues whether you need insurance. If you have insurance and can add the venue as an additional insured quickly, ok great. You won’t have a problem.
If you do not have insurance, and you are in a rush, it is very possible you will have no time to get the right policy.
So what does that mean for you?
If you don’t have insurance, you need to find only venues that will allow you to throw your event without insurance.
And this is why I bring up this filter first. Not having insurance is something you cannot remedy quickly.
If you have an insurance representative you trust, ask him or her if you have enough time to get the right policy.
But here’s the key:
Get an honest answer whether you have time. You wouldn’t want your event to be ruined because you couldn’t get something as mundane as insurance in time.
Location and Accessibility
Now we are at the point where things get less binary. You have to make judgment calls based on certain criteria.
And here is an easy place to get started: location!
Your event will not be popular if the location is remote and hard to get to.
So in your list of venues that fit your criteria, see if any addresses are in strange, hard to get to places.
You may want to cross those off your list.
What if you found the perfect event but the staff and services were lousy?
That would make for a pretty horrible event, right?
So knowing the reputation in advance is key and you can do this quickly.
To do this quickly, check on a venue’s site to see photos and if they have any testimonials.
Then hop over to Yelp and other sites dedicated to showing you reviews and see what people are saying.
Remember, it’s not just about how clean and luxurious the rooms are.
It is also about how tenured the staff is, how responsive they are, how flexible they are, etc.
Remember that if you are rushed, the venue you pick will be rushed too.
A good venue will be able to accommodate you and work with you to quickly get the event ready.
If the staff is bad at returning your calls or seem frustrated that your event is coming up so soon, time to scrap them.
You won’t have time to put up with that.
Wifi and IT
Does your event require the internet?
If you have someone giving an interactive presentation, this may be crucial.
You’ll also want to know if technical support is available the day of just in case.
Venues will typically list whether wifi is available in their spaces.
But remember this:
While wifi may seem great, really assess whether you need it.
You’re in a time crunch so if people need to use their data to use their phones as opposed to wifi, ask yourself whether that is a big deal.
Convenience should not be mistaken for a requirement.
Does your event have any music?
If so, this may be very important.
So how do you judge acoustics?
It depends on the type of music. If you have a huge band like at a wedding or a performance, you’ll need a larger space with a particular shape to avoid echoes.
If you have a smaller band like a jazz trio, you’ll want a smaller space.
If music is not playing a big part in your event, all you need to do is make sure that anyone speaking can be heard clearly.
This is once again not an area to be overly picky.
What’s the bottom line?
If music is not too important and your speaker can be heard well, don’t worry about acoustics too much.
Remember, time is short!
A/V Equipment and Catering
Do you have your vendors locked down?
If you need A/V support and catering taken care of by the venue, then you need to find a venue that can do that.
If you have your vendors ready to go and you can handle audio-visual by yourself, then don’t worry too much about this filter.
Having A/V and catering taken care of by a venue is ideal if you can get it.
Why is this the case?
Venues know the ins and outs of their own venue better than any 3rd party.
And with time short, it would be great for you to only have to deal with the venue for all the event needs.
How angry would you be if you had to pay $20 to $40 for parking?
If you want to make sure your attendees are not angry with you, make sure the venue has a decent parking policy or that parking is included in the booking.
If it turns out parking is hard to come by at the venue you like, this may not necessarily be a reason to scrap the venue.
So what can you do?
Encourage car pools or help in paying for parking as part of the budget.
Getting rid of your dream venue, especially so short on time, just because of parking is not a good idea.
This is something where you have a little wiggle room so here you can be flexible even if you are short on time.
Step 5 For Your Venue Rental: Take A Site Visit
Now that you have all your filters in place, you’ve probably whittled down your list of venues to only a few.
And hopefully you have your favorite picked out.
For a larger venue and if you have time, take a site visit.
No matter how much you think you know about a venue from what you’ve read about it, you need to see if the site is suitable to your event.
If you are super short on time, you won’t have time for too many site visits so make the ones you do count.
What you are looking for are just last minute things that you think you may need.
And remember this:
The venue does not need to be 100% perfect! You have little time so you need to make sure that the event can go off without a hitch.
Anything more than that is asking too much.
Step 6 For Your Venue Rental: Know Your Guest List
If you have the time to go to multiple venues for site visits, one way to choose between two or several is to think, “What would my guests like?”
If you have a smaller guest list, you can get a feel for what some guests like more than others.
Here’s a tip:
Think of what your guests want more than what you want.
Your guests make the party, not you.
This of course only makes sense to do if you have a choice between venues.
If you are really strapped for time, then you just need to make sure your guests will have a good time and that the event will run smoothly.
Step 7 For Your Venue Rental: Ask, Ask, Ask
If you cannot find any information online, what should you do?
Ask, ask, ask the staff!
Thematic with the rest of the steps here, you need to get used to being on the phone and asking the venue important, specific questions.
Any trained venue staff should be used to this.
Remember reputation? If a staff has a reputation for being too glib or not precise enough, that can be a reason to not use get that venue rental.
Some things are hard to find online such as how many events are occurring in one day, how long set-up times and so forth.
So don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t know.
Here’s a tip:
Find your point person from the staff and let them know from the beginning that you are strapped for time, so you may be calling frequently.
How can you make the experience better?
Always be courteous! You’re under a lot of pressure but so is the staff so remember your “pleases” and “thank yous”.
So there you go.
In 7 steps, you have everything you need to get that last minute venue rental.
So take that deep breath and don’t panic because you can do it!
Booking a venue rental is about knowing what to care about and what not to care about.
With a last minute booking, you need to know what is required and what are just bells and whistles.
And while you may not get everything you want, an event is all about the attendees. If the program for the event goes off as planned, people will remember it very fondly.
It won’t matter that you couldn’t get that particular shade of rug or the agendas didn’t come out as glossy.
Let us know in the comments below if there’s anything else you would add for what to do in booking a last minute venue.