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The event space rentals market is incredibly competitive. More and more locations seem to pop up all the time, each with their own unique touches. This makes the job of a venue manager increasingly difficult. How do you keep your venue top of minds for event planners without spending significant amounts of money to constantly “upgrade” your space?

I sat down with Leahann Miller, a veteran venue manager from New York City. She’s currently the acting Events and Catering Manager at Barney’s New York, responsible for managing all in-store events. She shared some advice from her hard-earned experience about how to make your venue stand out, especially in the busy holiday season.

Love Your Marketing

Like many lines of work, success comes down to marketing and relationships. Start by sending weekly email blasts to potential clients. In them, work to showcase the venue in a variety of ways that it can be used for. Don’t assume potential clients can envision how to make their events work in your space. Paint a picture of how your space is ideal for meetings, parties, fundraisers, fashion shows, etc. Sometimes, when a client sees the venue used for one type of event, it becomes difficult to imagine another type in it. It’s your job to knock down this preconception.

Cultivate Relationships

Work to build strong relationships with the people who do inquire. While increasing overall volume is great and certainly important, it’s only one part of the business. Most clients don’t rent venues every single day. A company may only have one or two events per year! You want your venue to be a client’s first thought every time. If you don’t build a lasting relationship with someone, the lifetime value and ROI decrease significantly.

Maximize the Site Visit

When you do receive an inquiry, invite them to the site visit. It is one of the most important steps in the sales and booking process, often the make or break moment when a client makes a decision. If at all possible, try hosting clients just before the beginning of another event. It really helps to see the space with an event in progress. The environment is much more akin to how the client’s event will feel, as opposed to touring an empty box. This is also an opportunity to do a lot of hand-holding and make sure all the client’s needs are being met. Especially in a fast-paced, competitive environment. You may only get the chance to meet with clients once or twice in person before they make their decisions. You don’t want them leaving your space with doubt or uncertainty still kicking around their heads.

Come back tomorrow for part 2 with Leahann, as she shares the inside scoop on what event planners need to do to make venue managers love them! Now go forth and book up the holidays!


Venue managers, what do you do to help seal the deal in booking your events? Share your tips in the comments below.