How To Compare Venues for Your Big Event
By Ashely Davidson, The Legends Golf Club
Your daughter just announced her engagement. Or your company wants to celebrate some big news. Or maybe your nonprofit organization is planing a fundraising event.
And YOU have been asked to throw THE big party. Sounds exciting, right?
It’s ok to have a moment of panic. Thoughts of food, entertainment, decorations and program quickly fill your head.
Take a deep breath. There is a process to ease your mind. A good plan will make your event successful. And every good plan starts with the venue.
Your first instinct might be to pick up the phone and begin calling places – without considering your goals. If you make a list of your event needs, you can save time and money.
Here are some tips:
Know Your Date and Time
Many facilities have different pricing based on the day of the week and the time of the event. Decide with family, friends, committee members or co-workers before you ever make the call if you are flexible on a date or a month.
If you know that you can only choose a specific date, it will make it a simple question to see if the date is available. If you are more driven by price, you can ask a facility what is the most cost effective day or time to host your event. Many times, you may find there are specials during slow times that venues would like to book.
Know Your Budget
Avoid sending an email or calling to ask about a venue’s pricing. If you know that you are only willing to spend a certain amount on the venue or the food, share your budget with the venue representative. Be specific on total and/or cost per person. The venue representative will let you know if they can accommodate that price range. This will save a lot of time for everyone.
Comparing bids and pricing information can be overwhelming. Facilities use different pricing formats and it can become very difficult to decipher. If you go into the email, phone call or meeting with specifics needs, it will make it much easier to compare. If you change those specifics later, it isn’t a problem – at least it puts all venue’s on a level playing field.
Ask Them to Compare Chicken to Chicken
Know your meal budget, then decide what you want priced. This doesn’t mean you have to go with that meal, but ask each venue to quote a meal with the same menu – like chicken. Many times, one venue will quote a price for barbecue while the other quotes chicken. That makes comparison a challenge.
Make Your Request for Quote Consistent
If your budget is more limited, ask the facility to price its lowest cost menu item. For example, if you are planning a wedding, here is a way to present your request for a quote:
Saturday October 2018
Linens and disposable china
2 entrée buffet with chicken and pork
Package bar pricing
My budget is $45 per person or $9,000
Ask for a Preliminary Invoice
Unfortunately, party planners sometimes are surprised with the final invoice. Ask to see a sample of what the final billing will look like. This should have all things spelled out so that there are no surprises.
Sales tax and service fees should be represented. Some venues that appear less expensive charge a higher service fee. Everyone has to charge that service fee but there is nothing wrong with asking how many staff members will be there and what that percent will be.
The event staff should value your time and appreciate your budget.