If you own a business building, you may be missing out on some extra cash flow. What’s more, you could have a unique opportunity to position yourself and your business as a leader in your community.
Even if there’s already plenty of other spaces available, members of your community will always need a versatile space to host a variety of events. However, not all spaces are created equal, especially when it comes to rental event spaces.
Apartment clubhouses, cafes, churches, community centers, hotels, restaurants, and sports arenas are among some of the most feasible businesses for event rental. Before you jump into the venue rental sphere, however, you should keep these requirements in mind:
- Providing equipment and decor rental
- Gaining event liability insurance
- Looking into legal considerations — like maximum capacity and liquor licensure
- Complying with ADA standards
- Providing parking availability
- Hiring staff and cleanup assistance
While there are supplemental steps to renting out your building, the benefits are often worth it. Securing several streams of income provides greater financial stability. It’s a relatively painless, passive source of revenue — as long as the marketing plan is set up for success.
1. Add Your Venue To Online Directories
The first step in marketing your space is making your space available online. The first place most event planners look for venues is online. Directories exist — such as EventUp or VENUES by tripleseat — that allow searchers to hone in on their exact needs. There are even niche directories if you are focused on a certain type of event, like Wedding Spot for wedding venues. Positioning your space on the right directories gives you that first impression that you need to secure rentals. To do so effectively:
- Define your target audience
- Describe pain points you solve
- Name and describe your venue accordingly
- Design an informative website
- Research popular directories
- Sign up
Typically, venue directories will have a spot on their website to sign up to be listed. Use this space on the site to discuss your rental space. Include key information like capacity and types of events that can be held there. A well-designed website bolsters your claims and lets potential renters get an inside look at your venue to make their ultimate decision.
2. Offer Virtual Event Options
In this new digital era, certain technological tools, such as livestreams, can serve multiple purposes in marketing to new audiences and solving any pain points in hosting events.
Pain points like health concerns, long-distance guests, and ease of attendance may cause you to turn to live streams to host virtual events or as a tool for those even who can’t make it in person.
Some events that bode well in a virtual environment include:
- Live church services
- Funeral live streams and videography
- Live-streamed government meetings
- Virtual weddings
- Online baby showers
The list is endless because there are a whole host of events — professional, casual, and in-between — that need to be live-streamed to guests that can’t make it. Make sure your event space is prepped and ready for making these virtual events run smoothly. To do so:
- Set up proper lighting for video
- Provide camera equipment
- Invest in quality audio equipment for live streaming
- Professionally stage the video background
- Have someone operate the equipment and stream
Having the event space set up for video-streaming success gives you a leg up on the competition. Again, people appreciate when tasks are made easier for them. This add-on could go the extra mile while bringing in more clientele and profits for your venue.
3. Be Transparent About Pricing
Providing a place for online searchers to land is great. Even better, give them an honest breakdown of what they can expect when booking your venue. This includes pricing which, of course, you have to predetermine. When drawing up a pricing structure, consider:
- Pricing of other similar venues in your area
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Deposit requirements
- All-inclusive add-ons
- Hourly, daily, or flat fees
- Pricing psychology
Knowledge about how humans react to pricing structure gives you a leg up on the competition. It may be intimidating to set pricing at first. If you price higher than competitors, you may miss out on clients, and if you price lower, you might not make as big of a profit. However, this doesn’t mean you should give in to the temptation to hide your venue costs.
Instead, make your pricing readily available. If you choose to go lower than close competitors, make sure you are making up for lost revenue by boosting the client experience. Offer extra goods and services, like decor rental or concession sales.
Bundle packages, like fixed monthly fees for unlimited rentals or food and drink deals, offset any sales or decreases in rental fees. They also provide a stellar renter experience that entices repeat renters.
4. Make It Easy To Contact You
Your venue can capitalize on the innate human preference for instant gratification. Regardless of the pricing structure you choose, it’s always worth it to make the purchase process easier. Contact information should be readily available on your website, your listings, and social media platforms.
Even better, give visitors to your site an easy-to-fill-out contact form that is:
- Brief and simple — Keep the extra context for your “Contact Us” page
- Clear in its purpose — Make sure users know why they would reach out
- Embedded on your site — This is often a built-in feature of website creators
- Mobile-friendly — This way, potential clients can reach out on the go
- Indicative of other ways to reach out — Link to socials, email addresses, phone numbers, and more
Depending on the potential customer, every person will have different contact preferences. Make sure that you have every option available, and that you monitor these avenues for quick and efficient responses.
5. Leverage Creative Media
With the plethora of media outlets that are available at the click of a button, it would be a shame not to take advantage of them for your space. If you have the time and the resources, look into as many of these platforms as possible to increase visibility for your venue:
- Airbnb — Typically thought of as a vacation rental site, Airbnb serves as a place to post unique venues, as well
- Vrbo — Similar to Airbnb, this site has mostly vacation rentals and some standout for special events
- Tripadvisor — With a variety of different travel-centric things to do, Tripadvisor serves as a hub that your venue should be on to garner traffic and reviews
- Yelp — Also not venue-exclusive, Yelp is still a place where user-generated content is king. Make a page here and see photos, reviews, and potential leads roll in
- Social media — Depending on the platform, social media can hone in on the best aspects of your venue. Nearly 88% of event holders utilize social media, with Facebook as the most popular platform. You can also utilize pay-per-click (PPC) ads for additional revenue
You may also want to experiment with the type of content that you create. Some unique ideas for marketing a venue include:
- Virtual walkthrough maps
- Niche blog posts
- Short-form videos set to trending music
- Live streams of event prep or the actual event with the host’s permission/involvement
Whatever form of media you choose, just make sure that you are putting out the highest quality content possible, and tag brands or people when it’s advantageous to do so.
6. Build Your Network
Once you have an established online presence, it’s well worth your time to expand your network. Your venue will likely receive organic traffic, but you may also reach out to specific individuals or organizations. This could be great for potential leads, sales, or collaborating with potential vendors.
Having a more active networking strategy may involve these steps:
- Messaging corporate event planners on LinkedIn
- Reaching out to influencers on Instagram
- Contacting vendors for collaborations
- Talking to friends, family, and professional contacts about your new venue
Of course, this will vary depending on the type of clients you have in mind for your venue. Find out where your target audience exists, and introduce your venue in these spaces.
Keep it as organic and natural as possible, and avoid mass messaging and cold calls. There are so many ways to contact people online and in-person that it may be overwhelming — just start with what you know.
7. Build a Loyal Client Base
Keep tabs on how your venue is performing. Event success is determined by the satisfaction of attendees. This includes not only your clients but their guests. It involves more than just the space — it’s about the ease of scheduling, rapport with staff, fulfillment of client needs, clean-up time, communication, and more. Getting every detail just right will allow your venue to be the talk of the town.
Encourage clients to give feedback on their experiences. Keep in touch with them, and provide incentives to tell their friends about your venue. This can be in the form of event vouchers, merch, or even a client feature on social platforms. A loyal client base will provide recurring revenue when they keep coming back to host events year after year.
Renting out your business space is a great way to gain extra income. With the tools you need to succeed in place, your venue can be up and running, bringing in profits and leveling up your company’s position in the community. Get creative, treat your venue renters like true customers, and most importantly, have fun with your new venue venture.