Your venue is perfect. It has the location, the space, the amenities. But you have a lot of competition. Most cities are packed with awe-inspiring spaces, which means that there’s no shortage of venue options for planners and clients. So what’s the trick to marketing a venue so that the right people find it?
When it comes to event venue marketing, there are a few things that you can do.
Discover 7 Creative Ways to Improve Your Event Venue Online Marketing
1. Promote the area around your event venue for better marketing results
The things outside a venue can help it stand out. For example, your proximity to major tourist sites, central business areas, and major transport centers can attract event planners. In your marketing, highlight how these attractions around your venue can add value for attendees.
What kinds of local attractions and amenities make a difference? It’s worth noting these things when marketing a venue:
- Courtyard spaces
- Waterfront access
- Grassy areas or parks
- Food districts
- Food truck hotspots
- Tourist sites
- Train stations
- Business districts
The key is to make it clear what amenities are outside your venue, and how they can benefit people who rent your space.
2. Set up a virtual tour to market your event venue
Most planners want to see a space before booking it, but it’s not always possible for an event planner to come on site. In those cases, a virtual tour can help potential clients feel engaged with your event space and learn about what it offers.
As a marketing tool, a virtual tour lets planners experience your site without even setting foot in the building. The right venue marketing software will let you include all interactive photos and videos on your site, so planners can visualize their event in your space.
Here’s one example: Harvard College’s campus tour uses a great mix of text, photo, and video to provide helpful information. Even better, it gives viewers control over the experience. Alternatively, you can also use 360° technology, which provides a less structured tour, but gives event planners more freedom to “look around.”
3. Photograph people, not just the space to drive more marketing leads for your event venue
Photographs are the easiest way to market off your event venue. Have you ever noticed that most marketing photos for venues have no people in them?
Showing people in your space helps planners understand what their real-life event could look like in your venue.
Try taking your promotional photos while an event is happening. Or, you could even stage an event for a photo shoot. Decorate the space to showcase its best features, move the furniture around, and ask or hire people to come in and mingle. This will liven up the photos and can help event planners make that crucial link between their event and your space.
You might be seeing increased competition from the new venue down the street. Or you have state of the art venue amenities and are wondering how to book more events business in the near future. Whatever the case may be for you and your venue, we have the low-down on how to market a venue. Here are our four lessons (and actions you can take) on brand awareness for venues.
4. Get social with your followers and promote your venue
Event venues have a huge advantage in social media content creation as they always have something new and different to promote and talk about. Use your current events, concerts, and shows to your advantage. Ensure an engaging social presence is a high-priority in your venue marketing efforts and create social assets that help you tell your story. Don’t skimp on high-resolution videos and pictures, but make sure a joint promotion plan is OK with your clients before you start rolling. Always ask about their sharing boundaries.
Start with some before event planning information and pictures to show how what your venue has to offer. Then get some “boots on the ground” and capture the event in real time. Use the organizer’s event hashtags and create engaging and compelling posts. Show your followers how amazing their event could be if they book your space.
5. Devise a digital advertising plan for your venue
In today’s digital world the use of PPC and display advertising can never be underestimated.
One of the first places planners turn to find a venue for their event is via the web. Make sure you know how to effectively target your audience in the digital realm. This could include but isn’t limited to search engines such as Google and Bing or social media outlets.
As a venue manager, you need to budget appropriately to compete with other venue spaces in your area. Knowing your target audience can help you zero in on unique keywords to optimize for that can help you stand out from the competition. For example, your city may be full of event venues. However, your venue is the only one with a rooftop.
Use display ads to entice planners who are actively looking for venues with rooftop space. Run promotions and test different ways to encourage click-throughs. It could be photos of the space, sweeping video walkthroughs, or even the past clients who have hosted an event there. Start with a small budget, test what sticks, then repeat it.
6. Network with the events community to drive business to your venue
Not everyone was born with the natural skill of networking. But don’t worry: it’s a skill that can be learned for both introverts and extroverts. For venue professionals, just know that it’s definitely part of the job description.
When you’re thinking of how to market a venue, think of networking as a means of generating word-of-mouth marketing. Show off the advantages of your venue that address a pain point that planners often experience to pique their interest. During a hectic event, it also helps to simply listen to the pain points planners to understand what they’re looking for in a venue then follow up if your venue can solve their issues.
Wonder where you can get networking? Planner-based associations such as the ILEA, PCMA, or MPI are great places to meet planners.
7. Go rogue with venue guerilla marketing techniques (offline!)
If your venue is already filled with customers (for example, if you’re a restaurant, brewery, or theater), you’re in a prime position to take advantage of guerilla marketing. In-person marketing can be extremely effective, and venues are the perfect place to implement these type of marketing plans. Guerilla marketing takes an innovative approach to marketing, executed in-person or digitally as an experience for the target buyer.
In venue spaces, there are a lot of non-client/customer controlled spaces that are available to add a promotional touch. What if you posted up branding in areas such as bathrooms, lobbies, sidewalks, or foyers?