September 20, 2018

5 Tips When Booking Unique Venues

MTG, as venue managers to the US National Arboretum, The Congressional Club, and 1615@Dupont, knows first-hand the questions, challenges, and struggles of holding an event at unique venues. We put together 5 Tips to help planners when booking these “out-of-the-box” venues.

1. Compare Apples to Apples (or at the US National Arboretum we say Dogwood to Dogwood)

When sourcing unique venues calculate the entire cost as best as possible. Unique venues will often provide just the rental fee; ask additional information such as fee security and deposit. Unique venues have rental cost (versus minimums F&B only at hotels) and at first glance may seem out of budget. Compare the full and final costs when comparing venues.  F&B minimums can be misleading and not reflect the full amount you will spend.

2. Toto we are not in…… a Hotel Ballroom anymore!

Unique venues sell attendee experience versus event space, be prepared that planning will not be turnkey. Needing to hire serval different vendors often require planners to be more hands on. Remember to rely on the venue event manager; they know all the nuances for the space.

3. Don’t fit a square peg in a round hole

Don’t be afraid to rethink your event flow, even if you had seated dinner or awards ceremony for many years. Sit down dinners at the arboretum may be best changed to reception dinner to allow attendees more time to soak in the beauty of the surrounding. Attendees will be enjoying their experience they won’t miss the salad course. Also embrace changes that allow you to reduce cost in other areas to afford the site rental!

4. Plan Up!

Don’t assume your stakeholders (boss, executive, clients) will see your new event vision. Guests will want more time allotted to enjoy unique venues. Help your “boss” understand the connection between unique venues, event structure and guest experience; these pieces aligned are key for a unforgettable event.

5. Get All the Feels; Your Planning an Experience!

Be inspired! Be Creative! Be Bold…embrace you decision to offer something new and different to your group. You are offering an amazing experience for your attendees!