10 Things Venues Hate About Event Planners

Skift Take

Here are 10 things that we often do as #eventprofs that drive our venue partners super-crazy.

We #eventprofs are a little blind when it comes to noticing our mistakes. We see the mistakes that others make but we’re not so perceptive when it comes to our own. And while they may not say it to our face, rest assured our venue partners are sharing the imperfect picture they see with each other. And they’re not mincing their words! Are you guilty of any of these things?

1. You refuse to share the name of client


You call the venue for dates, rates and space, put the venue on hold but then refuse to share the name of the actual client stating that it’s “confidential”. OK, so sometimes the client name actually is confidential but most times it’s not and your silence is driven by a lack of trust on your part or a desire for control. Venues hate this as it puts them in a hugely difficult situation if another #eventprof calls about the same dates for the same client and they don’t know that it’s the same enquiry.

2. You refuse to share how many other venues you’re holding

We all like to know where we stand on business we bid on and venues are no exception. Often, however, you’re over coy with your venue-partners. You keep them in the dark on the actual scope of the enquiries you are making and refuse to share with them anything about the competitive landscape. This leaves them completely in the dark and affords them no opportunity to position the venue vis-à-vis potential competitors or, indeed, to understand their relative chance of winning the business.

3. You have made 10 enquiries without confirming one single piece of business

You’re a regular in terms of enquiries. And, with each enquiry, you beat the venue to a pulp on rates highlighting all the possible business that you could bring. Only problem is you haven’t confirmed anything in the past 12 months despite all the noise you make. Neither have you been able to provide any insights at all into why business is not confirming. In fact, if you bother to return the venue’s call at all it’s just to say “another (unspecified) venue was selected”. Grrr!

4. You never acknowledge receipt of the RFP response

So you lay it out very clearly for the venue from the get-go. You need a super-quick turn around. A full proposal, all bells and whistles, in 48 hours if the venue wants to be considered. No exceptions. You need all Tues – Thurs configurations in May and, yes, you also need all the breakout rooms. And a full costing with menus included. The sales director of the venue puts other tasks aside, stays late to finish the proposal and has it in your inbox in good time. Except that’s where it stays. You don’t open it. You don’t acknowledge it. It just sits there until the middle of the next week when you finally open it, having, of course, ignored the calls and mails from the venue!

5. Your brief has no details

Besides not supplying the name of the client, you’re also light on your overall event spec. “A Friday in October. Approx 600 people. DDR” might make perfect sense to you but not, unfortunately to the venue. Venues are comprised of highly skilled people but they are not mind readers or mentalists. If the venue supplied an equally cavalier response to your “RFP” you’d be appalled at the lack of professional respect. Well , that’s how they feel about you now!

6. You’re always looking for discounts


Is it possible that every single one of your clients is a penniless NGO, a vagabond association or an impecunious corporate with not a pot to piss in? That’s how it seems to the venue as you’ve never failed to make it crystal clear at all times that budget is an issue and that the venue will only be considered if the pencil has been sharpened to within an inch of its life. You need a heavy discount to get this over the line but you also need your commission too and, by the way, can the venue also throw in a couple of flip charts free of charge?

7. You have totally unrealistic expectations about response times

You finally get around to calling the venue having spent the past two days on the other parts of the event brief. It’s 2pm on Friday and you need to get back to the client by COB. Rather than email, you decide to call the venue and get your dates, rates and space over the phone. “I just need availability and rates – I’ll take the rest of the information from your previous RFP” you say, explaining that the need to get back to the client in a couple of hours. But the venue has a “provisional” in there and the sales executive dealing with the client has left for the weekend. So why didn’t you contact the venue 2 days ago when the RFP with a tight turnaround came in?

8. You don’t read the RFP response and then call with silly questions

“Hi Sinead, it’s John. Quick question: what’s the capacity of the Hogan Suite cabaret style?”
“Ah John – 400. There’s a full CAD in our RFP response.”
“Sinead, John again. Can you do a bowl food supper in the museum?”
“Yes, John. There are full details and pictures in the RFP document”
“Hi – another quick one. Are there menus in your RFP response?”
“Yes, John. They’re all there – do you want me to send it to you again?”

Get the picture?

9. You never pay on time or follow the terms of the contract

The venue contract is quite clear regarding deposit, other advance payments, confirmation of attendee numbers and so on. However, you don’t think this applies to you at all. You become irate when the money guys at the venue call you regarding non-receipt of the deposit. How dare they! Do they not know who you are? You’ve been doing business with the venue for years and are now being pursued for a measly deposit payment. And you’re bringing a $50,000 piece of business to the venue (but the venue rental piece is just $7500!)

10. You treat them like vendors not partners

They’re the 9 things that drive venues crazy but all would be almost forgiven if it weren’t for the 10th thing – you treat your venue-partner like a vendor. Your attitude, approach, tone of voice all characterize the venue and its staff as no more than a commoditized, transactional link in the supply chain. You don’t acknowledge the venue and its people as #eventprofs like you, strategic partners capable of collaborating with you in the delivery of an awesome event.

And that, ultimately, is why the venue hates you!

In Conclusion

Venues are an indispensable part of the event landscape. They are staffed by #eventprofs, like us, who approach events strategically, who want to create solutions for clients, not only bookings on their systems. They are vital members of the team playing a unique and distinctive role and without whose collaboration we cannot ever hope to win the game and, ultimately, demonstrate the awesome power of events in corporations, associations, NGOs and society at large.