When it comes to planning an event, the venue one of the most expensive and important pieces of the puzzle. It sets the tone for the entire event, so you shouldn’t hesitate to put a lot of focus on venue, and if you are on a budget or want to get creative, there are some ways to make your venue more affordable. One of those ways is to identify the peak hours of a space and determine when others will be fighting to get their date on the calendar, and then do the complete opposite of the crowd.
How Spaces deal with off-peak hours
It is well documented that spaces are known to offer lower rates to help drive business in off-peak hours. Andre LeBlanc, President and Cofounder at FoodTender.com, offers that advice to restaurants looking to better deal with filling their establishment throughout the day.
“Identify any local clubs or organizations that may meet on your slow days and offer them a discount to entice them to dine with you,” he writes. “You could also target local businesses for private parties during your off-peak hours, or provide a local office with catering services if you can handle it.”
Venues such as restaurants may be losing money and looking for creative ways to get their space filled. Additionally, should your budget be below their minimum, they may be able to work with you should there be nothing scheduled that night. As you work hard to manage expectations when planning an event, looking into booking with a venue during off-peak hours could help you save on that piece of your budget so you can re-allocate money to other things such as food or entertainment.
In 2012, CNBC reported that restaurants sometimes charge more for their regular menu during peak hours. Imagine what this means for events scheduled at those times.
Identifying peak hours (and working around them)
Many peak hours at venues are easy to identify. Restaurants will be busy during lunch, happy hour and dinner hours; wedding venues will be busiest on Saturdays; hotels often have events and an influx of guests on the weekends.
We have shared in the past the strategy of booking what is traditionally a wedding venue to save money for a corporate event, which follows a similar idea. Using creativity is the best way to make sure your event takes place on off-peak hours. For example, if you want to host a Happy Hour for your team, you can shorten up the day and book it for 2 p.m. when the bar is off-peak, vs. 4 p.m.-6 p.m. when everyone starts pouring in.
If you are on a short deadline—which you probably are as it’s the nature of the industry—venues may be able to accommodate this so you can book quickly and plan efficiently.
It is also good to consider the events taking place in your city—in Austin we have SXSW, ACL and more, and turn to a venue outside of the city limits that may be looking to fill space at those times. Doing your research and considering the seasons and calendar—winter months are more affordable for weddings, for example—can go a long way when it comes to your budget.
When searching for venues, taking advantage of the categories in Spacesift can help you narrow down peak-times. For example, event spaces will be more affordable to book during the week and bars are better to book early evenings. This will help you simplify your search and make it even easier to book your venue at the best possible time for your event.