There are many factors that play into a client’s purchasing decision. One that is particularly influential is a venue’s overall reputation—when a venue is well-known and respected in a market, it’s a good sign that they’ve been in business for a while and care about doing things the right way. However, not every venue reaches these heights.
Those that do can often attribute their credible status to the high standards that they set for their internal team and the vendors that they partner with for events. The best venues are those that take themselves seriously and, as a result, don’t make any moves that could put their clients and their brand reputation at risk.
High standards manifest in many forms. From creating standard operating procedures for staff to ensuring contracts are valid and clearly detail onsite regulations, venues must ensure all of their boxes are checked to guarantee a safe and seamless experience for their clients.
There are, however, some key steps to elevating your standards and securing your role in the market as a renowned luxury venue.
Safeguard your clients’ events with insurance.
Insurance always seems to be a tricky subject to broach with people, as some people are quick to take the safe route whereas others don’t mind taking a risk. While it’s every client’s right to decide whether they want to insure their event, it’s also a venue’s right to require insurance and refuse service without a COI (certificate of insurance).
The truth of the matter is that bad things can happen at events, even if all of the regulations have been followed. Nine times out of ten, they don’t because an established venue already has the right practices in place. When a property is insured, the policy requires certain rules and regulations, like fire codes, which helps to keep the venue safe.
But, it’s not just about the property. Top-notch venues may consider elevating their standards to work only with vendors who have their own insurance; otherwise, it could risk the venue’s insurance policy and leave them at a loss.
Explaining this to clients can sometimes be a delicate matter, as some clients simply don’t understand the value of event insurance. In that case, it becomes an event pro’s responsibility to educate their clients on the importance of managing risk when planning an event with many moving pieces. Venues can state on their website that they are licensed and insured, but it may not be a selling point if prospects don’t get the point of it.
When speaking with potential clients, provide examples of what insurance will protect them from. Maybe a photographer’s light falls onto grandma’s head, or perhaps somebody trips over a DJ’s cord and breaks their leg because it wasn’t taped down well enough. If the venue and vendors don’t have insurance, the couple and their guests are left spending money on medical bills or on a lawsuit against their event team.
Insurance covers non-injury situations, too. Imagine if a photographer’s camera is stolen (memory card and all) after the wedding and there are no photos. What happens if a vendor doesn’t show up at all? The clients have the right to receive their money back, and insurance will make that process simple for all parties involved.
Accept that higher standards limits your clientele.
When you elevate your venue standards, you will inevitably rule out certain types of clients that are no longer a fit for your business. For example, if your insurance policy bans the use of sparklers, you have to accept that it could be a deal breaker for some people. If you decide to set limits on alcohol consumption, you won’t attract the people who want a free-for-all venue with no boundaries. We’ve lost clients who decided that purchasing event insurance wasn’t worth it to them, even though it protects their whole investment.
Understand that losing this kind of business is not a bad thing. If anything, it’s pushing you closer to the clients that will appreciate your venue for all it has to offer. They recognize that your high standards are for their benefit and value the luxury experience provided. You could end up doing less weddings as a result, but it may mean charging more per wedding and still increasing your bottom line.
With that, you’ll also need to adjust your way of working with people. Many of the people who accept high standards and seek a luxury experience come with higher expectations and a sense of entitlement that you have to be able to manage and work with as a venue.
At the end of the day, people will not take you seriously until you take yourself seriously. When you take your standards up a notch and draw firm boundaries, you will earn the respect of the clientele you want and deserve while lifting your brand reputation.