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Heather Jones

Keeping Your Event Venue Picture-Perfect During Busy Season

It isn't easy, but keeping your event venue ship-shape in high season will keep bookings on an even keel.

When you manage an event venue, busy season can feel like the perfect storm.

Your top priority is the execution of events that might have been in the planning stages for over a year. Suddenly, every client expects your full attention, every detail is a priority, and every vendor is top-of-mind. Meanwhile, your sales responsibilities continue to ensure future bookings.

As a result, you need your property to be in picture-perfect shape 24/7, but with stretched resources and constant activity, how can you keep up? Here’s how:

1. Implement processes that automate turnover.
Saving time and money is never more important than during your peak season. We help save both at Wente by providing the next event diagram and re-set instructions to our team pre-shift.

Often there are small things such as folding napkins, counting out silverware or glasses, unwrapping candles and the like that can be done during lulls in one event to help prepare for the next. If your staff can reliably access the information, they can take every opportunity to put the pieces into place that will expedite setup for the event that follows.

By the same token, a closing checklist helps ensure that all the tasks for the current event are complete.

Remind staff that between events, prospective clients will be walking through the facility. Your space needs to be in peak condition. A leftover wineglass or trash on the ground could make or break the booking. Always keep the venue show-ready and prioritize thorough cleanup after each event.

2. Designate NCO days.
Designate days once a week or once per month as NCO Days: Neat, Clean and Orderly. Dedicate everyone’s efforts to reorganizing inventory and deep-cleaning the entire venue, preferably outside of client view. Remove equipment that is not up to standard or in need of repair, and make sure that your site is client-ready by the end of the day.

3. Get vendors on board.
As important as it is for you to have your venue ready for vendors, it is equally as essential that vendors do their part to maintain your space. 

Reach out to those who are providing services at your site for the first time early in the season. Introduce yourself and invite them to visit your property for a tour. Prepare a Vendor Code of Ethics that includes the do’s and don’ts of working at your facility, and provide complete information about load-in, load-out, available power and standard equipment that you might or might not provide such as tables, base linens and the like.

In your guest contract, include a requirement that all vendors must have liability insurance, and set up a file on your network where you can store copies of policies so they are easy to access if needed.

4. Prepare properly for off-site events.
Sometimes your work will take you off site. When you are a vendor guest at another facility, treat the venue as you would if you were visiting your grandmother’s home.

Make sure your team is briefed on all rules before arrival. Bring extra mats and cloths to protect floors and counters so you can avoid causing wear and tear. If the venue or site that you are working in doesn’t have a thorough protocol including rules, regulations and specs, connect facility management in advance to ask your questions and get the answers you need. 

Maximize your time and effort during busy season by implementing and following processes designed to keep your venue looking picture-perfect at all times. The extra work will pay off in happy clients and future bookings.

Heather Jones is the catering sales director for Wente Vineyards, a family-owned property in Livermore, Calif., that is home to a winery and vineyards, a golf course, restaurant, and a range of unique facilities for hosting weddings and other special events.

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