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Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Servcies

The Key to Building Strong Venue-Vendor Relationships

A great venue-vendor relationship doesn't just happen--here are secrets to making it work.

There are few things more sacred in the event industry than the relationship between a venue and its preferred partners. Those who make it onto the coveted list tend to be professionals who have worked on-site regularly and have built a strong connection with the venue itself.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that inclusion on a preferred vendors list is worth its weight in gold--the number of referrals that can come from a venue is remarkable, so it’s certainly something you should set your sights on.

On the flip side, a solid list of reliable professionals is an asset for any venue and can be a selling point for your property. When couples see that you have a select number of trusted individuals, it will add credibility to your brand, along with all of your creative partners.

Sounds like a win-win situation, right? Well, it is--however, it’s not always as simple as agreeing to help each other out. Building and maintaining strong relationships between a venue and vendors is a long-term process, but well worth the investment. Once the bond has been formed, both parties can help bring in business for the other, and you’ll find that you get to work alongside each other to create beautiful, cohesive events for all.

Regardless of what side you fall on, there are many ways to nurture the venue-vendor relationship. Here are some ideas for both sides.

If you’re a venue…

When you own a venue, transparency is key. It’s important to communicate all of the property’s rules and regulations to the whole event team prior to the event in order to set expectations.

For example, if there are certain spots that are specifically for drop-offs or if there’s a plot of land that shouldn’t be walked on, make these guidelines known! Create a timeline for the event and disseminate to the whole team--this will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

As the venue, it’s also your responsibility to make things as easy and smooth as possible for the event team. Set aside ample space to park their cars or vans, and be sure that everyone is fed at the same time that the couple eats so that not a moment is missed. A hot meal always scores bonus points with us!

If you’re a vendor…

When you’re working an event, the best way to build a strong relationship with a venue is simply to be respectful of their property. Remember--you are a visitor at their site, so it’s imperative that you follow any rules or regulations that are set. That means don’t show up unannounced the week before a wedding and don’t set up your gear in any given place. Communicate with the venue and get an understanding of what your role is on-site.

When it comes down to it, remember that you are all on the same team with a shared goal--to provide your client with the very best experience! As long as you are professional and open with communication, you will not only put on an extraordinary event, but chances are that you’ll find yourself getting in close with the rest of the team. You are a representation of your brand, so remember that you should be acting as such!

Kevin Dennis is the owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, Calif., and editor of WeddingIQ. He is the current chapter president for Silicon Valley NACE, and the immediate past national president for WIPA.


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