Selling a venue is all about the ‘wow’ factor. Potential clients need to be able to envision their special day with all the bells and whistles. To ensure that, you need to pull out all of the stops when giving property tours. Prospects should arrive and depart with the same level of wonder, certain that they’ve found the perfect venue for their celebration.
Now, it’s simple enough when the space is already decked out for an upcoming event. Filling the space with furniture and décor can certainly help with visualization. But, what else can you do to send the message that your venue is the right place for them? How can you knock your prospects off their feet?
Here are a few surefire tips to dress up your venue and charm every interested party that walks through the door.
Turn on all the lights.
This is an easy one! Prospective clients love to pull up and see all of the lights on, as if they have been expected. Bistro lights, chandeliers, outdoor lamps—turn them all on before anyone arrives! You aren’t just turning the lights on for the day, but for them. Even if you don’t have any tables or chairs set out, make a point to use lighting to create an atmosphere that demonstrates the look and feel of the space.
Keep it clean.
Cleanliness is of utmost priority, as it speaks to the experience a client will have on their event day. This is particularly important for outdoor venues, which are more exposed to the elements. Nobody wants a grocery bag blowing across the aisle while saying their vows! While you might not be able to prevent every errant piece of trash, you can—and must—be intentional about walking the grounds and ensuring everything is in order. Arrive at least 30 minutes to an hour early to do a full walkthrough and tidy along the way. Pick up trash, clear out spider webs, straighten fixtures around the grounds—leave no detail unchecked.
Make use of rental equipment.
Selling events is a highly visual transaction. People need to be able to see the space and envision their celebration taking place on the grounds. Help them get a clearer vision by setting up rental equipment that makes the venue look as if it were in action. It doesn’t need to be a whole lot—a few barn tables and ceremony chairs can go a long way in making a space feel event-ready. If you don’t have a rental inventory onsite, consider reaching out to local rental companies to discuss an equipment loan. They are generally willing to help as long as you display their company information, so you can easily build a mutually beneficial relationship that supports both parties.
Go the extra mile.
Beyond rentals, you may consider sprucing up the space with a few special details that add to the “event-ready” feel of the venue. Demonstrate your attention to detail with simple décor elements, like some freshly clipped greenery laid on tables or some bold blooms adorning the walkways. Additionally, consider the prospect’s onsite experience. I always like to have drinks and refreshments in my office so I can provide water, coffee, and snacks to visitors while we discuss the details of their event. Client comfort is key.
Prepare materials for them.
A lot of questions can arise when touring a venue, so I recommend preparing a sales package that provides each prospect with information about booking pricing, and other FAQs. We also make a point to provide interested visitors with photos from other events that showcase the many ways our venue has been transformed to meet different clients’ needs. In addition to having these photos on an iPad as we walk through the space, we also have albums and slideshows readily available in our office space. Accessibility to resources is key, so make it as easy as possible for them to find what they need.
Create a relaxing environment.
Venue tours don’t take very long, but prospective clients often want to spend more time onsite to observe the grounds and discuss their decision. Thus, a venue should always have a comfortable seating area that is open for visitors to sit and enjoy themselves. In some cases, people travel hours to visit a property, so it’s not a great experience if they’re turned around after 30 minutes with no time to ask questions and soak it all in. They are about to embark on a major journey and they have to make a big decision—let them mull it over and be present to answer questions while they talk it through.
Dress the part.
In the eyes of a prospect, the person giving a tour is as much a part of the venue as the gardens, the ballroom, or the pergola. Chipped nail polish, wet or unbrushed hair, and messy clothing give off an unrefined feeling that can impact the way a person sees the space. Remember: You aren’t just selling square footage; you are selling an experience. You are asking people to spend quite a bit of money for a luxurious celebration. How you present yourself needs to fit into the picture. That doesn’t mean you have to go the full nine yards with pearls and designer shoes (although you certainly can!). Just make sure that you and your wardrobe are clean, professional, and put together.
Of course, all of these steps to making a venue tour-ready also goes for anyone on the sales team who gives tours. By keeping your venue clean and prepared for visitors, you can create a consistent experience for prospective clients that push them towards the big closing decision.