Got a dancefloor gathering dust? A conference space collecting cobwebs? It might be time to rethink how you promote your venue as an event destination. Unless you have a venue with sweeping views of Sydney Harbour or a stadium-crowd capacity, packing the house with events is something you’ll have to work at.
Whether you have a space you want to hire out, or a venue that’s not attracting enough talent, here are 15 simple but effective venue promotion ideas.
Before you get started: Define your audience
Before you start any venue promotion, you will need to define who you are looking to attract. Your venue has two distinct audiences:
- The clientele your venue attracts
- The people who book event spaces (i.e. conference organisers, marketing managers, tour promoters)
You can see firsthand who comes through the doors at your venue, so defining the first audience is easy. To define the second audience, think about the kind of events your customers might attend.
Take for example, a venue that has a reputation as a fun-loving, grungy dive bar with a small stage. The clientele here is a ‘young, hipster crowd’. They already attract tour promoters and small record labels to use the stage on weekends, but how would they fill up on a quiet Tuesday night? Looking at their clientele, the venue could start offering the space for professional networking events by targeting industries that employ the same crowd as their existing clientele — like edgy startups or creative agencies. Or they could target small-batch craft alcohol companies for launch events and tastings, tapping into existing suppliers.
15 venue promotion ideas
When you have established an idea of your audience targets, you’re ready to tackle promotion. Get started with these 15 ideas for venue marketing.
1. Rewrite your marketing assets
Once you’ve defined what your venue represents and who you’re trying to attract, it’s time to look at the assets in your marketing arsenal. Review your website, social media channels, and any marketing collateral to make sure it’s on brand and the selling points are working towards your goals as a venue.
Suggested reading: The Ultimate Guide to Copywriting for Events
2. Update your venue photography
Are you using photos of bare rooms or grainy iphone photography? It might be time to fill your venue with happy people having a great time — and capturing the moment with new professional pics. By showing people what your venue looks like during a live event, you’ll make it easier for them to picture themselves in your space. Want to know how to do that? Keep reading…
3. Host your own events
Events pull a crowd — that’s why you want more of them, right? One of the best ways to showcase your venue as an event hotspot is to host one yourself. By filling your venue with the crowd you’re looking to attract, people will be able to experience your offering first-hand. The kind of event you should throw will vary based on your venue goals, but examples include:
- Open Day to showcase your venue and preferred suppliers.
- “Famil” for local event professionals to familiarise themselves with your venue.
- VIP party for your existing customers and their guests to tap into a wider network.
- Locals Night to invite surrounding businesses to experience your venue.
- Band showcase or competition for local artists.
Suggested reading: How To Grow Your Brand With Events
4. Partner up on a sought-after event
If you’re looking to break into the events market or reinvigorate your venue’s brand, consider offering your space at no cost to an experienced event creator to co-host an on-trend event. Partnering with an event that already attracts your target attendees will help to define your venue brand and create the perfect learning opportunity for how an event should run. Start by reaching out to events you’re looking to attract and see if you can strike a deal with the organisers.
5. Sponsor an event for charity
If you want to remain hands-off on event organisation but still attract bookings, offer to become the venue sponsor of event for charity. This provides a non-profit organisation with a much-needed cost saving, and allows you to learn more about working with events in the process.
6. Invest in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Competition is always going to be fierce for search terms like “event venues in Melbourne” — so think outside the box. Focus on how someone else might describe your venue. What would your ideal customer be searching for if they were looking for a venue like yours? How can you use your website to speak to what your customers want? Examples of common search terms might include:
- “Cheap function venues Sydney”
- “Warehouse event venue Melbourne”
- “Hipster event venue Adelaide”
- “Waterfront event venue Perth”
- “Rooftop venue hire”
- “Live music in regional Victoria”
Suggested reading: SEO Cheat Sheet for Events
7. Get listed as an event venue
Potential customers use more than Google to find venues for their event or gig. To further improve your chances of getting found, make sure you get your venue listed on local venue-finding sites such as:
You should also claim all local listings on aggregate sites such as Google My Business, Yelp, and TrueLocal to make sure your details are up to date and include information of your venue such as an event destination.
8. Partner up with a reputable ticketing provider
If your venue runs regular events, whether free or paid, partnering with a modern online ticketing provider could help amplify your sales. Sold-out events = more recognition as your city’s top venue to book, helping you attract better talent.
Solutions such as Eventbrite provide a suite of integrated promotional tools such as custom email invitations, built-in social sharing, and targeted recommendations to a wide audience of active ticket buyers and event-goers.
9. Sell the features that event creators can’t resist
Have you heard the term “sell the sizzle, not the steak”? You need to sell the experience of your venue, rather than the square footage. Think beyond the standard function pack when selling your space. Event planners will be looking to an information sheet to find out your venue capacity and floor plan — but don’t forget to include the features that make your space irresistible.
For example, if you are hosting a business seminar, does your venue offer lots of natural light to keep delegates awake and focused? Is it close to great bars for knock-off drinks? This information will be useful to organisers and could get your booking over the line.
10. Create a virtual tour
Go one step further than photos by hosting a virtual 360° tour on your venue website. Get started with a service like Google’s Tour Creator to showcase your venue at every angle.
11. Promote your venue on Spotify
If you run a live music venue or host gigs, did you know that you can use Spotify as a social media channel to reach music fans? A Spotify account for your venue can help to define the feel of your space, create shareable content, and reach highly engaged music lovers. If your ticketing provider distributes your events to Spotify, then your potential to convert Spotify fans to ticket buyers is even greater. Having an engaged audience of loyal, ticket-buying fans is a great selling point for promoters looking to book your venue.
Suggested reading: How Music Venues Can Get Started on Spotify
12. Build your professional network
Successful event venues have a wide network of professionals that know and trust them. These relationships can be leveraged to promote your event through word of mouth or reciprocal arrangements. For example, a corporate function venue should have a preferred list of suppliers for AV hire, entertainment, MCs, photographers and catering. A music venue would need to be in touch with music promoters, local DJs, musicians, record labels, alcohol suppliers — just to name a few. Any of these businesses could help in promoting your venue to their clients, so build relationships with your existing contacts or ask for referrals to find your go-to team of partners.
Suggested reading: 9 Things Event Professionals Need on Their LinkedIn Profile
13. Collect data to make smart marketing decisions
Are you collecting data to support your marketing efforts? Using simple technology such as promotional tracking links and guest check-in apps can make a huge difference in discovering where your venue’s marketing budget should be focused for success.
For example, if you run online ads to promote an event at your venue, analytics will only tell you how much traffic is being sent to your website. Tracking links will show you which advertising is converting to sales, helping you spend more on the right channels.
Suggested reading: How Venues Can Use Live Music Data to Stay in the Black
14. Create a segmented email database
If you have an email newsletter for your venue, make sure you have a clearly segmented list to separate your event business from other customers that come through the door. Event organisers don’t need to receive a weekly list of what is happening in your venue, but they might be interested in a quarterly targeted email that tells them information on the success of recent events or upcoming promotional offers to book your space.
15. Add a blog to your website
When hosting events, write a blog post wrap up about the highlights. You might wonder why you would go to the effort of writing about an event that is over, but there are a ton of benefits to adding regular content to your blog, including:
- Boosting your search results with fresh content
- Giving potential guests further insight on what an event at your venue looks like
- Creating links to share via email or social media
- Linking to valued sponsors or event partners
- Showcasing more photography and videos on your site
Suggested reading: 5 Tips for Writing a Great Blog Post for Your Event
How to optimise your venue for events
It’s hard to find time to promote your venue when you’re busy managing events. To find out how to produce events more efficiently — including how to maximise staff productivity and simplify bookings and holds —- download the free guide: How to Boost Your Event Venue Productivity with Technology.