When you’re running a hospitality business, taking bookings for private functions or events is a great way to bring people through the door – but it’s crucial you get it right.
Whether you’re gearing up for Christmas party season, wedding season or just footy season it’s important to get all your ducks in a row before taking a booking.
So how do you best prepare to host functions?
1. Create a brochure
Pull together all the information that a prospective event host will need.
The space available, the options, specs for your stereo system and any screens, catering options and drinks packages.
Being as clear as possible lets your customers make a good decision, and also prevents your time being taken up with lots of questions or emailing back and forth.
It’s a good idea to include some great shots of your venue and create a document that can be emailed across as soon as you have an enquiry.
This prevents having in-person meetings with people who won’t wind up using your venue for reasons that they could have known about in advance.
2. Position your venue for the events you want
Positioning your venue is crucial to attracting the kind of event that you want.
If you’ve got the kind of venue that can accommodate a wedding reception, then advertising in magazines and websites aimed at people planning weddings is the way to go.
If you’re hoping to book in some corporate Christmas parties, then reach out to businesses in your area.
3. Get it in writing
Never accept a booking without an event agreement and a deposit.
Your event agreement should outline exactly what you’ll be providing. It’s a good idea to highlight anything that your clients will need to provide or arrange to hire.
The agreement also needs to include your payment terms, and the timeline for the payment of the deposit and the balance. The deposit will generally be paid once the agreement is signed.
The deposit is there to guarantee the booking and it should be enough to cover all the additional costs that your business will incur.
Make sure that the purchase of additional stock, food, and staffing are easily covered.
This isn’t time to guess-timate and risk your cash flow. Get online and use your accounting software to project and check your figures.
READ: Business forecasting 101
4. Make a checklist
By the time the event rolls around, everyone wants to be able to kick back and have a good time.
This isn’t the time for the event host to be making decisions about song choices, bar tab limits or the guest list.
Have a simple checklist to run through with them before the day of the event and make sure your staff are clearly briefed and know exactly what’s going on.
For example, if you’ve agreed that the bar tab will cover beer and wine only, your staff should know not to be serving spirits.
5. Follow up for feedback
After the big day (or night) make sure you follow up to get feedback from the event host.
It’s really important to find out what worked, and what didn’t, so that you can make tweaks for future events.
It’s also valuable to find out whether they are likely to use you again, or to give you referrals. And don’t forget to ask them for a testimonial that you can add to your brochure to help secure future bookings.
When events are done right, they create a roomful of people who will come back to your business.
Making this happen is as straightforward as a communicating clearly, being mindful of your cash flow, and paying careful attention to detail.
And the best news? Christmas party season is just around the corner.