Free venue hire? This is a question we get asked a lot! Sometimes it’s because people don’t have a budget to spend on venue hire and so getting it for free means that the money they’ve got to spend will stretch further on other things. It might be that it’s a casual event like a birthday party, celebration, social club get-together or charity event. Whatever the reason, there are lots of ways of getting free venue hire in Auckland. You just need to know where to start.
Here are our top 10 tips for getting free venue hire
1. Be realistic. Before you go asking for free venue hire, remember that venues make their money from a number of revenue streams which can include room hire, equipment hire, food and beverages, accommodation, activities and entertainment. A venue might agree to give you free venue hire if you're bringing lots of people to the event and booking their catering and other services but they’re not going to give you free venue hire if you’re not going to spend a reasonable amount of money with them, otherwise they’d be out of business! So be realistic.
2. Be flexible. If you are flexible with your dates then you might get free or discounted venue hire from a venue. On off-peak days, which are most likely to be earlier in the week, they might be happy to negotiate to get you to book. But they are much less likely to discount their rates if you’re looking to book an event towards the end of the week or on weekends when they are usually busier.
3. Last minute bookings. If you’re making a last minute booking you might get a good deal too. If the space is not already booked and unlikely to get booked near the event date, the venue might be flexible on what they charge. You can only ask right?!
4. Winter bookings. Booking an event in winter will sometimes help you get free venue hire. These can be the quietest months for all types of venues so you’ll most likely get a better deal than if you’re booking in spring and summer when they are already expecting to be busy.
5. Ask for a deal. Don’t be afraid to ask for free venue hire or a discounted rate when you make an enquiry. What’s the worst that can happen? They might say no. But if you don’t ask, you’ll never find out. Venues, like lots of other businesses, are working to recover after a terrible few months under covid19 restrictions. Any booking is better than an empty space. But again, refer to point 1 - be realistic and don't expect them to do anything that you wouldn't do if you owed their business. Be fair with venues and they'll be fair with you.
6. Think bars and taverns. If your event is a casual get together, either business or pleasure, have a look at the bars and taverns in the area where you want to book. These types of venues are generally more flexible, especially at certain times of day and certain days of the week. They'll be happy to have your group there so long as they can sell drinks and food to the people attending, either paid on a bar tab by one person or on a cash bar basis, where everyone pays for themselves. Some of these venues have private rooms too so if you want to run an event without other members of the public there.
7. Community halls. Not exactly free venue hire but definitely cheap. If your event is casual and budget is an issue then look at community halls. They’re dotted throughout Auckland and have very low hire fees compared with hotels and conference centers. You’ll most likely have to do everything from opening up to set up, pack down and clean up after yourself. But if cost is your biggest barrier and you’ve got the time, energy and creativity to get the space ready for your event then a community hall might be the answer. Just remember, you get what you pay for so community halls are likely to be basic in decor and furniture.
8. Coffee shops. Did you know that some coffee shops have upstairs spaces or private areas that they can close off for you for a couple of hours? They might not charge you a venue hire fee but they’ll want you to buy their drinks and maybe some bakery items to make it worth their while. The time of day you want the space will also make a difference. If it’s during their morning or lunchtime rush, you can probably forget it. But if it’s late afternoon, as things are slowing down and quiet then you might be in luck!
9. Be kind. We’ve heard this a lot over recent months but it’s so relevant and true. If you are kind in your approach, you’re more likely to get a discount or a good deal than if you’re not kind. Actually, any venue who values their customers should turn unkind customers away because they’re always more trouble than their worth! So be kind and venues will be kind to you.
10. Add value to their business. The ultimate bargaining tool for you to get free venue hire or a discount is right in front of you. Think about the ways that you might genuinely be able to add some value to their business. Can you give them something in return for free venue hire? Can you write a great article about your visit to their venue and share it with your social and business networks? Can you give them an advertising spot? Can you give them some professional advice or support for free? Or are your company's products of value to their business and could you do a contra for their space? Adding value to the venue that you’re visiting could be a great way to get free venue hire. You just need to approach it in a kind and professional way, thinking about ways that you can help them in return for their generosity towards you.
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