A few weeks ago, we wrote a blog post about why your venue needs to do rentals (short answer: to make more $$$). The post went over a few additional reasons to rent out your venues (attract new audiences, build your brand and more) and important things to think about before you embark on your venue rental adventure.
You can check out the whole post here — it’s a great pre-requisite to this post — but the long and short of it was: renting out your venue has tons of perks for your business.
But what about your renters? What’s in it for them? What are you expected to provide for them and how can you give them the highest chance of success? Surely there’s more to this than simply unlocking your doors and letting them have the run of your venue?
Indeed — there is!
Renting out your venue is a two-way street
Along with earning some additional revenue yourself, you’re helping bring new events into your community. Obviously you’re going to want to make those events top notch, but there’s some work you’ll need to do as well to control the brand experience of your venue.
First and foremost, set expectations early!
It’s extremely important for you to set expectations right out of the gate with your renters, so that they don’t come in with unreasonable ideas of what they’ll be getting. On the flip side, these expectations are usually met with surprise and eagerness, and are a great jumping off point to your relationship with your renters.
So, how can you “under promise, over deliver” for your renters? Here are a few ways to start:
- Offer a Tenant Handbook: Create a pamphlet (or word doc) to introduce the “key players” who will be your tenant’s points of contact during the rental process. Whether this is you personally, or a member of your staff, make sure your renters feel taken care of.
- Be VERY upfront about costs! Be sure to clearly cover rental cost and call out ticketing fees (which are charged to the patron, not the renters).
- A facility fee is the industry standard, so make sure to explain that and make the fee known. Many venues give their tenants the choice to hide the facility fee if they want, or have it added onto ticket prices as an exposed fee to the patron.
- Draw a line in the sand with “do’s and don’ts”: Make it known what will fly and what won’t (“no drilling holes in walls”, etc). The sooner you set these ground rules, the less room for interpretation there is.
- Be clear about your security deposit, as most venues do not allow this to be used as rent.
- Pro Tip: It’s wise to include a maintenance fee when the shows close for cleaning.
- No insurance, no service: Most buildings have their own insurance, but it’s smart to require tenants to have a certificate of insurance too. Ask the renters to provide that certificate before you give them the keys to your space.
- Make is crystal clear what your insurance covers vs what theirs covers.
- Recommend your own trusted vendors to your renters: This will help ensure renters are using vendors who you’re familiar with, and in turn are familiar with your venue.
All of this upfront expectation setting is vital to making sure that your venue rental process runs smoothly and gives your renters the highest chance of success. When your renters win, you win — with repeat business and ticket fees.
How do you give your renters the highest chance of success?
In a sense, you can think of it this way — anything that you’re doing for your own shows and events, needs to be done for your renters. You can team up with your renters for almost all of these activities, and some you can pass on to them completely if needed.
So what services should you be providing to your renters? Let’s begin with the obvious ones:
Staff and know-how
Providing some staff who know the ins and outs of the venue is crucial for your renter’s events. You want these events to be the same caliber as if they were your own, because even though these are not your events, they’re still at your venue. Your brand is still being represented here.
This also opens up more hours / opportunity for your staff to make some additional money, and also any volunteers who might be looking for more hours. Adding these staffers — who are already familiar with your venue — brings that professional air to your venue that keeps guests feeling taken care of and making the patron experience top notch.
As you’re already well aware, marketing your events is absolutely essential. Without marketing, how would people learn about your shows? (Answer: they wouldn’t).
If you’re using a multi-faceted ticket sales system, ideally you’ll be able to provide a lot of value for you renters. Essentially, every service you have and use can in turn be offered to your renters. So what would that look like?
- Website: Promote your renters events on your website, and also pass them along to any third-party affiliate websites that you work with.
- Social media: Make sure to give social media shout outs, and you can even provide promotion plan templates for you renters to help them maximize impact.
- Email marketing blasts: Create and distribute dedicated e-blasts to your current database about a renter’s upcoming shows. Segment each event by type to make sure patrons are getting relevant offers.
- Advertising: Utilize that ad network and partnership-discounts that you’ve leveraged for venue rental events as well. Promote events in your storefront and your box office as well!
- Coupons and early bird pricing: Just as you do discounts and early-bird tickets for your own events, provide some variety in ticket price for your renters’ events.
Reporting and measuring
In today’s business world, decisions are made based on data. Plain and simple, you need to give your renters access to the information they need to be successful and make adjustments to their marketing strategy.
You can grant your primary renters access to data and your ticketing systems to check sales numbers and sell tickets. Obviously this won’t be for all renters, but for your primary renters this will allow them to access to enter comps, check sales and more whenever they want.
For renters for whom you’re not comfortable giving access, set up auto-email reports to keep them in the know about key metrics like weekly counts for ticket sales, income levels, etc. You can take the “set it and forget it” approach by automating these reports makes it easy to manage for multiple renters without manual work.
And most importantly — give them incentives for rebooking!
As with your own shows where you incentivize revisits and foster your very own Super Fans, you want to encourage your renters to book your venue time and time again. Offer preferred rates for renters who re–book or book a certain number of events. You want to convert your first time renters into recurring venue rentals — this is the easiest to way to keep that schedule filled and keep that revenue coming in.
Renting your venue out really is a total no brainer. Additional income, additional branding and diversifying and building your patron base are just a few of the major value-adds that come along with it.
So to recap, here are a few of the takeaways from this post:
- Set expectations with your renters and let them know exact details when it comes to cost.
- Provide staff to create a seamless transition between events, and create a top notch patron experience.
- Help your renters market their event — you’ll be doing marketing for yourself in the process.
- Give your renters access to accurate reporting, so they know how their shows are doing and can make informed decisions based on data.
- Most importantly — be a good host! Give them incentives for booking again through discounts and fond memories.
Want to learn more about renting your venue as a time-tested box office solution for success? We partnered with the good folks at Stage 773 in Chicago to create a webinar on How to Effectively Manage Your Rental Business. Check it out here!