The Art of Negotiating with Venues for Event Planners in NYC

February 7, 2017 Susan Serena


Event Planners in NYC know how to research, apply strategy, and use tactics and tools to successfully secure the best deals in town with venues in New York City. Believe us, luck IS NOT a factor.

In this article, you will learn the best practices to:

  • Recognize the principles for selecting an adequate venue for your attendees.
  • Safeguard the success of your event by leveraging on a selection strategy.
  • Benefit from tactics that will save money and hidden concessions you may not have known existed.

Recognizing the Principles of Venue Selection

As event professional, often times we use the terms “tactics” and “strategy” to mean the exact same thing, but that shouldn’t be the case. As event business gurus, we ought to agree that these two components are distinct and vary on many levels. Strategy is all about the destination, the big picture, and the overall goal. On the other hand, tactics can be looked at as the milestones along the road, the various pieces that make up the big puzzle, the detailed objectives that lead to the end goal. Strategy is what Event Planners in NYC want to achieve. Using tactics is HOW we’re going to achieve it.

Strategizing Your Venue Selection

So before we take a dab at tactics, it’s an excellent idea to quickly review the best practices for negotiation. The following components have a lot to do with why we might select one destination or venue over another. The final decision always breaks down to some combination of the following criteria for venue selection:

Price. Remember that the dollar amount is not the only thing to consider when selecting a venue. The value the venue offers is what you really want to extend to your attendees, not just an attractive price.

Access. You want to facilitate everything from internet access, parking, housing, and local restaurants and amenities to your guests. Especially for a conference that may take place over a few days’ time.

Infrastructure. Whether it’s a corporate or social function, you must ensure that all technical specifications to meet the event’s goals are met. More importantly, you should know the expertise of the staff at the venue so that you know who your go-to person will be if anything should go haywire.

Tactics That Will Save Money When Selecting a Venue

As Event Planners in NYC, we want to be recognized for our innovative and creative approach to event planning. However, clients find that the true value of a NYC Event Planner lies in their ability to crunch numbers. You must be an expert negotiator in this industry and shoot to win every time! Here are a few ways to be strategic when negotiating venue pricing.

Rates. If you’re looking to shave a thousand dollars or two, you must first focus on the dollar amount you’re aiming for. Make an offer that’s below that amount and test the reaction. Try and keep it reasonable and aim for a 25% discount from their normal rates (this is the most common discount offered by venues). Remember to consider variables like catering, AV, lighting, etc. Venues who are offering an all—inclusive package are usually more willing to negotiate rates than those who are just offering space.

Food and beverage. It may seem like a no brainer but this category can really make or break the event’s budget. You should learn your client’s previous food & beverage pattern for this event type (i.e. annual holiday party), which will give you an idea of how much they will consume. You may be able to cut corners with the budget by limiting the menu and avoid paid overages.

Production & AV. One of the most crucial components of any event type these days is the production end. Many Event Planners in NYC have preferred vendors they use for production but if it’s offered by the venue, it can be used as a bargaining chip for better rates. If the venue cuts you a deal for using their in-house production services, it will usually be a lot less than using a third-party vendor.

Share this article and spread these negotiation tips with your colleagues!

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