You know what to look for when you’re planning an event: Does the caterer have a variety of meal options? Does the DJ specialize in the right genre of music? Will the venue layout match the event activities? But you can get more than just the basics from some of your vendors—especially venues. If you know what questions to ask, you can level up your event planning process with premium venue amenities. Premium venue amenities go above and beyond what you need for your event, and they make the experience better for you and your guests.
As their name indicates, premium amenities typically have a better return on investment for your event, but that doesn’t mean they cost you more. In fact, these top-notch add-ons can actually save you time and money in the long run. When you get more from your venue, you don’t have to source that somewhere else. That saves you time. And when your venue provides top-notch service, your guests enjoy their time more. That can lead to increased purchases, positive brand recognition, and deeper customer or guest relationships.
For the Planner
Amenities exist to make the event experience better for everyone. As the host or planner (or both!), that means making the planning process easier and less time-consuming. When that happens, important details aren’t missed and you stay within your budget. So, as you’re planning this event, look out for these three premium venue amenities to give you a reprieve during the process.
Does it have in-house catering? A package deal with entertainment? What about bar services?
Yes, the venue is going to offer you space for your event. But what else can it bundle with that space? For example, it may offer in-house catering or a partnership with a local vendor. Before you book a venue, discuss additional non-venue needs and see if they can accommodate. These may not be services that the venue offers directly. But if they partner and coordinate with local vendors, that saves you the time of finding those on your own. It may even save you money, too!
Event Planning Services
Will you receive planning support? What tasks can you delegate to the venue? How hands-off can you be?
We get it—not everyone wants to be hands-off with their event planning! But event planning services are a spectrum, and you may be able to get additional support from your venue. This can save you valuable time and emotional investment, especially if you have other event details to coordinate. For example, you can focus on creating materials or social marketing for the event while the venue planners tackle catering and guest list management.
How personal can you make your event? Are you limited to centerpieces and chair coverings? Can you hang things on the walls, project company logos, or bring in custom signage?
Of course, you want the venue to match the overall feel of the event. A formal dinner party shouldn’t be hosted in a barn—just like a casual networking event shouldn’t be hosted in the VIP suite. But customizing the look of the venue, and therefore your event, may be important to you. Events like corporate trainings and product launches have specific marketing requirements. The brand is important, and you have to reinforce that brand as often as you can.
For the Guests
While we always want the event planning process to be easy for you, it’s also important for the event experience to be easy for guests, too! After all, if your guests didn’t enjoy the event, it wasn’t a successful event. And the event isn’t just the time slot you spend weeks planning; everything from transportation to weather can affect the guest experience. Of course, you can’t control all of those factors. But these premium venue amenities will help your guests enjoy their time not just at the event, but before and after, too.
Valet Parking & Shuttles
Is valet parking available? If not, is there on-site parking? Will guests need any special passes to park?
Parking can be a huge issue for guests, especially in large or densely populated cities. Looking for a parking spot can make you late, and it can be stressful to worry about local parking laws with regards to time of day and weather. If you’re planning an event in an area where parking is a commodity, make it easy on your guests! See if the venue offers valet parking, shuttles, or free on-site parking. And then let your guests know ahead of time in the invitations and the event website.
Nearby Attractions & Transportation
Is it easy to access the venue space? What can guests do before the event? After?
Location is the most important part of real estate, but that isn’t limited to home buying! Where your venue is located can make a huge difference in your guest experience. Just like guests don’t want to hunt for a parking space, they don’t want to struggle to get to the venue, either. Try to choose a venue that’s easily accessible via local buses, trains, or subways. And give yourself bonus points if it’s near local attractions, too! Guests often arrive early or stay an extra day if they like the location—another reason for them to enjoy the event.
Exclusive Offers & Local Recommendations
What discounts or offers can the venue provide? Can they suggest local attractions and activities for guests? How is the information presented?
Because out-of-town guests may extend their stay—especially for weddings and personal events—give them some inspiration! Ask your venue about creating welcome bags that include exclusive local offers and recommendations. That way, guests can easily make the most of their trip. Plus, recommendations from the locals are always the best!
Premium venue amenities help you and your guests–they’re a win all around! Of course, not every venue will offer all of these, and some may have amenities not on this list. So it’s important to prioritize your needs and your wants for each event.
What amenities have improved your event experience in the past? Do you think different amenities work better for different types of events?