Should Venue or Caterer Manage Event Sales?

Should Venue or Caterer Manage Event Sales?

As hospitality consultants, we are often asked this question by our venue clients – should we take our event sales in-house or allow our catering partner to manage the entire process?

There are arguments for and against both models and choosing the right set up for event sales at your venue requires consideration (and costing out). On this week’s blog, team Perfectly Paired looks at the factors that you should consider when deciding which sales model is best for your venue.

Protect your Sales

A good caterer will continue to drive sales throughout the term of their contract. Some of our venue clients have seen a notable decline in event sales where a contract is due to end (or where the venue catering contract has been awarded to another caterer). When your venue keeps its sales in house, the risk of reduced sales and or marketing focus is removed, hence your sales line is protected during the tender and new catering contract mobilisation phases.

Pricing Strategy

No matter what your venue’s chosen sales model is – both venue and caterer should always work closely together as partners to covert as much events business as possible.

Managing your sales puts your venue in the driver’s seat and provides a better ability for your venue to negotiate and implement pricing strategies. Venue hire fees are a common negotiation point for events, and where caterer is responsible for the sales process, the ability for them to negotiate on venue hire is minimal (or non-existent). Regardless of sales department set up, both caterer and venue should always work closely together to maximise sales conversion (e.g tailored menus and reduced venue hire fees for off peak days).  

On Brand Service

When your venue manages its event sales inhouse, you can rest assured that the service offering is on brand with your venue’s values and vision.

If your venue’s chosen model is to allow your catering partner to manage the sales process, you should clearly identify their ability to provide an on-brand service offering (and drive sales effectively) – these points should be clear as crystal through the catering tender process. Your chosen caterer should have ample resources to manage sales effectively – including ongoing sales training throughout the year and resources allocated to new business development.

Weigh Up the Costs

Deciding which model is best for your venue sales requires financial modelling and careful consideration.

The decision to change your venue sales set up will require financial modelling to identify feasibility. Obvious costs associated will be the allocation of adequate resources, sales office and the development of a solid sales management process. Ongoing sales team training, benchmarking, sales team incentives and strategy development are all costs for consideration. If your venue’s core offering is NOT events (e.g. a sports stadium or arts space), it is important that you identify where a commercial sales department will sit within the organisation and that you engage a skilled Sales Manager to oversee your team.

Marketing Resources

For Venues where events are not the core offering – your marketing department will need to have the appropriate resources and skill sets to market food, beverage and events.

When venues choose to manage their event sales internally, you will need to consider marketing resources. Often, a venue’s marketing department is geared towards their core offering. If your venue requires your marketing department to take on additional tasks to effectively market the hospitality and events arms of your business, it is important that enough resource is allocated (with the relevant skill sets). If you are not wishing to allocate more head count to your marketing department, it is important that your existing team have adjusted KPI’s to reflect marketing responsibilities for event sales and hospitality.

Not sure what the right set up for your venue’s event sales is? Perfectly Paired are a passionate team of experienced hospitality consultants that savour one passionate vision – to help Australia’s best venues become bigger and brighter.

Book your free consultation today to see how we can help. 

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