If you’ve read our guide on how to find a venue, you’re probably wondering how much money you should part with.
Venue hire pricing varies as much as the different types of events held in them. So to understand how the venues are priced, let’s look at what venues there are in the first place.
The 12 most common types of event venues
An event venue can be any place your event is held. (It doesn’t even have to have walls or a ceiling.) That said, there are certain types of venues that are ideal for events.
Read on to discover which one is best for your next event.
1. Bars, pubs, and clubs
Best suited for: parties, live music, comedy nights, and tasting events.
You can book a private dining room or, if your event is big enough, book out the entire restaurant.
Best suited for: dinner parties, birthdays, wedding receptions, business meetings, and tasting events.
Many hotels come equipped with restaurants, bars, ballrooms, conference rooms, and other event spaces, making them the ideal choice for many different types of events.
Best suited for: parties, dinner parties, tasting events, business meetings, conferences, presentations, networking events, and wedding receptions.
4. Conference centres
Although many conferences are held at hotels, purpose-built conference centres are also a popular choice. They have all the AV equipment you need and often provide catering as well.
Best suited for: conferences (duh), business meetings, presentations, and networking events.
5. Business centres
There is a certain degree of overlap between business and conference centres. Typically, business centres tend to be more concentrated around day-to-day activities such as meetings and co-working.
Best suited for: business meetings, networking events, and presentations.
6. Community centres
Local governments and organisations (such as churches) have space available for private hire. The venues might not always be impressive, but it’s possible to get yourself a really good deal.
Best suited for: meetings and community events.
7. Sports clubs
Local sports clubs, like golf, football, and rugby, might have extra space that they’re willing to hire out to private events in order to generate additional income for their members.
Best suited for: sports-related events.
8. Art galleries
Art galleries are largely empty spaces so there’s room for the art installations. This also leaves room to host events of all kinds, and you might be able to negotiate a decent price.
Best suited for: workshops, artist meetups, and networking events.
9. Academic venues
Like sports clubs, academic institutions are eager to make some extra cash. You’ll find that many schools and universities are happy to rent out part of their premises for private events.
Best suited for: writing workshops, networking events, and presentations.
10. Stately homes
If you’re looking for a fancy venue that isn’t accessible to everyone, then search for some stately homes to host your next event in. They look amazing…but also come with a price tag.
Best suited for: wedding receptions, dinner parties, and corporate retreats.
11. Stadiums and arenas
If you’re organising a giant concert with thousands of attendees, then stadiums and arenas are your best bet. However, you’ll also find that they offer smaller spaces for smaller events.
Best suited for: sports events, concerts, comedy shows, theatre productions, and presentations.
12. Parks and fields
The great outdoors can be used for many different types of events—and there is plenty of space to host them on. Get in touch with your local council to see which parks or fields you can use.
Best suited for: markets, fairs, festivals, concerts, comedy shows, and theatre productions.
Once you’ve settled on the venue for your event, it’s time to look at the different pricing structures. Not all venues will charge you a flat rate for hiring their space.
Below you will find some of the most common pricing structures.
1. Hire fee
A hire fee is a flat rate that you pay based on how long you need the venue for. You will typically be able to hire the venue for a few hours, half a day, or a whole day.
You can get away with anything from £10 per hour in cheap venues…all the way up to thousands of pounds per day on the more prestigious end of the scale.
Hire fees can be dry (see #2 below) or include catering and technical equipment. It all depends on your deal with the venue.
2. Dry hire
Dry hire is the same as hire fee (see #1 above), except that it’s been made explicit that nothing else is included but the space. In many cases, that means there isn’t even decoration.
It’s a good solution if you want to organise food, drinks, decoration, and technical equipment yourself. However, you should do the math to see if you can actually save money that way.
3. Package per person
Package per person is a pricing structure that does what it says on the tin: you pay a certain amount for each person that attends.
That means the price is typically inclusive of food and drinks the guests will consume. Package per person prices are usually in the area of £30–100 per guest.
4. Day delegate rate
Hotels and conference centres that focus on business events will offer day delegate rates. These are pretty much in the same price range as package per person deals (see #3 above).
Day delegate rates differ in the sense that they are often inclusive of AV equipment as well as any extras the attendees might need such as pens and notepads.
5. Minimum spend
Many hotels, restaurants, bars, and clubs will offer you a minimum spend deal. That means you pay nothing up front to hire the space but have to ensure your guests spend a certain amount.
If your guests are expecting to buy their own drinks and food, this might be a good solution for you. Just make sure the menu items aren’t ridiculously overpriced.
The downside of this pricing structure is that you have to cover the difference if the minimum spend isn’t met. Minimum spends can vary from £200 on a weekday to thousands on weekends.
6. Minimum number of guests
Some venues will offer you a minimum number of guests as a variation on the minimum spend pricing structure. This is potentially an even better deal than the minimum spend option.
Here, you only have to secure a certain number of attendees. The venue calculates that each guest will spend enough to cover their overheads and make them a profit.
As with the minimum spend option, however, you might have to pay a penalty if you fail to bring in the minimum number of guests to the venue.
Let the venue hunt begin…
Now that you know what kind of venues are available for your event and the pricing structures they offer, you’re in a much better position to find and negotiate a good deal.
If you have any first-hand experience with venue hiring that we haven’t covered in this article, feel free to drop us a line in the comments below!