First Is Not Always Best

What to consider before booking a brand new venue

An amazing way to create buzz for your next conference, meeting or event is to host it at the newest venue in town. Local attendees especially can get tired of the same old spots, and everyone loves to see the next big thing. It gives your event an additional level of exclusivity and appeal. But before you go running to every hard hat tour in town, here are a few things to keep in mind before you sign on the dotted line.

Do You Want The Kinks To Get Worked Out On Your Dime?

Those who can, do. And they will. Because the best way to learn how anything works is by using it. Restaurants, hotels, and other venues have started a trend. The grand opening is being postponed in favor of a soft opening. A soft opening gives venues time to practice, and (when they don’t get it quite right) it gives them an excuse for the bad experience a guest or client might have. “We apologize, that took place during our soft opening.” Soft openings differ greatly in their lengths and how much a part of overall infrastructure they impact. For some restaurants it’s a two day event, while hotels have had soft openings that last weeks or months. After the soft opening period, they proceed with the grand opening.

Make sure and inquire if your event will be after the grand opening or during the soft opening. If it’s during the soft opening, confirm what kind of effect it could have on your event. If you are concerned, see if the venue can provide some additional support staff to assist in the management and execution of your event. It’s always good to fully understand what you might be walking into, and to sure things up on the front end.

Do you have a backup plan?

There’s a hot new hotel in town and your conference is going to be one of the first ever hosted there. You took the hard hat tour, you signed the contracts. You’ve got room nights, plans for your audio visual and general session set ups, meals worked out with catering, and additional space for an evening event. It is going to be amazing. Until you get the call.

Your event is one month away and due to construction (or permitting, or equipment delivery, etc) the space won’t be ready in time. Not only do you have to relocate your multi-day conference, you also have to relocate your attendees. And you have six months worth of work to do in less than 30 days.

When you are one of the first events following an opening, consider your backup plan options. Also, consider if potentially having to re-plan your entire event in less than 30 days is worth the flashy new location. Sometimes, it is. Other times, not so much.

Do the expectations of your attendees match the potential reality?

If your number one priority is to provide your attendees with the exclusivity of being some of the first people to experience a new hotel, meeting, or event venue, then your group is likely willing to overlook some of the growing pains new venues can go through. If your audience, board, or planning committee are expecting a streamlined, organized experience with no hiccups and flawless execution, now might not be the time to gamble on a new venue. Even when a new venue is run by seasoned professionals, it still takes time for the new team to get to know each other. The cohesion of the service team ties into the operations of the venue and is what makes and maintains a professional group that can give you a flawless experience. This knowledge is gained in real time, during events. It’s a natural part of the process, but if you are one of the first clients in the door, you should expect that you will be part of their learning curve.

Still not sure if a brand new venue is right for your group? Contact us at for a complimentary consultation