9 Unexpected Things Guests Hate About Venues
Have you ever received an invitation to a venue where your heart sinks because there's something about that space you just don't like?
There are some surprising reasons guests won't like a particular venue.
Here are nine reasons.
1. Bad parking options
Not everyone wants to drive but venues with virtually no parking options are also unpopular as it forces guests to use public transport, taxis, Uber, not to drink at all, or to risk a parking fine.
While some guests expect to pay to park their car, city venues which charge well over $50 for several hours' parking also prove unpopular. You might even have guests leaving part-way through the event to move their car. Once they've left, are you sure they're going to return?
And what about the car park itself? For example, when the car spaces are all taken underneath at the Pullman at Albert Park, you might be tempted to use the car park in the street opposite which has the narrowest entrances and ramps I've ever seen. I drove in and immediately drove out, worried I'd scratch my car. Imagine how your guests will enjoy your event (not!) if they scratch their car trying to park near it.
2. Cash bars
Cash bars are typical of industry nights where the association or club event organiser hasn't put a tab behind the bar, letting guests pay for their own drinks, but they also occur at receptions where couples are on a strict budget. Either way, it kills the vibe.
3. Dancefloors and awful carpet
There will always be guests who simply hate dancing.
But if your client is celebrating a major life milestone or you want your corporate guests to let their hair down, a dancefloor is a must as a venue inclusion.
One issue with a dancefloor is that it can be so small that you risk getting a punch in the face by an enthusiastic guest. Have you worked out what size dancefloor you need?
Another is if it has a wooden surface. Invariably, someone will get on the floor with their drink, and at best, spill it (which creates a slipping hazard) or worst, drop and smash their glass which can be highly dangerous.
Lastly, if it is for a wedding, you may want a centrally located dancefloor - not one off to the side - so all guests can see your first dance together as a married couple.
Some people get a headache from the black and white checkerboard flooring patterning.
Historic venues are notorious for using patterned carpet, as well as high-traffic city hotels. These can look really awful with your tablescapes. Event stylists shudder at having to deal with lurid carpet.
4. Few toilets
This issue affects women much more than men. A study found that the ideal venue had five toilets for women for every two cubicles for men. Unfortunately many venues provide only two cubicles for ladies bathrooms. Choose your venue wisely - having half your female guests standing in line for the bathroom or desperate enough they want to use the men's toilets will kill your event.
5. Dirty toilets
As well as too few cubicles, dirty toilets are the biggest turn-offs for guests, making them worry about the venue's hygiene and food standards as well as question the event organiser's quality standards.
Guests notice and appreciate bathrooms which have nice soaps, fresh hand towels, pretty floral arrangements, sparkling clean mirrors and vanities and soft lighting but they'll avoid and badmouth venues with graffiti, overflowing bins, dripping soap dispensers and a lack of hygiene.
Make sure you do a random toilet visit before you book the venue. It says everything you need to know about their standards.
6. Finishing time
Some venues have an early closing time of 11pm thanks to licensing laws. This finishing time is more than late enough if you have a 6pm cocktail party but a corporate sit-down event that starts at 8pm often only hits its stride around a few hours later when everyone has relaxed.
It will provide cost savings having an 11pm finish time, but it will also kill the vibe.
Unless it's intentional to make the guest list exclusive, after-party events held in another location because your first venue has an early closing time, tend to lose guests in the shuffle.
7. Boring venues
If you're going to organise a babysitter/dogsitter or any other arrangement to attend an event, you're going to want to be wowed and impressed by the choice of venue for your event.
Seeing "Ballroom B" or a similar cookie-cutter venue name that suggests it churns out events like a sausage factory on your invitation doesn't usually make for a memorable night.
Does your venue have a killer rooftop view or a favourite spot for photos? This is ideal for product launches or for corporate events where you want guests to take selfies.
But what if it just has blank walls and featureless spaces? A venue that lacks somewhere to take photos requires a lot of extra decorating. A venue that lacks features, can lack atmosphere.
8. Bad lighting
Guests loathe venues with fluorescent strip lighting which gives parties all the warmth of a dental surgery. The ones that flicker are the worst!
Visit your venue at sunset to check for sightlines when the sun goes down. Certain venues can have areas that are absolutely blinding when the sunlight reflect directly off glass.
Even venues that use soft lighting can upset your guests. Guests with poor eyesight often find it hard to read the menu or information on the tables. If any of your guests have to use their flashlight app on their phones to see the menu, they feel frustrated and/or "old" - neither of which is going to make them enjoy your event very much. Here's a hint: if twenty-something guests are using flashlight apps to read your menus, your lighting is waaaay too dim!
Make sure the lighting is adequate to the type of event. If your venue has ceiling trusses, it will make it a lot easier to suspend chandeliers, fairy lights and festoon lights, for example.
9. Boring food, furniture, decor and entertainment
These days guests are getting increasingly higher event expectations thanks to Instagram. Buffets in bain maries just don't cut it!
They want amazing food, a cool food station, incredible decor, a great bar, interesting cutlery, the best music, a photo opportunity/conversation starter item, a memorable atmosphere: the list goes on.
Ordering generic venue decor and furniture hire package everyone has seen a hundred times already risks making your event one big yawn. They also risk cheapening your event. If the venue doesn't stock elegant or interesting chairs it'll be the first thing guess notice.
Likewise there is no longer any excuse for the boring "chicken or the fish" alternate dish option when there are so many venues that allow external catering.
If you want people to Instagram your event you gotta make it unique. Ask us how!