October 8, 2014  •  by Jane Carter

Week 2: Finding a Venue

(Author’s Note: This is part of a 5 email mini-course for planning a New Years Eve party. If you’d like more actionable tactics for throwing an NYE event, click here.) Finding a venue that works for your New Years party is insanely important. This decision alone will dictate your success going forward. Picking the wrong spot can be a death sentence. My death sentence example Living in Austin, I’ve been lucky enough to attend SXSW almost every year. For those who aren’t familiar with SXSW, it’s pretty much the biggest festival of all things music, film, and tech. The week-long event has grown to the point where corporations routinely pour thousands of dollars into sponsoring free parties. In exchange for covering downtown Austin in advertisements, SXSW attendees get access to copious amounts of free booze and live music all week. Not a bad tradeoff. This past SXSW, My friends and I ventured downtown in search of some free parties. We had targeted some promising ones the day before but kept striking out everywhere we went. SXSW was hitting critical mass right before our eyes in the form of giant lines to get into every venue. Our frustrations were reaching the point of almost calling it a night. As a last ditch effort, I checked my Twitter feed to see what options we had. Lo and Behold, this tweet popped up: Awesome, we had a lifeline! Now we just needed to figure out where the venue was. After doing some digging, it became obvious what the answer was to the above tweet’s question. This party was completely out of the way from all the SXSW foot traffic. We had a hike in front of us but decided to make the trek out of sheer desperation. After finally arriving to the venue, we were greeted by an open bar with one lonely bartender. This place was virtually empty for its size. While we ended up having a great time (the party itself was well executed), I thought it was a missed opportunity for the organizer. The party seemed to have a large budget behind it but the venue’s distance from all the action ultimately hurt the turnout. Bonus Task: Find a Venue That Works for Your NYE Party 1. Figure out your needs – How many guests are you expecting to attend? – What type of entertainment do you plan on providing? – Determine your event budget – Building on your theme, what type of atmosphere are you shooting for? – Where are your potential guests located? Additionally, list all your NYE event’s requirements.  This includes catering, audio/visual equipment, seating arrangement, etc. 2. Research your venue options Now that you have a solid idea on your needs, you can begin research by zeroing in on venues that will be a good fit. Here’s 3 online tools you can use to make the research process easier: Venue Listing Sites: There’s a couple sites out there that will match your event to venues in their network. These companies specialize in finding venues so its smart to start here. Check out Eventwire, Eventup, eventwist, and eventective. Yelp: Yelp has a pretty comprehensive list of venues no matter what city you’re in. Go to and type ‘venue’ or ‘event space’ and you’ll get a ton of results. Craigslist: This should be your last resort. It takes a bit of digging to get what you need and the results are usually mixed. To look at options, go to craigslist and click on ‘event services’ in your area. 3. Narrow down your list and get in touch I suggest widdling your list down to 3 venues. This makes reaching out manageable while giving you some options to choose from. Venues on New Years are in high demand so get in touch with the right person at the venue as quickly as possible. You’ll want to have a contractual agreement with the venue to secure the space. They will present one to you once everything has been verbally agreed on. This benefits both parties from a legal perspective.  Make sure to read over the fine print and measure the costs against your budget. A NYE party won’t be any fun if all you can afford is an empty venue. Next, we’ll dive into creating a classy event page for selling tickets and attracting visitors on the web. This is the fun part! Cheers, Jack]]]]> ]]>