The Bonuses and “Be In the Knows” of a Unique Venue

Planner Tips

By Chuck Salem, president of Unique Venues

When booking any venue for your events, it’s best to have all the information up front before making a decision. Unique venues such as museums, arenas and college campuses are no different. Here we look at the major bonuses and some of the “be in the knows” of these types of properties so you know what to expect when considering them for your next function.


Affordability – In comparing traditional venues such as a hotel to a unique venue, you’ll find significant price reductions. This is because the core mission of these sites is not event revenue. Campuses, for example, already have built-in technology for their students, which means there’s no add-on fee for planners.

Ambiance – Unique venues are already unique, which means you don’t have to spend a lot of time or money adding atmosphere or décor. A museum’s exhibits can be a great way to enhance your theme.

Curiosity Factor – You never hear people say, “I can’t wait to go to that meeting in the hotel ballroom,” but notice the reaction when you announce the conference will be held in a movie theatre. A change in place can help build buzz before the event.

Team of Pros – A lot of planners are pleasantly surprised to find a staff of professionals at a unique venue. Part-time or not, these individuals know their business and can help you make the most of the facility.


Scheduling – For many of the unique venue sites, hosting meetings and special events is secondary to their core mission. So you may have to schedule around college classes or sports games at arenas. Venues will be upfront about their availability; if you’re flexible in dates, these sites can be a great option.

Part-time Staff – While some unique venues DO have special event offices or departments, you may run across one that employs a part-time event coordinator or a person who multitasks with other roles. The knowledge and professionalism is still abundant, you may just have to be patient for responses.

Catering Options – There’s no standard when it comes to unique venues. Some have exclusive onsite caterers, others have a preferred list. In some cases, you’ll have to supply your own. Make sure you know the food and beverage options ahead of time.

Insurance – For some venues, you may be required to provide a certificate of insurance because the property may not have a policy covering your event. Add-ons are usually very affordable and can be a simple rider on your existing policy.