Everybody enjoys a good happy hour! AMC clients use these events as a way to connect and add value to their membership and a way to introduce prospective members to the great value of the association. We work hard to find great venues and want to give you the tips we use when picking a venue to have the most successful event for our associations!
It’s good to start with some of the details to help you narrow down your search. Think about the following, and decide on the “must-haves”:
- Private Space
- Decide if you want a private space or if you want to be in the mix with locals at the venue. If you want a private space, keep in mind there might be a room fee. If you don’t mind being in the crowd, ask if the venue can reserve tables or a section for your group.
- Tuesdays and Wednesdays are typically slower for venues and may get you a reduced room fee or more tables easily.
- Inside or Outside?
- In July in Texas, the last thing you want is to be outside in an uncovered area without a fan! Keep this in mind when you consider different venues. If needed, call to ask questions or check out the venue in person before you book it to see what your space will look like. Alternatively, if the venue has an event, or you just can’t make it out to the venue, ask the event manager for a video call to walk you through the space. This saves valuable time!
- Live Music
- Live music is great for a relaxed happy hour where networking is not the top priority. If your association is looking for an experience where they can truly connect with prospective hiring managers, job seekers, or consultants, loud music may not be the best option. If this is the only “con” for the venue, see if you can get a space farther away from the music or a private space so you can still get the experience without sacrificing the valuable networking.
- Obviously one of the main selection criteria is space. The venue must have the capacity to accommodate your group. You want enough space that the guests can network without T-Rex arms but isn’t so large that it feels empty!
- Parking and traffic can kill attendance at an event. Make sure there is valet or surface parking nearby, so your attendees don’t decide to abort attending the event due to the frustration of just trying to get there.
Once you have your “must-haves” list, you’re ready to start sourcing venues. Here are some ideas or things to keep in mind for your search:
- Try a Brewery
- Breweries are hip and can provide unique experiences for your association. You can bring in food via a food truck or onsite catering. TIP: if you go with a food truck, make sure they know your timeline and expectations when you get there for your group. This can go from cool to disaster in a hot minute. #funstories
- New Restaurant
- The new hotspot in town can be a great venue for your happy hour. They tend to not be booked far in advanced and welcome the exposure. Sometimes individuals are more likely to try a new spot when in a larger group at an organized event. This can help drive your attendance since it gives them an excuse/the opportunity to try out the new restaurant.
- Old Favorite
- Don’t forget about your favorite “oldie, but goodie” spot. People enjoy going to a place they are familiar with, especially if it has a good happy hour menu or signature drink. The restaurants often like working with groups that have used them in the past and welcome the repeat business.
- Blog or Social Media
- When looking for venues, blogs like Culture Map or the local magazine will have highlights of restaurants and bars in your area. Social media is a huge asset these days when searching for venues. Make sure to utilize this to your advantage.
I hope these tips have helped you when choosing a venue for your next happy hour. We love events and taking our associations to the best places. Ask your account manager for suggestions to bring fun to your next happy hour.