Venue Contract Negotiations

venue contract negotiations

Here are some tips about cash discounts, concessions, and legal protections to help you with your upcoming venue contract negotiations.

Let’s say you’re negotiating a venue contract for your next event. Even if negotiation is your forte, venue contract negotiations can be difficult – all the more so if your event isn’t large or has a tight budget. Naturally, you want to get the best deal possible while also protecting yourself, your clients, and your organization’s reputation. However, accomplishing these goals is easier said than done.

With that thought in mind, here’s some critical information that you need to know about cash discounts, concessions, and legal protections before you draw up or sign a venue contract.

Costs and Cash Discounts

The revenue value of your event usually determines the types of cash discounts you can get from a venue. The larger and more costly your event, the greater your bargaining power. During peak season, prices can be fixed and high. Off-season, you may have more room for venue contract negotiations. However, if your event is attractive to the venue or if you’re booking during a slow period, a venue may entertain your requests.

First and foremost, share your cash discount wish list with someone at the venue who has negotiation authority. To gain a bit of leverage, compare discounts offered by comparable venues. For example, try sharing information about lower rates or concessions offered by one or more competing properties.


As with cash discounts, concessions are often based on total event spend. Here are some concessions you can try to negotiate:

  • Complimentary Breakout Rooms. Negotiate a free breakout room for every ballroom booked.
  • Event Schedules. Factor in as much load-in, load-out, setup, and cleanup time as possible.
  • Wi-Fi. Ask about the venue’s in-room, conference area, and public space Wi-Fi policies, and then try to negotiate better terms.
  • Room Upgrades and Comps. Secure better rooms for VIPs or early-bird registrants and negotiate a set number of complimentary rooms (e.g., 1 comp room for every 40 rooms booked).
  • Cancellation Terms. The amount of your cancellation refund is calculated in accordance with a predetermined schedule. If possible, negotiate terms up front.

Legal Protections

It’s also important to try to negotiate the following legal protections:

  • Termination (Force Majeure) Clause. This clause protects your liability when uncontrollable events occur, such as natural disasters, unforeseen weather conditions, and civil unrest. (Event cancellation insurance can also protect you against loss of revenue or extra expenses that result from circumstances such as postponement, interruption, or relocation of an event.)
  • Indemnification Clause. This clause protects both you and the venue from negligence (e.g., injury, damages, or losses).
  • Agreement to Provide Insurance. Mitigate risk by ensuring that both the venue and your client have appropriate insurance coverage.

Venue Contract Negotiations – Get the Support You Need

When entering into venue contract negotiations, you should strongly consider consulting a small business attorney or visiting sites like eForms, Docracy, and RocketLawyer that can provide valuable baseline information. You can also benefit from seeking negotiation support from an audio visual production partner that knows the ins and outs of your venue, along with the venue’s standard contract terms and the do’s and don’ts of venue contract negotiations.

If nothing else, remember these three things: (1) your ability to negotiate ends when you sign your name on the dotted line, (2) there’s often room for negotiation on cash discounts and concessions, and (3) the right AV production partner can help guide you every step of the way.

Why Total Show Technology?

TST is the total show production solution for anyone who hosts, plans, manages, or produces events, meetings, and trade shows. We own the Pacific Southwest market and travel with our clients all across the country. Our clients have relied on us to deliver audio, video, lighting, equipment rental, and show production for conventions, corporate meetings and events, and trade shows since 1996.

Whether you’re looking for audio visual support or advanced event technologies that enable you to deliver your message effectively, we help your shows go off without a hitch and always make you look good. In an industry where almost anything can go wrong, we make sure everything goes right.

Let’s have a conversation! Call us at 702-897-8508, email us at, or visit

Melissa Skipworth

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