How to start a mobile bar business

Mobile Bar

From my experience at both indoor and outdoor events many lend themselves perfectly to having mobile bars serving at them. The expectation now, when going to an event, often is that there will be a range of food and drinks on hand to buy.

Mobile bars are perfect for ad-hoc events or venues where there are limited existing facilities to serve drinks. Mobile bars are often useful at things like beer or gin festivals, I wrote this other post on how to organize one of those  

There are a number of things you will need to start a mobile bar business. These include:

  • A solid business plan
  • A truck/stall/mobile bar 
  • Glassware
  • Cold storage
  • Licensing arrangements
  • Stock

Licencing is the key legality you need to adhere to when starting and managing your own mobile bar business. It can often feel confusing. Therefore, in this post, I will go into what licences you need and any key things to note.

*Just to flag, this post is aimed at the UK market and based on British legislation and licencing only. If you are based outside of the UK, please consult local guidance in your region.

What do I include in my mobile bar business plan?

Any business owner, irrelevant of the business type, will advise you the best place to begin when starting a mobile bar business is with your business plan. 

This will help you to really think about what your business means, does and how it will operate logistically and financially before you dive in and waste precious time and money.

A business plan also will be requested by any investors or banks who you are trying to get to input money. They want to be able to see that it is a viable business before they invest in it.

So where do you start with the business plan? There are plenty of templates out there online that you can use as a structure for ideas. To help you out, I have listed out a few headers and sub-headings for you to think about when writing your business plan. 

Do not feel you have to structure it all in the same order. Do what works for you!

Mobile Bar Business Plan Checklist

  • Business overview
  • Executive summary
    • What you are/sector/purpose
    • Aim of starting the business e.g. to make profit, follow passion/skills etc.
  • What are the products or services I plan to offer
  • Vision/mission statement 
  • Business structure
    • Roles and responsibilities
  • SWOT analysis
  • My Strengths
  • My Weaknesses
  • External Opportunities
  • External Threats
  • Market analysis
  • Market trends (backed up by research)
  • Suggested target Market
  • Competitive advantages to stand out in the current market. What makes your mobile bar different?
  • Financial Plan
  • Sources of income
  • Sales forecast
  • Sales strategy
  • Pricing strategy
  • Payment options
  • Start-up costs
  • Business forecast
  • Where do you see the business in 6, 12 months, 2, 4 years etc.
  • Expansion/reinvestment plans

How do I set up a mobile bar business?

Once you have your business plan mapped out, you are in a great position to start setting up your mobile bar business. 

So, where do you start? There isn’t really a right or wrong place to start as it depends on the individual and what skills/resources you have available. I have, however, broken down the set-up process in some bullet points to help keep you on track:

Mobile Bar Business Registration

There are a few key things to register and apply for when starting up your business:

  1. Register your Business (Partnership, limited company, or sole trader)
  2. Register with the council (as a new business you need to do this locally to where you run).
  3. Register with HMRC (Either as a limited company or a self-employed basis)
  4. Public Liability Event Insurance (cover for any claims against the business)
  5. Insurance (to cover your assets/set up if it were stolen or damaged)

Small Business Banking

It’s advisable to keep both your personal and business finances separate. The best way to ensure this is to set up separate accounts for business and personal.

  • This protects your own assets in the event of issues with the business.
  • It makes tax filing and accounting easier
  • A business credit card will help you spread expenses rather than having to pay everything all at once (especially if you have to do all your spending pre-event and may only get 50% payment until event completion).
  • Having a credit card builds your business’s credit rating, which works favourably when getting loans or investments.
  • Keep notes/receipts of all expenses as some of these can be deducted when filing tax. It also helps when cost tracking. 

For my event business, I’ve been using a Monzo business bank account for the last four years. I found it super easy to set up, and there were minimal credit checks, unlikely the major high street banks. I’ve no complaints and would highly recommend them. You can sign up here; this isn’t an affiliate link. I find the service super easy to use!

Insurance for a mobile bar

In the UK, there are generally THREE types you would want to consider for a mobile bar

  • Employers Liability, this covers any staff or volunteers who work for you and is a legal requirement in the UK.

  • Public Liability covers accidents or damages caused in the public domain (non-staff). This protects your business from claims made by members of the public.

  • Equipment Insurance. Worth looking at to protect against any loss through accident or theft that could impact your business. 

Check out this full article we wrote on event insurance, but that can be mainly for organisers of events.

If you are running the mobile bar as a small business, I’ve used Hiscox Insurance in the past. You can get a free online quote on there website here.

This is an affiliate link, so if you do go ahead with purchasing the insurance with them, Eventunity receives a small referral fee that helps keep the lights on around here! It won’t mean you pay a higher amount.

What license do you need for a mobile bar business?

Your first starting point is getting yourself a Personal License. These can be obtained in the UK and require you to pass an exam by an accredited board to receive your licence. The exam is in place to ensure licence holders are aware of both the licencing law as well as the social responsibilities that go hand in hand with selling alcohol to people.

So what does this cost?

Where do I take the test?

  • The GOV.UK website shows a list of accredited training providers where you can sign up for one to suit you.

How do I obtain my Personal licence once I pass?

  • Once you pass, you will need to send a copy of your certificate as well as an up-to-date basic disclosure check (around £25) to confirm you have no criminal record.
  • You then need to send these to your local authority (where you live) along with a passport-style photo and £37
  • You will then get your licence card which you should have on you when selling/serving alcohol.

How do I apply for a temporary event notice (TEN)?

  • Once you have your licence, you can fill in an online form on the GOV.UK website to obtain your TEN (temporary event notice). 
  • You will then need to send your £21 fee and a copy of the TEN to the local licencing authority.
  • As well you need to send a copy to:
    • The local police
    • A local environmental health officer

You can find their details on your local authority’s website.

Top things to know about the TEN:

  • As a personal licence holder, you can apply for up to 50 TENs a year (at £21 per TEN)
  • There must be at least 24hrs between TENs at the same location
  • Each event notice can last up to 168hrs (7 days)
  • Each location can have 12 TENs a year
  • Any one event can have up to 500 at all times on site (including staff)

What mobile bar equipment do I need?

Aside from your main bar asset/set-up (whether that be a horsebox, airstream, gazebo and table or truck) it’s easy to forget the minor details. Below is a checklist of things that come in useful.

  • Bottle openers & corkscrews (easy to put one down or misplace so have a few)
  • Chopping boards and knives
  • Cocktail shakers
  • Stirring spoons
  • Glassware (a range of shapes and sizes)
  • Napkins
  • Cloths for cleaning spillages
  • Lights (if it’s an evening or dark a day)
  • Extension cables for power
  • Waste and recycling bins (make sure these are hidden as they are unsightly)
  • Ice, ice buckets and tongs
  • Jugs and strainer
  • Straws or garnish/drink décor
  • Trays
  • Payment system/till*
  • Pen & paper to take orders if needed
  • Notes of drinks and how to make them
  • Menus/signs
  • Fridges or buckets to chill drinks with ice

You can buy most of the equipment you need from a professional catering company like Nisbets

There are also a few extra things to consider when designing your bar set-up:

  • A place to store clean glasses
  • Area to put dirty glasses
  • Glasswasher(s)
  • General bar decoration, e.g. lights, prints etc.

*Payment Machine

You will almost certainly need the ability to take payment by contactless or card. Most people (especially since the Coronavirus pandemic) will expect this. Luckily, this has become much easier in recent years and you can invest in a system for less than £30. Systems such as Zettle and Sumup in the UK use a small Bluetooth contactless device that connects to an app on your phone or tablet, see my other post on this here. You will have to pay a small commission on money taken, but it’s likely customers will expect this service.

Marketing and promoting your mobile bar business

If you are looking to set up a serious business rather than just a hobby, having a website and presence on social media channels will really help take your business to the next level. Having an online presence gives your business legitimacy, helps people to find you and acts as a good segway to direct potential customers too.

To make a start, it would be advantageous to have the following:

  • Website for your events
    • For website hosting, I use Siteground, which has been amazing for this website but Bluehost is also recommended for ease of use.
    • With a content plan (images of work, contact details, upcoming events etc.)
  • Instagram 
  • Facebook
  • Get yourself on preferred events suppliers, e.g. event/wedding planners (networking will help with this).

A top tip is to make sure you regularly update and post content. There is nothing worse than when, as a consumer, you go on an Instagram or Facebook page giving minimal information on and where nothing has been posted in months. 

One other top tip is to get some professional photos (or take some good quality ones on your phone) with your bar dressed and with a nice background. When we have nothing else to judge but an image aesthetic is everything!

So how do you promote your mobile bar?

  • As mentioned above, online presence is key! More and more use just search engines and social media to find people/businesses.
  • Networking! It’s a free and easy marketing tool. Get to know party planners and venues. It may even lead to a partnership!
  • Local print/flyers in an area to promote your business
  • Word of mouth. Doing a great job can get you far. Although it can take time this can cause a great snowball effect when word gets around.
  • Look online for Facebook groups that allow traders and organisers to connect.

Who is the target market

As a start-up business having a well-defined target market is key in order to help compete with larger and more established businesses. This is where having a niche (whether that’s brand, name, drinks etc.) will be the thing that helps you stand out here.

So where do you start?

  • Check out for competition
    • Who are their customers?
    • What do they do well and what are they missing?
  • Do an overview of your service/product
    • What are the benefits of your business to them?
    • Next identify the people who have a need for these benefits 
  • Break it down to target audience specifics:
    • Age
    • Gender
    • Location
    • Income
    • Occupation
    • Marital/family status
    • Ethnic background/culture
  • You can then delve deeper on the target audience psychographics e.g.
    • Values & attitudes
    • Lifestyle
    • Interests/hobbies

Once you have collated this information on your target it’s key to then ask yourself the following questions in order to help make sure you are targeting the right people:

  • Can they afford what I am offering?
  • Will they benefit from what I am offering?
  • Are they easily accessible/reachable?
  • Do I know what drives my target audience?
  • Are there enough people who fit my criteria?

Top tip: 

  • Remember you can have more than one target market, but make sure you don’t try and target all!
  • An online search, face to face research and other print/media are great ways to help you research your target audience.

Staffing your mobile bar

When you start off it is likely that you will be a jack of all trades and likely responsible for the setup, running and take down of the bar. You need to be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get hands on with everything. If you are new to bartending, it’s well worth going on a course to help increase your skills and therefore product.

Once your business is more established you will need to consider building a team. As a general rule of thumb, it would be advantageous to work to the following:

  • 1 bartender for every 75 guests (when only serving beer and wine)
  • 1 bartender for every 50 guests (for a full bar)
  • It’s worth considering an extra member of staff if you have a complex menu e.g. cocktails.

How much do mobile bars make?

Firstly, mobile businesses selling drinks, as opposed to food, are often on to a higher profit margin, with less waste (due to a less perishable product), little preparation time involved and your immunity to seasonality (you can sell alcohol all year around, summer, Christmas is also a bumper time). On top of that, typically if you are savvy, you are looking at 50-70% profit margin per unit.

As with most events there is no one specific answer on how much a mobile bar makes as the cost will depend on the type of setup you have and the audience you serve, more on this below.

However, on average, with good planning and some tips and tricks, you will be looking at a profit typically in the higher hundreds or low thousands. In the below I have set out some examples to help you cost up and calculate how much you could make at a festival with a mobile bar for example.

A few quick sums will help you to have a clearer picture of how much money will be going out, how much resource you might need, how much money you could make and how much you will need to break even.

It can feel like plucking figures from air at times when you are starting off, as often experience is what guides you here. Below I have broken down a simple way for working out skeleton profitability.

*please note this is an example using experience and will vary depending on the event you go to and your bar set up.

Out costsPrice (£)
Site Fee5,000
Organisers % cut (say 20%) earnings9,000
Staff cost (4 staff on 10hr shifts for 4 days)1,500
Stock costs2000
Fuel & travel500

Equally as important is working out your projected sales:

A great starting point is by compiling these details:

  • How many hours you want to serve each day?
  • How much are you charging per item?
  • How many staff do you plan to take?

So, what other factors affect profit? What other things should I consider? 

When it comes down to how much mobile bars actually make it’s totally dependent on a series of factors. Depending what you are serving (the more unique the better off), along with a few other key factors, will ultimately determine your success. Below there are some things to consider to help increase your chances of profit.

Site location:

  • Being in a busy area is always desirable, but more expensive, as you will have a high footfall passing the stand. 
  • Make sure you aren’t in a dead end or by the toilets – often people won’t walk past in volume or tend to dwell in these areas for long.

Target Audience:

  • Are you providing a product that the festival goers will want?
  • Research your audience and cater to their budget, tastes and needs.

Weather: Be reactive to this uncontrollable factor.

  • Offer something useful e.g. if it’s raining buy drinks from us and get a free branded poncho (easy to buy and store if the weather breaks!).

Up your truck look/design:

  • Colour, props and fun décor can really help you to stand out and look the part. If you are at an event with competition having something like a great design can help draw them in and give them focus over others.
  • Staff uniform is a key part of the design. Make these comfortable, clean looking but with a fun element, again to match the bar theme. You will be surprised how much we make decisions based just on looks. 

Develop your truck’s brand/reputation:

  • Smile! It is true when they say people buy people! Some small talk, happy faces and upbeat energy can go a long way bringing people back and leaving lasting positive memories – after all you never know who you are serving (someone might ask you to another event or festival).
  • Utilise your marketing opportunity. Stamp or print your logo and social media accounts on your cups etc. If you want to go one step further perhaps offer a competition or incentive if they follow your social channels. E.g. follow us and get 10% off.

A few tips to help you stand out at events where there is competition:

Don’t hide your prices away! Make them really easy and clear to read. If hidden, an instant assumption is you’re too expensive and puts people off. 

Take lots of change! If you sell anything e.g. £5.50 take lots of 50p’s! There is nothing worse than scrabbling for change during a big influx of orders.

Take card payments. So many people hate carrying cash. They are cost effective, easy and a safe way to charge people. Less cash on site also makes it safer for you! Check out this article we wrote on Bluetooth card machines.

Samples. Everyone loves a freebie! This is a great marketing technique, encouraging people to come back or try something off the menu next time they fancy a drink.

Mobile Bar Drinks Pricing

So how much can I charge?

It goes without saying, you need to price each drink/drinks package so you at least break even.

There are a couple of ways to approach costing:

  • Charge per drink like a standard bar
    • Make sure you do your research for what your competition does (you don’t want to overprice yourself nor undercut yourself too much)
  • Charge as a drinks package e.g. £30 per head for 4 drinks etc.

Mobile bar ideas

One of the advantages of having a mobile bar means that you can move to where the events are and are not fixed in one area. Another great thing is that you need less equipment to run and have everything compactly at your fingertips!

There are a range of different approaches you can take when setting up, styling and serving from your bar. Trends change quickly so one advantage of a mobile bar is that you can usually quite easily, and cost effectively, change your bar to meet demand, keep up with trends and stay ahead of the curve.

To give you some inspiration on ways to serve from your bar I have listed a few things that prove popular:

  • Beer bar (independent brewers)
  • Cocktail & Mocktails
  • Gin bar
  • Pimms bar
  • Prosecco/bubbly bar
  • Wine bar
  • Cider bar

On top of deciding what you choose to stock and sell, there are also a range of different and innovative ways you can create and repurpose everyday items into your bar. Below are some good examples of different types of mobile bars, although the world is your oyster when it comes to set up, style and bar unit.

Bar on a bike 

The Cargo Bike Company created the below cocktail bar. A simple, head turning spin on a classic.

Drinks bar bike - The Cargo Bike Company

Some advantages of this bar

  • Easy to move around (can quite literally pedal to the people)
  • Small and compact to store
  • Eye catching 
  • Small site space (so cost effective if you go to an event)

Some downfalls

  • Limited storage for ingredients
  • Can get lost in the background at some events
  • Limited area to chill drinks



Blinkers Horsebox Bar (in picture) shows a unit that has everything at your fingertips. Easy to move to events on the back of a car as well as a quirky yet attractive addition to the aesthetics of an event.

Some advantages of this bar

  • Easy to move around 
  • Compact, which cuts down set up time

Some downfalls

  • Require vehicle to tow it to events
  • Can be restrictive in space


The Bus Bar Company’s fun, unique and quintessentially British bar that has the advantage of both indoor and outdoor serving space to suit all weathers!

Some advantages of this bar

  • Easy to move around/drive
  • Compact, which cuts down set up time
  • Striking and a good decorative for the event

Some downfalls

  • Size can make it hard to park/get into some event sites
  • Site space is expensive for something this size if you go to paid for events

These can be set up and designed to suit what drinks you are serving and who you are serving. Colour, decoration and set up can easily be changed as demands dictate.

Free standing bar

Some advantages of this bar

  • Can fit around space you have available
  • Can be easily transported
  • Small and compact to store

Some downfalls

  • Limited storage for ingredients
  • Can get lost in the background at some events
  • Limited area to chill drinks
  • Having lots of things next to the bar, e.g. bins, spare stock etc., can look messy

As you can see there are a range of ways you can design and set up a mobile bar. There is no right or wrong way as long as it’s safe and functional for your needs. 

I hope that this post has helped you in the initial steps of setting up a mobile bar and wish you the best of luck with your project and business!

What Does A Concert Promoter Do And How To Get Started

Concert Promoter

Being a concert promoter isn’t necessarily for the faint-hearted. You have to have a passion for the music you want to promote and a good work ethic to succeed in this highly competitive industry.

Music Concert

I was a successful concert promoter for over ten years, promoting a variety of live music and club night events, and I’m going to share with you some of the skills I picked up along the way.

A concert promoter is responsible for “putting on the show”, that is to say they perform the following functions: 

  1. Booking venues
  2. Negotiating with agents
  3. Booking the bands, 
  4. Arranging ticket sales
  5. Advertising the show
  6. Arranging all of the technical requirements
  7. Setting sound check and performance times

Most concert promoters aren’t tied to a venue, but sometimes they can be.

Concert promoters book or hire venues where they want to promote shows.  If they already work at a venue, the roles are still very similar.

I was a venue manager for over 10 years (I didn’t own the venue), and promoted countless live shows, club nights and other performances. No two shows are the same, and concert promoter jobs can be hard work.

It’s often sold as a glamorous role, but the reality is a concert promoter will spend hours sitting at a computer or on the phone arranging a multitude of different things such as venue operations or press releases. 

BUT….it’s worth it all when the show has sold out, you’ve made your money, and you can see people having a good time. That’s the passion that drives a concert promoter. 

So let’s delve into that role a little deep to see exactly what a concert promoter actually does.

What does a concert promoter do?

A concert promoter may be an employee of a venue, own the venue, work for a concert promotion company or be a freelancer who uses different venues. Some concert promoters start just by hiring small venues and promoting local bands before moving up to buy their own venues. 

Concert promoters work with venues of all sizes, from small events doing open mic nights to 10,000+ capacity arena shows or major outdoor festivals for companies like Live Nation.

There are plenty of similarities across these different levels, so let’s dive into this in more detail to understand what some of the concert promoter jobs are. 

Working with agents

The one thing you need to realise about booking agents is that they work for the band, not the concert promoter. They usually get a % commission from the booking fee you pay.

Music Agent

When bands are looking to build a fan base, their agent will try to ‘route’ a series of gigs in succession. This might form the basis of a larger tour. 

A concert promoter needs to understand where any particular band is in their journey. Are they playing 100, 300, 1,000 or 10,000 capacity shows? Correctly identifying this will save you from wasting the agent’s time.

Negotiating with agents is a tricky business. Be careful of just asking what the price is, the answer you get will be determined by a number of factors: how well the agent knows you if you have booked previous shows, the potential to ‘route’ a band tour your way and the popularity of the band. There may still be some wiggle room in that price if you have some good haggling skills. 

Negotiation doesn’t just end with the price. A concert promoter must also sign off on the band’s rider requirements.

After all of this has been agreed, a contract is signed. Once you pass this point, there is a legal commitment to delivering everything agreed, so make sure you are happy and can deliver it or there will be trouble ahead. The agent may have a representative on-site at the gig to ensure everything goes off as agreed. 

Working with bands to get them to play.

If you’re aiming to just host local bands with a small capacity venue then you may find that you need to deal with the band directly or (if they have one) a local manager. It’s not uncommon for that manager to be a parent or a close family friend, in my experience!

In this situation, negotiation can be much more informal. However, everything should still be agreed upon in advance and a simple contract or agreement signed to avoid any unnecessary confusion or issues on the day.

Arranging the tickets

Once the venue and bands are confirmed, then, the tickets need to be put on sale. Concert promotion is all about selling tickets, well for the most part. Ensuring the number of tickets sold covers the cost of putting the event on is crucial.

If the concert promoter knows there will be demand for the tickets, they may want to spend some time building up the sale date, using it to their advantage to build things like their email list in exchange for priority access. 

If tickets are likely to be in demand, then a robust and trusted online ticketing platform needs to be used. When deciding on which ticketing system to use for a live show, consider the following factors:

  • The price of the tickets
  • % service charge by the ticketing platform
  • % charge by payment fees 
  • The delivery method of the ticketing platform 

Ideally, a system that has the lowest charges, is robust and automates ticket delivery is going to be the best option. Do some research to find out those that best suit your needs, you can find some of the best ticketing platforms on our resources page. 

Advertise the show

Advertising a show is probably the most important job that a promoter does. A lot will depend on the size of the show, the location and the resources available. 

One key thing to know about advertising it’s that if you’ve thought you’ve done enough, you probably haven’t! Many people underestimate the amount of work and time needed to promote a show correctly. 

Another word on agents here is that they will often want to sign off on the artwork to ensure correct logos and agreed positioning (headliner/support act, etc.). 

For large shows (10,000+), the lead time for promotion and advertising could be up to or over 12 months. 

Clearly, in today’s world, marketing events online is the key place. However, there is a big difference between being a prolific USER of social media and being a COMPETENT promoter on it.

Concert promoters must be very good at understanding how to use social media for business. Here is another post on how early you should start to promote an event on social media.

It’s really important first to understand who your target audience is, then serve them relevant and timely advertising and promotion in places they will see it. That goes for both online and offline advertising. 

If there were three general areas to focus on, they would be: 

  1. Listing on the venue website and included in the venue email drop
  2. Building your own email list (if not the venue owner)
  3. Build hype on your social media channels.

Arranging the riders

There are two types of riders that most concert promoters will be concerned with, the technical rider and the entertainment rider. Both should have been agreed upon in advance with a band’s agent or other representative. 

Mostly the technical rider should be fine; a concert promoter should have a good sound engineer to hand. Many of the technical staff in the industry work as freelancers, so it pays to maintain a good relationship with a handful of the crew, so they always have people to call on. 

Most of the fun comes from agreeing to the entertainment rider requirements that will include food and drink for the band and their crew, alcohol requirements, number of dressing rooms and much more. A good concert promoter should not be afraid to push back on the agent if they think anything is unreasonable. 

Again, with both of these, failure to provide the detail agreed upon will result in major headaches for the concert promoter on the day. The key is being organised in advance to ensure everything is taken care of.

Set soundcheck and performance times

The concert promoter will need to specify the set time in accordance with the venue’s curfew times. This varies depending on their license and, in particular, if the venue is outdoors (likely to be earlier). 

Concert promoters will also set things like the band ‘get in’ time, sound check times, opening times and running order. There may be a requirement on finishing times due to licensing or noise restrictions.

What skills do you need to be a concert promoter

Being a concert promoter is a tough job, but potentially hugely rewarding. . But those opportunities are often few and far between, so what other skills are important? 

A concert promoter needs the following skills: negotiation, organisation, excellent personal communication, financial management and marketing.

How to become a concert promoter

You can search for concert promoter jobs online, (set up a job alert on major job websites), but in my experience you should seek work experience with a local venue or concert promoter, offer to help, have a flexible schedule and be open to learning new skills.

You do not need a bachelor’s degree to be a concert promoter, most of the skills you need you can learn through experience.

As you gain more experience you may want to try promoting your own events. Start small and then grow from there.

Do promoters make a lot of money?

Discovering the next big thing and booking them just as their profile is taking off can help to really earn a concert promoter good money.

How to organize a gin-tasting event

Gin cocktail

Hosting a gin-tasting can be an enjoyable and easy event to organize for your friends or colleagues. All it takes is some delicious gins, the perfect glassware, flavorful garnishes – mixed with a sprinkle of knowledge about each drink – for you to create an evening that’ll tantalize their tastebuds!

Organizing a gin event requires the following components; Introduction, Education, Tasting & Mixing, Make You Own followed by Questions

There is a vast range of gins and ways to drink, enjoy and learn about this spirit. Cocktails, on the rocks or with a mixer, are all great ways to showcase the drink and allow people to understand, taste, and identify different gins and what makes them unique.

In the last few years, gin has seen a massive spike in popularity with record volume sold in the UK with sales surpassing £2bn in 2019. Gin has left behind the ‘old fashioned’ image and has become one of the trendiest drinks to sip. The popularity of this drink does not show any signs of slowing down anytime soon, with it being declared as ‘a nation’s firm favourite’ in the drinks industry. 

This makes the humble gin a great focal point for an event, whether it be for just amongst family and friends or whether it’s a larger scale ticketed event. Like gin, no two events are the same. 

Make sure your next gin-tasting event is spectacular with these creative tips and tricks! From organizational pointers to helpful hints about making it a truly unforgettable occasion, we’ve got you covered. So raise those glasses – the perfect G&T awaits!

What happens at a gin tasting event? When it comes to the exact plan and running of a gin tasting event, it can vary depending on your preference and ideas. There is no right or wrong way to run, plan a execute a gin tasting event. However, I have set out a rough template and some key things you could include when mapping out the running order for your event.


Start by giving your guests an introduction to your event and gin as a whole:

  • What is the schedule for the night?
  • What gin(s) you are presenting and why


Although you don’t want to bore your attendees, some short, punchy facts and figures always go down well, helping to add credibility to what you are saying and doing at the event:

  • History of gin
  • Recent popularity
  • Distilling process
  • Botanicals
  • Overview on flavours
  • Mixers and garnishes


It’s a good idea to taste both gins and mixers separately showcasing how they work both alone and with each other (the craft gin club have lots of tips to help you with this).

  • Show your customer a range of gins, e.g. pink gin, fruit flavoured, floral, fruity etc.
  • Let them sample, smell and taste them.
  • Do the same then with mixers, e.g. tonic, soda, juice etc.


It’s nice to taste and learn about the spirit but even sweeter if you get to have a go yourself. 

  • Let your attendee choose their favourite gin(s)
  • Allow them to create either a cocktail or spirit with mixer and garnish. 
  • To add an extra element of fun you, as the host could judge these and pick a winner (perhaps win a bottle of gin).


Swot up on critical facts or get an expert in to cover any detailed questions on the spirit.

Other ideas

You also have the option to choose to disguise the spirits and do a blind tasting to prevent people from making their mind up based on a brand, description, or aesthetic.

Simply decanting each gin into a jug or carafe can help keep the gin looking classy but removing any other information. (Just make sure you label them well so you can quickly identify which gin is which!).

As with any event, a gin tasting event is very much up for individual interpretation so, although the above offers a rough guide, don’t feel you are limited to this. 

How do you start a gin tasting event?

An excellent place to start is to have a think about what kind of gin tasting event you plan to run.

To start a gin event, you need to consider the target audience, the venue, the pricing, marketing and licensing and which gins to showcase.

  • Is it for a special event, e.g. hen do, birthday etc.? 
  • Is it just for family?
  • Is it to make money, e.g. for charity or as a business?

Once you have this streamlined, it will help you to focus on the tone of the event and level of professionalism you will need, as this will vary depending on whether it’s for family, friends or paying customers.

Target Audience

A great starting point is identifying your target audience. Who is it that you are planning this tasting for? This is an essential factor, especially as different people’s preferences will vary. For example:

  • Family and friends (more casual and low key)
  • Charity event (professional and seamless event needed)
  • Hen-do/private gin tasting (higher expectations and standards)


It’s a good idea to get your venue booked in from the start. Not only is it a critical piece of information ticket holders will want, but also gives you a focus and a starting point. You can pretty much hold a gin tasting event wherever you desire (within reason when you have alcohol present) as the event requires little specialist equipment.


Buying alcohol isn’t cheap, so you will need to consider that. Saying that though, most consumers would expect to pay more for an event where you are sampling alcohol.

You need to consider your out costs and from then work out a ticket price to ensure you breakeven and more so make a profit. 

Example out costs:

  • Spirits, mixers and garnish
  • Venue
  • Staff
  • Glassware and equipment. You can hire these at a low cost if you don’t want to invest. 

Say your overhead costs come to £700 and you aim to have 40 people attend, if you charge £40 per ticket that’s a total revenue of £1,600. Remove your out costs and your net profit is £900.

*Please note this is an example only and not a pricing guide.

Although you always need to break event, be sure you have a look at other similar events and what they are charging. You don’t want to overprice yourself and not sell tickets. See our guide to pricing event tickets. 


Getting the word out about your event depends on who you are targeting and why you are running the event. 

For example:

  • If you are running a gin tasting event to raise money for charity, a great way to market is to utilise the charity’s connections, social and media channels. 
  • On the other hand, if you are marketing your event for the broader public in order to make money and run a business, simple and cost-effective techniques including word of mouth and targeted Facebook adverts (based on location, age, demographic etc.) can be really useful. 
  • Another great way to market your gin tasting event is to look into a partnership. Teaming up with a local distiller or event glassware provider can help widen exposure when it comes to spreading the word and selling tickets. 


  • If you are doing this in your own or a family member’s home for an informal tasting, you don’t need any form of licensing. 
  • You will need a licence to cover the serving of alcohol for paid-for events.
  • This depends on where you hold the event. E.g. if it’s at a venue with a premises/licensed bar you will be covered under that. 
  • If you are going to a non-licensed premises, you will require a licence for serving alcohol.

Which gins to showcase?

Identifying and writing down the best gins is very subjective. What you might like and see as the best gin, another may hate!

One piece of advice here is variety! Make sure you have a range of gins on hand to help suit all taste pallets and preferences across the event. 

Broadly, gins typically fall under the below categories. Depending on budget and availability, it would be advantageous to have at least one gin from each of these.

  • Classic dry gin
  • Citrusy gin
  • Floral gin
  • Spiced gin
  • Savoury gin
  • Fynbos gin

Although many of these gins can be purchased simply and easily at most supermarkets, this leaves little guidance for you when picking them out. Heading to an independent bottle shop or store selling spirits will mean that you can tap into and utilise an expert’s knowledge. This also will help you swot up on crucial information to present at your tasting event. 

What’s more, using an independent or standalone bottle shop often then means you can buy the gin on a sale or return basis. This will mean that if you go a little overboard on the gin order, and are left with a lot of stock, you can get your money back and not lose out.

It’s not just the gin spirit itself you should consider when planning. Below I have set out a few things that really help make a gin tasting event fly. 

Using the right glassware and pours

  • Serving the spirit neat lends itself well to a tumbler. However, if you plan to use the same glassware to subsequently add in garnish and mixer, a gin glass, stemless wine glass or brandy balloon glass works best. (This is because it means you can get your nose in to smell the gin!).
  • It’s advantageous to use the same style of glass across the evening as changing the glass can improve the flavour and then the experience for your guests.
  • How much you want to serve someone in ml is up to you. However, on the whole, 25-30ml per serve is a good size.
  • Make sure you use a drinks measure to ensure everyone is getting the same (you don’t want squabbles over who got more!).

Garnish and presentation

  • Like the gins itself, variety is also essential when it comes to garnishes as these can enhance and change the gin when drinking,
  • It’s often a good idea to try the gin without a mixer or garnish first to see what flavour notes you can taste before adding.
  • Think outside the box. Don’t just stick to a slice of citrus, herbs and spices also work really well in a gin-based drink. 
  • As a rule of thumb, you are usually trying to enhance or compliment the botanicals used in the gin. E.g. a citrus gin add some lemon rind.
  • Finally, don’t forget your ice! You always see drinks filled with ice, and there is an excellent reason for this! The bigger the ice cubes and the more of them, the more effectively they will work to cool the drink, melting slowly so as not to dilute the gin. 

A few tips:

  • The zest of a fruit will lift any drink with tonic, but having a slice can sometimes make the drink a bit too bitter.
  • When using herbs (like when making cocktails or cooking) make sure you manipulate/bash them a little (not so much that they fall apart) so they release their aroma and oils. This will help enhance the flavour and smell when drinking.
  • Spices work perfectly in a savoury gin but, by nature can be quite overpowering so use sparingly.

How do you host a gin tasting event?

When it comes down to hosting a gin event, you have two principal options. Either you recruit the guidance and expertise of an event manager to plan, manage and organise the whole event for you or you take it into your own hands, and design it yourself.  

If recruiting someone to plan it for you, there are a few things to have in mind to help them make the event everything that you desired. These include:

  • Number of attendees
  • Time of day/year
  • Preferred setting/venue
  • Budget 

The event manager will then guide you throughout the process, touching base regularly to ensure that they are providing and planning what you want and need.

Hosting an event yourself can seem daunting but is relatively straight forward. If you decide to host your own gin tasting event, there are a series of critical steps you should consider and follow to make your event successful. I have broken these down below into rough sub-headings to help you plan out your event efficiently and effectively. 

Do your research!

There is nothing worse (especially if you have paying customers) than someone running and or hosting an event with little to no knowledge. Not only does this look very unprofessional, but it will leave you feeling embarrassed, and the event experience being lowered significantly.

You don’t have to be a trained expert to know all the essential facts. You also don’t have to know everything! If someone has a question on the night, you can’t answer, tell them you will follow up after seeking advice or researching. 

You have one of two options. An easy option is to get an expert in (contact a local distillery who, for a fee, might come along and spread their knowledge). Alternatively, do it yourself. No two gins are the same, so tasting, researching, and learning about gins can be a fun way for you to expand your knowledge and prepare for an event.

Top tip: Ginventory is a useful app you can get up on your phone, which has over 5000 gins inputted with recommended garnishes and mixers. Saves lots of time and have been tried and tested by gin experts! It’s also free – extra bonus!

Glassware, mixers and spirits

  • It’s easy to underestimate the number of glasses you will need for a tasting. 
  • As a rule of thumb if you are serving six samples work on six glasses per person. To cut down glassware, you could do 3 per person as 6 requires a lot of space. This means doing the tasting in 2 rounds and thoroughly washing the glassware in between.
  • Make sure you use a ml measure (we have all been tempted to free pour!). This will mean you can work out, depending on the number of attendees, how much gin you will need in advance. You don’t want to be running out at the event.

Tasting – the main event!

In the drinks industry, there is actually a right and wrong way to taste gin (who knew!?). It will add an extra layer of professionalism if you guide your attendees through how to correctly taste the gin.

  • Serve up a shot of gin over ice and encourage your attendees to swirl the spirt around the glass (this allows the initial notes of alcohol to evaporate and is easier on the nose!)
  • Next suggest a gentle sniff and a small sip, encouraging them to swirl it in their mouth before swallowing (this helps them get a good taste of the botanicals in the gin).
  • Next, you can get them to add a tonic or mixer and taste again.
  • Finally, add in the garnish to top it off and taste again. This will then allow your attendees to see how the flavour profile of the gin changes as you add in the extras. 

Final Tips:

  • Providing a jug (to spit in if they really hate it) is advantageous.
  • Having water on hand to help people cleanse their pallet is also a good thing to have.
  • Having some plain water biscuits also helps clear the pallet between gins.
  • Having paper and pens for people to write down notes is a great addition, especially as alcohol is involved and memories might start to blur!

Hopefully the above has given you an insight into what goes into a gin tasting event and has helped you with a good starting point to organise your own!

How to organise a quiz evening in FOUR easy steps

How to organise a quiz night

Welcome to the complete guide to organising a quiz night. Organising a quiz night is a  popular event and can be a great way to engage with friends and family or to help a service business or charity. Pubs and bars host quizzes as a means of entertainment on a quiet night to boost trade. They are great at building community events and cohesion; everybody can enjoy a little bit of competitive spirit when playing a quiz.

There are four key steps to organising a quiz night: 

  1. Select the right quiz venue
  2. Promote the quiz
  3. Choose a good format and topics for a quiz
  4. Run the quiz

I have lots of experience with quizzes. I previously developed a weekly quiz that took place from 6 pm every Friday in my venue. The reason for choosing this time was because the venue was generally quiet before the evening rush. 

Still, we noticed they were an increasing number of professional offices nearby, and we saw an opportunity to attract an audience going for a drink after work. It turned out to be a huge success, so I’d like to share some of the knowledge I gained from that experience.

Quizzes are great for quiet nights in a venue or can work really well as part of charity fundraisers.

How does a quiz night work?

Before we get into the four steps, let’s start at the beginning, with some general points.

If this is to be a regular quiz, you need to be consistent. Make sure that people have a fantastic experience, that the questions aren’t too difficult or easy, and that you’ve got a real incentive for them to play and you’ll be sure to get people coming back regularly.

Organising your first quiz is not as hard as you might think and is something anyone can do. Quizzes usually involve attendees paying an entry fee then answering a series of questions. You will also want to divide your quiz into rounds so between 10 and 15 questions in each. 

This allows for breaks where players can refresh their drinks or use the toilet.

If you plan to hold quizzes regularly, then try to keep the format consistent, same day of the week and time, same entry price, team arrangements and question structure. Doing this will help to build a loyal and steady following.

A quiz night will need a host, often the same person who also writes the questions, but this isn’t essential. The key thing to maintain is a pleasant atmosphere and correctly paced questions, and the host plays a significant role in this.

FOUR steps to running a quiz night

So, let’s look at the detail of the four key steps to go through when organising a quiz evening. This post will focus on quizzes that take place in person.  

1       Selecting the right quiz venue 

Perhaps you are the owner or manager of a venue with aspirations to put on a quiz night. If this is the case, skip forward to section 2. If you are looking to find a venue and run a quiz, then consider thinking about the following qualities when looking for your venue:

  • Is the venue the right size? Consider how many people you might expect to attract to the event. Having a large space with only a few participants in will have a negative influence on the atmosphere. While a bustling and busy venue might seem to be a good thing, people still need to be able to sit down at a quiz. It is important to strike a balance.
  • Does the venue have a sound system suitable for your event? Alongside a good host, having a good sound system is vital. You need one which enables the host to be heard clearly. Try to avoid any technical issues such as feedback or distorting through the microphone as this can be quite off-putting to customers. 
  • Is there a complicated venue layout that might hinder people hearing questions?  Some older bar and pubs may have complicated layouts where people may not always be in the line of sight of the host. Unless the sound system broadcasts around the whole venue, the host may need to repeat some of the questions.
  • Is there adequate seating and tables for the amount of people you hoped to attract? No one likes to stand; you should make sure there are enough tables and chairs for people to use.
  • Can people easily access the venue on the night? For example, is there enough parking or public transport? Again, consider who your target audience is and how they will travel to and from your venue. 
  • Does the venue have the appropriate licenses? In the UK a premises licence is required for serving alcohol and hosting public entertainment, make sure you check your venue is covered, get professional advice if unsure. 
  • What equipment does the venue have? Remember that you should provide all of the equipment needed to run the quiz except any microphone and audio system that may already be in the venue. The latter is very important, and you should check that people can hear the host’s voice clearly and at a level that is appropriate for the venue. Too quiet, and people won’t be able to hear the questions but too loud, and people will feel annoyed.  More on technical equipment later.    

TOP TIP: Work through the above list when visiting venues to narrow down to a shortlist. If you already have a venue, consider each of the points and if you need to improve anything.

2. Promoting the quiz  

As with any event, you need to plan a marketing campaign that is focused on an established target market. Doing it this way means you can spend the least amount of money but reach the most amount of people who will be interested in your event. 

Who is the target audience for your quiz?

You need to consider who your target audience is. In the example I gave earlier, my quiz was very clearly aimed at professionals working in the nearby offices. 

The offer was tied into the usual post-Friday work drinks habit; we also knew that they would require food halfway through the quiz, so the quiz structured around this. Knowing your target audience like this can really help to structure their experience.

Figuring out your target audience in this way is technically known as segmentation and uses demographic, geographic, psychographic and behavioural data.

These elements are structured into customer personas that represent all of the features of your ideal target audience. There is further information on the different elements of segmentation in the video below. 

TOP TIP: Write down the persona of a person from your ideal target audience. It’s ok to have more than one by the way. For a quiz, I’d maybe limit this to three to avoid overcomplicating the advertising.

Choose the right advertising channels.

Choosing the right advertising channels for your marketing plan is about understanding the above target audience and then using the advertising channels that reach them the best. As with any event having a good website and social media presence can help boost your attendance.

The most popular social network is still Facebook but give some thought to who your target audience is and if any other social media networks may be appropriate. 

For example, if you have identified your target audience is between the age of 25 and 34  you might want to consider using Instagram to advertise your quiz as according to Statista this is the largest group using the platform.

Try to promote any Facebook groups or pages that you have for your quiz during the quiz itself. Think about including a QR code on your quiz sheet that people can scan that encourages people to like and share your quiz page on Facebook.   

Ask other local pubs with quizzes to promote your event and offer to do the same in return (as long as they don’t fall on the same day). 

Below is some example of online and offline advertising channels with some example of how they might be used to promote a quiz. Clearly, you need to do some more in-depth research about your target audience before using any of these to ensure they will be effective. 

These will hopefully give you some inspiration! 

NOTE: A general tip for social media, you should work to engage your users with fun content rather than just repeated posts about when the quiz will take place.

Online Advertising ChannelsOffline Advertising Channels
Create a Facebook group for your quiz, then post engaging questions during the week before the quiz to get people interested. Place Flyers in the venue during the weeks before the quiz. With permission, you could also put some in other bars, cafes and venue in the local area (always ask first!)
Instagram account to post interesting picture questions like Dingbats to encourage engagement.Posters with a QR code link to a mini-quiz. Encourage engagement with your posters by placing a scannable code to a mini quiz they can do on their phones. Offer a prize that can only be used AT your quiz like a round of drinks.
Build an email list. Like now! (see below) you won’t regret it.Make sure that posters are displayed in advance, and they are updated regularly to include information such as price pots and themes so that regulars see them and are attracted to attend. 
Website, a useful resource to direct people to from any offline channels through QR codes. Make sure you have some nice mobile-friendly pages for them to land on. Collect email addresses via your quiz sheets, then add them to your email list. 
Facebook ads. If you have some budget for advertising, you might get a better return from these than the cost of printing flyers.Reach out to local sports teams or workplaces to encourage them to enter a team. A little friendly competition is always good!
Use Facebook events, make sure you personalise the quiz each week. Press releases. These can work if your quiz is a one-off, for charity or If you have some amazing prizes. 

TOP TIP: For each of the target audiences you created above, write down THREE of the top online channels you can reach them on. 

TOP TIP: Consider THREE of the top offline channels where you can reach them.

Build an email list

Building an email list of your regular quiz attendees is possibly the most important thing you can do. While social networks have a part in advertising your event, you are still at the mercy of how companies like Facebook operate. 

In recent years they have moved their algorithm (the programming that decides who sees what) to favour paid adverts over organic traffic. Bottom line: not everyone in your Facebook group sees the posts you put on.

The great thing about having an email list is that YOU own it. It’s never going to be subject to another business changing the rules about how they operate. 

There are email marketing providers that help to design simple but effective emails that you can send out and even automate in some cases. Most are very easy to use and include drop and drag design. 

We have several recommendations for email marketing providers on our resources page, many of them offer a free tier for lists below 2,000 people. Using a reputable email service also helps you adhere to data protection laws such as GDPR in the European Union

A great way to start building your email is to create a mini-quiz on your website, then link to it via a QR code on your poster, include a leader board to encourage competition. You could use something as simple as Google Forms for this, which is completely free. 

Another excellent method to build your email list is via the quiz sheets where you can ask for email addresses to join our mailing list. 

Starting an email list for any event is one of the best things that you can do, and it reaches directly into someone’s mailbox rather than having to rely on social media algorithms which have become increasingly difficult.

TOP TIP: Set up a free account for an email marketing provider, see our resources page for the current recommendations

TOP TIP: Collect email address at each event, making sure you adhere to the relevant data protection rules in your locations (GDPR in the UK). Quiz answer sheets with disclaimers are an excellent way to do this. 

3       Choosing a good format and topics for a quiz?

What format for a quiz?

Again, it pays to be consistent in this area. You should try to have the same number of rounds and questions each week to ensure that regulars become familiar with the format of the evening. This could include certain themes or different types of rounds, such as picture rounds.

If you write the quiz yourself, be sure to do your research, the last thing that you want is to ask a question and give the wrong answer, chances are someone in the audience will call you out, and this will devalue the entire evening!

TOP TIP: There are plenty of options online to purchase ready-made quiz packs. We’ve included some of the best on our resources page.

Most quizzes are team-based with up to 8 in a team, although you may want to stipulate a maximum number in your rules.

A quiz can take two forms, self-paced or paced. Self-paced is where you supply a quiz sheet with all of the questions printed on it already, players then fill out the answers in a time you stipulate. While this is easier to run, it doesn’t encourage as much competition and entertainment between teams.

Paced quizzes are most common and require a quiz master to host and read all of the questions out. These types of quizzes are best at getting some friendly competition going between teams. Sometimes you can include self-paced questions within rounds of paced quiz, particularly during a break. 

TOP TIP: If your event is a one-off, then you should consider themes and a format that is easy to follow as everyone will be doing it for the first time.

How many rounds in the quiz?

The number of rounds and questions will depend on how long you have to do the quiz. A standard weekly quiz might be anything from 20 to 60 questions. Any more than this and it may take too long, and people will lose interest. 

TOP TIP: Try to avoid making quiz rounds too long, a good rule of thumb is around ten questions. This structure allows you to have short breaks in-between and for people to buy food or drink and have any comfort breaks they need.

With any quiz, try to vary the subject of the rounds so there is some variety and people with different interests stay engaged with the questions. Popular quiz rounds include music, general knowledge, food, sport or history.

One way to make the questions interesting is to connect them to the target audience. Perhaps some questions on the history of the place they live, for example?

If writing the questions seems like a challenge, there are plenty of books and kits available on Amazon which have ready-made questions or is possible to buy and download quiz question packs from the internet. Both will help to remove the pressure of thinking up questions, particularly if you’re doing it every week. We’ve listed a few of our favourites on our resources pages.  

Special Rounds

In addition to regular rounds, you may want to consider including special rounds. This introduces some variety to the quiz and allows for a longer break in reading out the regular questions rounds. Some common examples of special rounds are:

Picture round Teams are given a handout with pictures and questions (about them). They self-complete the handout. Example: Name the actor/actress
Dingbats roundTeams have to identify common phrases from visual clues.
Name the song roundTeams are given some lyrics from a song and must guess the song. 
Anagram roundTeam must work out the correct word or phrase from an anagram. This can be done using a handout, as it will reduce teams asking for the spelling of the anagram.
Name the album coverHandouts with just artwork on. Be sure to hide or mask any text on the image!

4       Running the quiz event

Setting up the venue

Make sure that you arrive at the venue in good time so that you don’t feel rushed trying to set the event up. It can often make the difference if you circulate the venue reminding people there is a quiz on or you could distribute information leaflets to the tables informing people what the quiz will involve.

What equipment will I need?

A lot of the equipment you need will depend on the venue size and shape. Venues like bars tend to have their own equipment installed, which is great if you can use that. If not, then you might want to consider a portable speaker system.

You will also need a microphone of some kind. You can either go for a wireless microphone that will allow you a little more freedom to roam around the venue or a wired microphone. 

You can buy a budget wireless microphone, but generally they are more expensive than a wired microphone.

Finally, you should consider a music source. It’s probably best to have some background music for the start and in-between rounds. Something like a phone with a Spotify playlist will do the trick. Depending on your location, you may need to check if the venue has the correct license in place to play recorded music. In the UK check  The Music License website for more information.

TOP TIP: Check out our resources page for our key recommendations on equipment needed.

How to host a quiz?

One of the key elements of running a quiz night will be the host. The host becomes the face of your quiz; they control the pace of the evening and the all-important atmosphere. If you are confident using a microphone, then you can fulfil this role yourself. If not, you should consider someone else who is good at public speaking and who can respond and interact with the audience.

Here are tips for hosting a quiz evening

Be clear about the rules of the quiz. You will not want to leave any ambiguity in the rules, and the host’s decision should be final. Make sure you phrase questions with a source, for example, “According to Google, what is the tallest building in the UK”.

Avoid conflict at all times; be fair to every team. It is JUST a quiz after all.

When it comes to starting the quiz, make sure that you give your audience plenty of time before the first question. Take your time reading the questions and read them twice, possibly offer the audience a chance to repeat once more if they didn’t hear.

How long should a quiz be?

One of the things that you’ll need to establish with your target audience is the most suitable time to start your event. Bear in mind some audiences such as parents may be time-constrained, so bear this in mind with your start and finish time. 

You should also consider how fast a pace you need for the quiz. The pace should relate to the number of rounds and questions that you have. The last thing that you want is for the event to start feeling like it is dragging, and people are clockwatching wondering when the questions will end. 

Vice versa to this too short, and people will feel that they haven’t got value for money. 

Top TIp: A rough suggestion would be no longer than two hours that includes breaks as you go along and includes the time required to go through the answers and award any prizes. 

Pens, Pens and more Pens

You can never have enough Pens for a quiz…FACT! The tricky bit is remembering to collect them all at the end!

Entry Fees

Again, the price you charge will come down to the target audience and how much value you think you are providing. In my experience, a quiz-goer has a very low expectation of price. You’re probably talking £1 or £2 maximum to enter. 

If you are running the quiz as part of a fundraiser, you could make it clear to the audience and ask for a higher entry fee. The other way around this is to look at how you can add extra van.

Dealing with cheats

At the end of the day, a quiz is just a quiz. They’re intended as a bit of fun or entertainment. You may find that you get participants who become overly competitive or do decide some under the table phone checking for any answers that they don’t know. 

Really it comes down to how strict you want to be in policing this; you may find the rest of the audience self-polices themselves.

Top Tip: If you want to have a rule about no one using their phones, then make this clear at the start of the quiz in a light-hearted but firm way.

As mentioned earlier, avoid conflicts at all times as this never ends well for either party. 

Marking the answers

When the time comes to mark the quiz, you really have two options (if using traditional pen and paper)

Mark the answers yourself. This method is probably the least favourable option, it’s incredibly time-consuming, and you could open yourself up to a possible mistake. Not good if someone wins by one point! 

Teams mark each other’s answers. This method involves teams marking each other’s answers. Best bet here is to provide quiz answer sheets with two columns, so everyone writes the answer twice, they then tear the answer sheet in half down the middle. One is retained while the other one passes on to be marked. 

Other top quiz tips

Consider using fun technology to make the experience more engaging, like Kahoot. 

Consider offering a bottle (or two) of wine on tables as part of a VIP package. This allows you to charge a premium price for those willing to pay.

Raffle off chances to win donated items or services.

Hold a silent auction using several tables with staggered closing times.

Raise funds with a craft beer tasting or wine tasting between rounds.

Have some fun contests like scavenger hunts for odd items in purses or wallets.

Conduct trivia night prize drawings between rounds.

Offer bake sale goodies for teams or individuals to buy.

Use numbered corks to hold a wine pull raffle of donated bottles.

Do games of chance such as guessing the number of marbles in a jar.

So there you have it, four steps to organising your quiz night!

How do you set up a stall at a Festival?

Festival Truck

Finding a starting point to attend any event can be daunting, especially when you are going somewhere where there is likely to be heavy competition. Below I’ve set out an array of tips and suggestions to help you effortlessly prepare and set up a stall at a festival based on my own experience of running events.

To set up a stall at a festival, look online for any application page or contact details. You will apply by either by completing their application form or emailing them directly providing all their required information.

Before diving in, I will break the process down into three rough categories/steps as follows:

1.Finding events to attend:

Go to an event’s websiteLook for trader sections/application forms or contact details
NetworkUse fellow traders as an example when it comes to planning which events to attend.

Talk to event planners – they might be able to offer a discount or offer recommendation/contacts

Facebook groups like Festival Traders UK 
Event finding search toolsStallfinder* is a useful website to help breakdown events planned across the year

Stall and Craft Collective* is useful for craft and arts events

Pedddle* list local markets and events

*UK events only.

2. Reviewing finances and applying to trade:

Working out the financial benefitsCost of site space and/or % of your event profit the organiser might take vs expected sales and out costs (all your effort needs to be worth it).
Application forms/enquiringYou will need key information for this e.g. business name, copy of insurance, site space required etc.).

3. Event set up and running the stall:

StockWorking out stock orders to cover the whole event (look into sale or return on non-perishables if you are unsure of quantity).
Essential kitHave a chat with the organisers as it varies event to event what they supply you, e.g. power cables, floor matting etc.

Bring along some basics – scissors and duct tape can go a long way in some crises!

You’re probably wondering what are the time scales, how much is this all going to cost me, and how do I go about setting up?

Look no further as with experience both organising a festival with stallholders, as well as setting up and activating a stall at a festival; I have plenty of top tips to share.

How to find and approach festivals

One of the golden rules I have learnt is to start the process in plenty of time. The lead time for applications varies depending on the popularity, scale, and reputation of the event. Still, often the more prominent and more well known the event the earlier you will need to book.

As a rough guide, the pitching process for some of the UK’s major summer festivals starts in the autumn of the year before you plan to activate. That said, if you are looking to go to smaller scale, you can often get a site space closer to the event depending on popularity.

As a rule of thumb, the earlier you book in, the more likely you are to secure all your desired site at a festival.

Where can I find festivals to attend?

A simple way to find events near you can often be a simple search on the internet. However, this often can bring up a lot of information you will need to sift through. Stallfinder is an easy to use website that I have used numerous times before to help locate and identify a series of events broken down by the following:

  • Geographical location
  • Event/festival type
  • Date/month desired
  • Keywords, e.g. vegan, burgers, music festivals etc.

Some simple networking with organisers and fellow traders is also a great way to not only find out about different events but also to get in/get you preferential treatment when you apply to trade at an event. The event industry is a well-connected community, often the power of referrals or sharing tips and contacts can help you get into some of the most desired events.

How do you apply for a festival stall space?

Often you will need to go to an events website. Typically, on here, there will be contact details for the event’s organisers and/or an application form that you will need to fill out. From experience, there are a few core things that are always required, so it’s good to have to hand before you start the process:

  • What you plan to sell
  • The site space you require
  • The stall set up you have (is it a food truck, trailer or just free-standing tables and a gazebo?)
  • The dimensions of your stall and how much site space you require
  • What your electrical, Wi-Fi and water requirements are if any
  • Your contact details and business number/information/insurance
  • How many parking/entry passes you might need across the event

From someone who has trawled through applications from stallholders for an event, if there was one tip to share it’s the more streamlined and organised your application and setup seems, the more attractive you are.

Additionally, if you can keep to a minimum both number of passes needed and site space size requested, you’ll have a much higher chance of getting offered a site space.

This doesn’t always happen, but you may be asked for photographs. Even if the application doesn’t request pictures, but you can send some over, do so.

A picture can speak a thousand words and bring your stall to life for the organisers. It’s worth getting some good quality photos of your stall or truck (dressed nicely, good background etc. all help make you stand out more).

How much do stalls cost at festivals

There is no one cost fits all when it comes down to price as this depends on a series of factors e.g.

  • Size of event and reputation
  • Number of hours and days the event is live
  • Time of the year
  • Size of your stall and space required
  • What extras you might need, e.g. power, water etc.
  • The organiser’s % cut of your profits (often around 25–30%)

Below I have set out some examples to give you an idea of costs for site space *please note this is based on previous experience and is not an exact cost.

EventEvent footfallAverage cost (across the whole event)
Music Festival (e.g. Glastonbury)153,000£15,000 – 20,000 depending on site size power requirement etc. plus circa 20% earning
Food Festival (e.g. BBC Good Food)75,000£650 – £3,000 depending on site size
Music festival (e.g. Cheltenham Jazz festival)20,000£2,000 (plus any power etc. needed) or 20% total takings *whichever is greater
Food Festival (e.g. Brighton VEGFEST)10,000£300 – £650 depending on site size

On top of the cost for the site space, you will also need to consider your usual business running costs. Once you have these estimated/allocated, you will get a clearer picture of how much you will need to sell to breakeven and make a profit.

Although not limited to, these will be:

  • Your food/stock cost (and cost of samples if offering them)
  • You and or your staff’s wages
  • Fuel costs/costs to and from the event
  • Cost of renting or running power
  • Licencing and insurance (Public and employers’ liability as well as stall and stock insurance).

Top tips:

Consider cutting down your menu. You can work more efficiently, serve more people, and produce a higher volume of food.

At some smaller/less well-known events, pitch fees can be negotiated so don’t be afraid to haggle!

What equipment will I need to set up a stall?

Although this will vary depending on the type of stall you have, over the years, I have set up at enough events to know the key things that are always good to have, as often finding a shop that sells what you need is impossible once you arrive on site. Alongside your actual stall/truck and stock it’s always good to have the below:

– Power cables to hook up to generators (check with organiser what you require if you are unsure)

– Tracking or matting (the organiser may provide this, which you will be thankful for if it is a wet/slippery surface).

– Sundries/cups, cutlery etc. (check with organisers as you will be required to work in line with their event mission e.g. recyclables & no plastic. – this could be costly later on if you don’t check).

– Chiller and storage

– Basic tools e.g. hammer, screwdriver, duct tape, zip ties, scissors! (you never know when this might come in handy).

Tip: Make sure you ask the event organiser what they are providing before you go as there are times when each party assumes the other is providing something on the day when it’s a bit late!

Although not a complete one size fits all guide, I hope some of my tips and experiences will help you in setting up your stall at a festival.

How Can I Get A Free Venue? Six Top Tips

Events can be expensive if you’re on a budget or just starting. You will be shocked to see some of the rental or hire costs of some venues so anything you can do to the venue for free or at a discount is going to massively help you.

There are six steps to follow to try to get a free venue: Ask correctly, approach venues on quieter nights, use an online venue finding service, Use co-working spaces or use some personal space.

To give you some idea of what a venue can cost, I used to run a 1,000-capacity music venue that had a hire fee starting at £1,000. I also once hired a 10,000-capacity arena for a show, and that cost £20,000 a day.

Tip 1: ASK in the correct way

Asking might sound like the obvious answer to the question, but the reality, it’s about HOW you ask. I’ve seen year after year through my event students, a hesitation in picking up the phone and calling a venue. 

Be mindful that a ‘cold’ email to a venue asking for free venue hire is unlikely to get you very far. Venue managers are busy people, and when they see an email like that, they find it very easy to ignore. Trust me; I was that person for over ten years!

The key is to do your research, understand the type of event that the venue has hosted in the past, what would they be looking to get out of any hire agreement, would they consider a profit share deal and what work can you offer to do that will help them to reduce the venue cost?

Put all of that together into a proposal that outlines the benefits of the deal and event. Call them or visit the venue to introduce yourself, tell them about your plan and ask if you can email over the proposal. Offer to follow up with them in a few days.

Most importantly, don’t cut and paste that proposal text into a dozen emails to different venues. You need to add a personal touch to build a relationship with the venue.

Tip 2: Approach venues on quieter nights

Depending on the event you want to organise, approaching a local bar, pub or restaurant may be a great idea. If you’re looking to host a social event, these types of venue will be very interested in listening to you.

They may be willing to let you use their venue on a quiet night for free, perhaps on a percentage split basis or minimum spend.

There can be two types of percentage split. Under a ticket percentage split, you agree to share some of the ticket income with them in exchange for free venue hire. If it is your first event, this can be a great way to keep your venue cost down.

The second type of percentage split is on food and drink. Again, the venue hire is waived, and you split the takings or profits from the bar. Be clear about which of those two figures you will be working to as they will be very different.

Takings are the actual money coming in, paid by customers. Profit can be either gross profit (after the cost of the food and drink has come off) or net profit (after all of the venues costs have come off). Ideally taking a % split from takings is your best option, but don’t expect to get 50:50!

In both cases, you need to have a degree of trust with the other party that they will share accurate data on income. Profit splitting should be recorded in a formal agreement or contract between both parties.

In the case of a minimum spend arranged with any venue, there will not be an upfront hire fee for your venue, so it appears free.

However, the people you bring to the venue will be required to spend at least the amount of money specified by the venue. If they don’t, then you will be subject to a venue hire fee. This method puts the risk on the hirer rather than the venue to make the event successful.

Tip 3: Use An Online Venue Finding Service

The internet is full of venue finding services, and they can be a great resource if you’re not familiar with the area where you want to host an event. That said, they tend to favour business events over social as they are dominated by venues such as conference centres, hotels and leisure facilities.

That’s not to say that if you do enough research, you might be able to secure a free venue. One trick to try is to look at which venues have recently opened or been taken over by new management. Check out the Tripadvisor score (if applicable) and see what kind of reputation the venue has.

A poor venue that has recently been taken over by new management will be keen to get events through the door to try and improve any review scores. You could certainly use this to attempt to secure the venue for free, with perhaps a minimum spend or percentage split on food and drink.

You can find good venue finding websites in your region using Google, but here are some of the more interesting ones here in the UK:

My Community Space (UK-based)

My Community Space has more of a community focus to their listings, although there are some commercial office listings included. Many of the listings have prices attached, but it may provide a starting point for you to negotiate! (UK-based)

Venue scanner allows you to search across major cities in the UK for different types of venue space. Their filters will enable you to search by the number of people, your budget and type of space. They have some venues listed that have a ‘minimum spend’ rather than a hire fee. This will likely mean you won’t pay an upfront cost but will be required to have your guests spend a certain amount on food or drink. (UK-based)

Venuefinder doesn’t carry as much information about prices and search results are mainly restricted to those venues who have paid to be in there, although one-line listings are included for other local venues. The focus is on hotels, business centres and leisure facilities over community spaces, but it might give you some ideas.

Tip 4: Use Community Spaces

Using community spaces is a great way to secure a free venue. Many community spaces will have social objectives (over purely economic ones) that they are required to meet. You should do some research into a venue space to try and see if your event meets those social objectives.

Community spaces include venues like village halls, school buildings, churches, museums or parks. There is a real variety of spaces available out there if you can put in the time for some research.

Community spaces are often run by part-time volunteers so be prepared to wait for a response to any emails.  Be nice in responding, understand they are only volunteers!

Tip 5: Use Co-working Spaces

Co-working spaces often have communal areas that they allow people or tenants to use for meetings and events. Approach the space operators to see what they can offer in terms of a deal.

These types of workspace are popping up in towns and cities across the world, so some proper research might be able to help you. Try to pick out spaces that are about to open or have opened recently. They may be more likely to give a discount to get people using the venue in the hope it will attract more regular tenants to the space.

Tip 6: Use some personal space

Finally on this list is using personal space at your own home if you have it. This depends heavily on your personal circumstances, and if the space is suitable for the event, you want to host.

Daytime or early evening meetings with just a handful of people may be possible. If you have a smaller space or a family (particularly young kids!), then this option may not be good for those.

This is not to discount hosting business social events at your house. People (in my opinion) do like to see a personal side and this something that has changed in recent years.  


A final thought on this topic: venues have staff and overheads that need to be paid. Be realistic about what you ask for and consider the fact that while the venue may be free, you may have to pay for other costs such as equipment hire and refreshments. Try to make the deal as fair for every party involved; you never know when you might want to use the venue again in the future. Pick up the phone or visit the venue; this shows real interest, emails can be ignored!

Is owning an event venue profitable?

Starting an event venue business is no small undertaking. It requires a lot of work and dedication. Many of the people who chose to open a venue do so for a passion.

The profitability of an event venue is dependent on factors such as reputation, customer spending power, customer acquisition and retention, marketing and sound financial planning.

There is such a wide range and mix of different types of event venues; answering this question in a couple of sentences is difficult. Making an event venue profitable takes time and lots of hard work. You need to understand the market that the business operates in and who will the customers be.

Do event venues make money?

The short answer to this is yes, absolutely, as long as they are managed correctly and have a good strategic plan in place. Any business will need a solid business plan in place before opening.

This business plan should include vital information about the target audience for the venue, the type of events it plans to host or attract and a marketing and financial plan. All of these should be justified with as much research and supporting data as possible.

The business plan should contain SMART objectives that give the owners a direction and metrics by which to measure their success. They can also be useful when things don’t go to plan you need to understand where changes are required.

How do event venues operate? 

Typically, event venues will operate their events inhouse, or they will provide the venue to someone else for a rental fee. While the latter is nearly always the one with the least risk, it can lead to less income as the ‘hirer’ takes the event profit.

This article focuses on event venues which are privately owned, but it is common to find publicly owned entertainment venues. While many of the principles in this article may still apply, often publicly owned venues are driven by social outcomes over economic ones like profit.

Let’s look at three common sectors of the events venue industry,  entertainment venues, wedding venues and business venues.

Entertainment Venues

Entertainment covers a wide range of venues including nightclubs, live music, bars, cinemas and casinos.

In entertainment venues, the margins can be incredibly tight, and the business model is often based on selling drinks or food as secondary sales while customers are on site.


Nightclubs typically operate from late evening to the early hours of the morning. Beyond this, the options for extra business can be limited (mainly due to cleaning, bad odours, sticky floors, etc.) so there is real pressure to maintain profitability during minimal opening hours.

To achieve this profit, food and drink will be priced at a premium and staffing costs kept as low as possible.

Live Music Venues

Live Music Venues are similar to Nightclubs in that their trading window for profit can be very narrow and limited to only a few hours per day when a concert is happening. 

Running a profitable Live Music Venue requires good contacts to book the right artistes to play. You need to be very clear about who the target market is for the venue and try to stick to that.

If the venue is a large concert venue, then it may have minimal opportunity for trading outside of music gigs. On the other hand, a smaller venue may be able to operate more widely during daytime hours.

There are of course other options for daytime hire for those larger concert venues. They could consider offering the venue for other types of events and meetings. This approach may depend on several factors. Venues used for live music often suffer from poor odour and sticky floors, so a formal business event during may not be suitable.

Natural light is not a requirement for Live Music Venues, so they often have no windows, again something that doesn’t lend itself to daytime hires.


Cinema falls into two categories generally, chain and independent. Large chains of Cinemas run to a formula that they consider to be the most efficient at generating profit for them.

This formula might allow them to benefit from economies of scale in buying power for things like the film licenses, popcorn and ice cream. Again, managing staffing levels is key to maintaining profitability.

Independent Cinema aims to be unique and offer something different from the big chains. Creating a unique experience often comes at a cost (licensing fees, staffing, etc.) so their pricing may be a little higher to be profitable.

For this reason, understanding who the target market for these venues is critical as they will be a lot more niche than the mainstream cinemas.

Outdoor Cinema venues have increased in popularity in recent years. Often taking place in car parks or parks they require all of the infrastructure to be installed on-site (e.g. bars, toilets and seating).

This work makes them a costly option on a one-off basis. Still, people will pay a premium for difference or quirkiness so again, having a defined target audience will help to ensure profitability. 

Wedding Venues

Such is the breath of the wedding market across the world that it still represents a hugely lucrative business.

In the US the number of weddings is falling, but the spend per wedding is increasing, which is good news for wedding venues and suppliers. The average amount spent on weddings in the US is £33,900 (source) while in the UK it is £36,000 (source).

Wedding venues have the potential to be highly profitable but focusing on some of the critical ingredients is key to unlocking that potential.

First of all, the staff are key; they must be attentive to clients as this can make all the difference in recommendations in the future.

This attentiveness doesn’t just include the front of house staff, but also the staff and suppliers in the background. Being flexible is key to helping a couple have THEIR perfect wedding day. Understanding this is crucial.

The venue needs to understand it’s market. No venue can be all things to all people; it’s just not possible. Once you have a good understanding of the target audience, then everything about the marketing, sales and experience can be geared to them. 

You could choose based the target market on things like

  • Type of Budget (high or low)
  • One particular theme (check out this link to for some ideas)
  • Location (beach, countryside, city etc.)

As with entertainment venues, wedding venues require a lot of hard work and perseverance to succeed and become profitable. Many owners and managers love the industry and providing dream days is the reason they started.

Business Venues

According to the 2020 BVEP UK Events Report, business events are worth £31.2B. It is a vast industry that spans exhibitions, conferences, political meetings, incentive travel, corporate hospitality and meetings.

While the equipment and theming for entertainment and wedding venues might be expensive, the entry-level of business events can be a lot lower, depending on the target market you’re aiming for.

This is not to say that this industry also enjoys a very lavish top end with huge amount of money being spent on major events lead by big business brands such as E3, SXSW or the World Travel Market

The venues that host these types of event need to be huge and know that the margins they can charge make them very profitable.

So, what about the other end of the scale, smaller business venues like hotels, conference centres or even a local village hall. For these, day-to-day meetings and business events can be very profitable and often support their other social activities.

Typically these events will only require minimal set up with tables and chairs, plus some audiovisual equipment. If the venue already has these, then the cost is merely staff to set up the space.

Finally, any business event venue will need a pricing structure to recharge services such as refreshments, catering and additional equipment. This ensures there isn’t any ‘creep’ in profitability as the client asked for extras as the event gets closer.

How do you become an event venue owner?

There is no denying that buying bricks and mortar venues is an expensive business. If you’re keen to get into this business, this could be a huge barrier.

But perhaps that isn’t the end of the story, and if you’re prepared to put in the work, there may be another way if you are keen to get into the industry.

You could look around your local area for a venue that is currently underperforming or one where you can see the potential for another use, as with any business venture you need to research the local market thoroughly to see if demand is there. 

You could approach the owner to see if they might be interested in a profit share for those events that you can bring to the venue. This profit share would be a win-win for both parties as they get their venue used when it would have been empty, and you get an income without having to own the space.

One final thought here, do you need to have a permanent venue? Perhaps you could look to see if there is an option to use a public space where you can host regular events?

Local governments often have a range of spaces they allow people to use. This space could be a lower-cost entry point for you to start running your events.

Other options here include renting disused warehouse space or venue sharing with another organisation. Get creative!

What impacts the profitability of an event venue?

Let’s look at some of the critical factors that affect the profitability of a venue. In many cases, being able to raise your price for the same service is key to this.

In the same way, managing your costs are equally as crucial to maintaining a healthy profit level. If you fail to manage your expenses (or recharge them to the client), then you will find the profitability drops significantly.

Like any business, failing to manage costs is often the cause of most problems in running a successful event venue.

Target Audience

Any event venue needs to have a clearly defined target audience, and that target audience needs to be able to afford the hire fees or services that event venue provides.

Defining this target audience ensures that you only spend marketing budgets, reaching those who will be interested in your event venue.

Start by figuring out some of the key attributes of your target market. These are commonly geographic and demographic features:

Example geographic features

  • Are they local, regional or national
  • How far will they travel
  • Does climate affect your venue (e.g. seasonality for outdoor spaces)
  • Cultural considerations
  • How dense is the population around your venue

Example demographic features

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income levels
  • Family lifecycle
  • Marital status
  • Ethnicity
  • Education level
  • Employment status

You can use a pick of these (and many others) to create a profile of your ideal target market. Sticking to this audience in all of your marketing and promotion means that the money you spend is highly targeted and so hopefully gains a better return on investment. 

Location and facilities

The location of the venue impacts the price of hire. Areas that are convenient to get to and have excellent transport links will be able to attract higher rental fees.

In a similar sense, facilities like car parking and on-site accommodation can also increase fees and thus improve profitability. 

Locations that have great natural beauty can also be valuable to specific industries, particularly weddings.  Here, excellent backdrops for photos are a necessity and so having this on-site will increase the appeal (and hopefully price) of the venue.

Venue Reputation

Having an excellent reputation allows a venue to charge higher prices as it will be more in demand.

This is more money for the same space, and so profitability is increased. Getting a good reputation takes time, and you need to offer a consistently high-quality service to all customers.

93% of people (source) say that review impact their purchase decision so you should be encouraging happy customers to leave a review. Check out the top ten review sites here your venue could use.

There are a couple of things you can do to encourage this. First of all, just ask them! Either do this via email afterwards or encourage them to leave a review using posters or other subtle messages around the venue.

Other ways include incentives (like quizzes), making it easy (scannable QR codes) or use social media sites like Facebook or Instagram.

As with any industry, people only tend to leave reviews when they have had a fantastic experience or one which has been terrible. To keep your profitability up, you need to make sure they have the former!

Finding and retaining business

When running your event venue, finding clients is one of the most critical jobs in your organisations. You may have the skills as a salesperson, but if you don’t, you should employ someone with venue sales experience to ensure you have a steady supply of bookings coming in.

Not only that, but you must retain clients for future bookings. According to Forbes, it cost five times as much to find a new customer than it does to retain the ones that you already have. It is more profitable to retain customers than to find new ones.

When you consider that context, it’s worth putting more thought into the customer experience to ensure people come back to use your venue time after time and boost your profitability.

Understanding recharges

Recharges are those items that don’t come as standard with your standard venue hire packages for clients or customers. When someone comes to hire your venue, you need a clear starting point for what you charge.

You may have an all-inclusive package but be clear about what this actually ‘includes’. Clients will often push for extras that can erode any profit margin in a booking; it can be challenging to say no if you are keen to retain the client.

The solution to this is to have clear hire packages and then a price list of recharges or extras for things like refreshments, catering or equipment.

Good financial management

It goes without saying, and this one has been left until last as the singularly MOST crucial way that an event venue maintains its profitability.

Any event venue won’t know what the level of its profits is if it doesn’t tightly control its cost and what money it has coming in.

There should be regular reviews using high-quality monthly accounts that are kept up to date. If you don’t have the expertise yourself or inhouse, you should consider using external accountants!

Other questions

How do I price my venue?

Venues need to charge what their customers will pay. This process starts with research into your target audience and competitors to see what they are charging.

How do I start an event venue business?

Any event venue business needs to start with a detailed business plan that includes information about research, target audience, a budget, a marketing plan and other business operations. It needs to justify why you think this business will work and why you are the person to take it forward.



SXSW Festival

World Travel Market

State of Online Reviews

What does an event management company do?

I’ve been working in events for over 20 years and teaching events management for nearly 10. It’s a common question that I get asked regularly, and while the answer is simple, it also has many different facets depending on the various sectors within the industry.

An event management company oversees the project management of an event, including the planning, budgeting, promotion, delivery and evaluation.

Events can be complicated and take months of planning to deliver. Understanding the concept of their management is not something I learned overnight, but it is something I experienced after many years working in the industry.

What is the concept of event management?

If we understand that every event is a project as a starting point, then this becomes a lot easier to understand. Event management is a form of project management applied to events.

The events industry is wide-ranging and features a variety of different sectors all with their quirks and particular demands. Some of the significant event sectors that event management companies work in are as follows:

  • Festivals and music events,
  • Weddings and other personal events,
  • Exhibitions and trade shows,
  • Conferences and convections,

As you can imagine, the demand required in each of these sectors can be very different. Event management is a stressful job at times. According to, In 2019, being an event coordinator was voted the 6th most stressful career in the world. The only careers to outrank it were being a broadcaster, a firefighter, an airline pilot, a police officer or in the military.

That might sound all doom and gloom, but it isn’t! I can testify from personal experience working in events and delivering amazing experiences for people is one of the most rewarding careers you can choose.

Event management companies employ people who have fantastic organisational skills, who work well under pressure and can deliver an outstanding project on time.  

The ability to juggle lots of different issues, manage a variety of stakeholders and all within a tight timeframe is needed. Having excellent interpersonal skills is key to an event management company.

What is the role of an event management company?

Event management companies perform project management duties that deliver an event based on an original brief, in some cases that a client may give.   

In many cases, event management companies are hired by regular businesses to deliver an event on their behalf, where they have no specialism internally.

And in other cases the brief maybe an internal brief where the company is designing their own event.

Event management companies perform a variety of different roles for an event. Some companies will only specialise in one particular area, such as catering or technical equipment. In this situation, there may be an over-arcing event management company with many subcontracted companies providing specialist services.

Some of these services might include:

  • Technical and Audio-Visual Equipment
  • Catering
  • Artiste and speaker management
  • Security
  • Ticketing
  • Decorations and Theming
  • Production and staging
  • Safety Management
  • Marketing and Promotions

It is unlikely that one company may be able to provide all of the services that one event requires. By their nature events are one-time occurring phenomena and each one is different. 

This constant change is part of the appeal to people working in this industry. As a result, there often needs to be multiple collaborations between different event management companies in response to each project.

So what are the tasks that an event management company might undertake? This work will vary depending on the event, but broadly:

Client brief response

Initially, event management companies may have to go through a tender process to win the business from the client. This process will involve suggesting creative ideas, setting realistic expectations of a delivery time frame, the budget all wrapped up in a pitch.

Developing the concept

Once the event management company has been appointed, they will then work with the clients to understand how they can deliver their ideas within the brief. 

This process may involve explaining why things are not feasible and suggesting alternatives. At this stage, they should also set some SMART objectives for the event to be able to evaluate successfully later.  

Maintaining constant dialogue. 

Event management companies will maintain close communication with the client through the project management and planning stages as they develop the final plan for the event. This planning requires a high level of responsiveness to change.

Promotion of the event. 

If the event management company has been asked to promote the event, then this will involve the development of suitable branding and an event marketing plan that meets the needs of the client and the target audience..

Safety and Licensing. 

The event management company will work with any local authorities to write any required risk assessments and other safety documentation. 

They will also be responsible for applying for any licences or permits that the event requires.

Booking Entertainment. 

The event management company will have to book and manage any speakers or artists for entertainment reasons. This includes dealing with any forwarding. Forwarding is when the artist provides technical and other requirements for their appearance or performance.


There may be a significant amount of production required for the event in which case the event management company will liaise with additional subcontractors to deliver elements like staging, lighting and sound. These elements all play a role in providing a fantastic experience for attendees.


Evaluation is often overlooked as an area, but is so often key. The client may require data and evaluation to justify any funding or future events. 

The event management company should, therefore, undertake evaluation based on the original smart objectives to ensure they have been met

What are the benefits of using an event management company?

Saving time and money

While employing an event management company might seem like an initial high cost. it’s worth remembering that the cost is buying the expertise and knowledge of the event management company and their network of trusted suppliers. They may also be able to get better deals the client could source solely on their own.

Utilise specialist creativity, expertise and knowledge

From a clients perspective delivering a WOW factor is essential. Event management companies have experience of providing regularly. They will be able to help deliver a memorable experience for the client.

Professional execution of event

As we saw earlier, running events can be stressful. Without the appropriate experience, potential problems will arise. Event management companies are very good at planning, and having contingencies in place should the unexpected happen. This is where the real value of using an event management company can be felt.

The latest technology

Good event management companies will be on top of what the emerging and leading technology is for events. Event technology is an area which is constantly changing, and it can be difficult for clients to keep up with the latest technology. So the expertise from an event management company in this area can be invaluable but also deliver a fantastic experience for attendees.

Managing Risk

An event management company should have expertise in delivering safe events and advising the clients on risk. The consequences of not sufficiently assessing risk in events can have huge financial and reputational damage to the client. It gives the client peace of mind that professional safety experts have considered all risks associated with any event.

Managing the budget

A client is keen to ensure that the event is delivered within budget. Again from the expertise of an event management company, they may benefit from better deals with suppliers but also can plan and to include any contingencies that may be needed. Without this event risks running over budget.

How often should you promote an event on social media?

It’s certainly a given that you should be using social media to promote your event online, but are you posting too much or too little? 

Does this even matter?

Posting too little could mean a lack of traction for your event and no one sees your posts, while over-posting could be spammy and equally a turn off for people.

Luckily Coschedule went through 14 different studies to see what the ideal frequency was for posting online. In this article, we reflect on how this impacts onto event promotion.

You should promote an event on social media at the following frequency:

  • Facebook: 1 post per day or five posts per week
  • Twitter: 15 tweets per day
  • Pinterest: 11 pins per day
  • LinkedIn: 1 time per day
  • Instagram: 1 time per day

One of the most prominent internet experts in marketing, Neil Patel makes a fantastic point about posting consistently on social media:

“If you post too infrequently, your audience will forget that you exist and you will quickly fade into the deep dark recesses of their minds. However, if you are posting too often, you will become a complete nuisance, and they will dread seeing your posts overcrowding their feed”.

Quality over quantity of post

While you’ve come here to understand what the optimal number of times to post on social media, an essential first consideration before that is understanding the quality always beats quantity in the social media world.

It is much better to post quality content at a lower frequency than it is generally posting too much. Of course, publishing high-quality content in high volume is unlikely to do you any harm. 

But don’t feel the need to pad out a schedule with lower-level content for the sake of it.

One way to look at it is how will each post adds value to the day of the person viewing it. 

When you’re trying to sell an event, the creation of value in this way can be demanding as you become distracted by click-throughs to your ticket page and anxiety about whether or not tickets will sell.

 If you’re like me, I easily to get distracted

While it is tempting to post information about your ticket page, that won’t necessarily add value to someone’s day. That’s why understanding the optimal number of posts is important.

Consistency on each social media platform is always key, try to establish a regular pattern of posting content and then stick to it. You might find this is a particular time of day that works well with your audience. Check the analytics on your posts and tweak as you go.

Set some goals about what you want to achieve with your social media promotion so that you’re able to measure success when it hopefully comes.

But what does all of this mean in the context of event promotion? Lets look at each social network in turn.


Hubspot looked at Facebook data from their 13,500+ customers to see if posting more often, helped to reach more people. They found that if a business had over 10,000 followers, then they were the only ones who saw a benefit from posting over 61 times a month (or twice a day) 


They also found that businesses with less than 10,000 followers received 50% fewer clicks per post when they published twice a day!

So if you’re a small event with less than 10,000 followers or you are just starting, you should consider sticking to the one post a day rule, but try to make that post amazing and give something of real value to your followers.

You might want to consider how a post can help to grow awareness of your event page or the event you have set up on Facebook.

Key Takeaway: You should stick to posting high quality, engaging content once a day or five times per week about your event.


Twitter is slightly different to Facebook posts as tweets have a very limited lifetime of 15-20 minutes, according to RevLocal. 

After this time, your followers have received enough new tweets that yours have been are pushed to the bottom.

Twitter uses a metric called Engagement Rate that refers to retweets, follows, replies, favourites and click-throughs received by your tweets. You should keep a close eye on how your tweets perform and at what time of the day. 

Again, understanding your audience and the content they like to engage with is key to improving this Engagement Rate.

The data from CoSchedules points to tweeting 15 times a day as the optimum frequency. Given that’s quite a few tweets it is worth engaging with some automatic software (Like Buffer) that can handle your social media queue and post automatically. 

Key Takeaway: 15 tweets is the optimum, but it that number and timing may vary for your audience. Key an eye on your Engagement Rate and tweak as you go.


Events and Instagram are seemingly made for each other. Events produce highly visual and engaging experiences that are intangible, so future events rely on imagery to sell themselves.

Because of this, much of the research suggests that one post is enough, but it must be of a consistently high quality that people on this platform expect.

Key Takeaway: 1 post may be enough, but you should put as much effort into making that post as high quality and value-creating for your audience as possible. 


Pinterest is one of the largest search engines in the world and has a very particular user base who like to curate boards with images and posts relating to topics they love.

In this sense, it allows someone to build their personal event experience through images before they come to an event.

When posting to Pinterest, you should share new pins as often as possible. It used to be the case that Pinterest favoured rapid repining of posts, but now seems to favour new content.

Pinning and repinning images 11 times a day can be time-consuming. Luckily there is an amazing program called Tailwind that will help to this for you. It also has some premium feature, like Tribes that will help to grow your audience. 

Key Takeaway: As with Instagram, use high-quality images. Pinning and repinning each day is time-consuming so consider using an automation tool like Tailwind.

How to auto post on social media

There are many great tools available which allow you to schedule social media posts in advance, so you don’t have to worry about posting each day. These tools will help you to streamline your workflow and save you time.

It would be best if you still tried to work with about a month of material in advance of posting. This volume should help to keep the quality of your posts high without the risk of nothing of having nothing to post.

Some of the more popular also posting programmes are listed below:

Buffer – This is a great tool that I’ve used many times before. It has a free version that lets you use a limited number of social media accounts for free. You can schedule regular slots each day for each social channel so that to can fill up your Buffer queue. If you are on a budget, this is a great starting point.

Tailwind – Made for Pinterest, this also covers Instagram posting so it’s got you covered for photo-based social media. As with most of these programs there is a free trial but the paid version gets you access to the premium features like Tailwind Tribes and Smartloop which help you to grow your following.

PromoRepublic – This allows you to manage multiple accounts in one place so might be worth looking at if you have several different event brands that you manage. You can even recycle old posts again, which is a handy tool for something like Twitter.

For other tools, check out our resources page as we keep that up to date with our latest reviews and recommendation on how to promote your events. 

I hope that has been useful, it’s often a question that I get asked repeatedly by students of mine, and so while no two events are the same, it gives to a good starting point. Always remember to focus on what your target audience likes to consume!


How Often To Post On Social Media? – CoSchedule

How Often You Should Post On Social Media Platforms

How to make an event site plan

With any event, you need an effective site plan for several reasons. For landowners, local authorities, licensing, staff, your contractors and of course for your customers. You may require different versions of a site plan for each of them.

Event site plans are created using professional design software on a computer to show all of the critical elements on site. Event site plans can 2D or 3D, be drawn to scale and form an integral part of any events operations and safety plan.

This post will focus on outdoor events, as these commonly require detailed site plans for things like licensing, but many of the principles can also apply to indoor events. The advantage of indoor spaces is that they are used regularly, whereas outdoors are usually one-time events.

Good event site design principles

You should first identify what use the site map is for; you can then decide on the most appropriate style of plan needed. Generally, site plans can are presented in 2D or 3D.

Any stakeholder that is involved in the detailed planning of your event such as local authorities or contractors will need a much more detailed plan, drawn to scale in 2D on a computer, also known as Computer-Aided Design (CAD). This type of map will have every small detail attached to it.

Example of a 2D Site Plan for planners

Customers may benefit from a much simpler visual experience. These types of site plan will not show all of the technical detail, nor will they be drawn to scale. They can often be presented in 3D by an illustrator rather than a CAD technician.

Example of a 3D Site Plan for attendee
Source: T in The Park // The List

Once you understand what type of site plan you need, you can move onto the specific elements that you will need to include.

Conduct a site visit

One of the most important things you can do before designing your event site is to go and visit the site taking notes and pictures.  You can learn a great deal from doing this and speed up the time it will take to make the event site plan.

In addition to this, you should consider the audience profile of the event so the site can be designed in a way to maximise safety for everyone attending.

Event site design is a crucial part of crowd management. There have been high-profile disasters where this has gone wrong which should not be repeated, and so this point can not be stressed enough.

There are many highly qualified and experienced event safety experts out there, so if at any point you run into difficulty, you should seek help from one of them. Many work on a freelance basis and may be happy to answer some simple questions without incurring too much cost.

For peace of mind, you might want to consider hiring a safety expert to support you through the process of designing the event site, particularly if you’re just starting or this is your first event.

There are several good guides available to help which have lots of information on this subject. These are listed in the sources at the end of this post.

In summary, you should be considering things like:

  • What is the available space?
  • What kind of viewing space is there for a stage?
  • What is the topography of the site?
  • What kind of access does the site have for traffic?
  • What are the ground conditions like (speak to the landowner for insight)?
  • Are there existing services like power and water on the site?
  • Are there any services might impact the site design such as overhead power cables, trees or underground services?
  • Are there any adjacent properties who might be impacted by the event?
  • Are there animals currently using the site who will need to be relocated.
  • What is the risk of flooding on the site?

Every event site is different, so you there may be other questions that relate to your event. Once again, it may save you time and money to work with an experienced safety freelancer to make sure you cover everything.

What should be included in an event site map?

Once you have all of the background information about the site you are using, you can start to think about the different components that are needed to deliver the event.

An event site map gives information about where all the different components of an event are located. The layout will clearly be different for each event, so the first job is to make a list of everything that needs to be included on the site map.

If you have run the event before then, use the previous plan as a starting point. If not, you could consider asking another festival operator (preferably one not in competition with you!) to see their site plan for a rough idea. 

Let’s look at some of the major components you are likely to come across in event site design and what considerations are needed for each.


Stages are often large major construction projects, so having their size and position reflected accurately on a site plan is very important. You need to consider the stage dimensions, if it is covered or open and where will the sound system or video screens be located.

Stages also need a sizeable backstage area that isn’t accessible to the general public, where artistes can prepare, and their equipment is stored.

Usually, the suppliers or designers of the stages will supply you with detailed drawings of the stage that you can then include in your site plan.

Other significant structures, like marques

Depending on what your event is, it’s likely you will have other major structures such as marquees, grandstands or custom-built elements. The suppliers of these structures should be able to supply you with the appropriate drawings to add to your site plan.

If you have a custom structure, then you may need to consider employing someone capable of drawing that structure in computer-aided design(CAD).

Concessions (Stalls, Food vans etc.)

When considering your concessions, you need to allocate sizes for them early on in the event planning process to allow you time to sell the space.

Concession stalls will need additional space behind them for storage and preparation so it may be a good idea to back them onto an access road or some kind of backstage area. This space helps them to restock through the event without bringing vehicles through public areas. 


Fencing is one of the critical elements that you need to include on your site plan. Fencing helps to direct people and is one of the most common forms of crowd management.

There are several different types of fencing, but the four most likely types you will come across are:

  • Crowd Control Barrier (CCB)
  • Heras
  • Steel Wall
  • Mojo (stage) Barrier
Crowd Control Barrier
Source: Safefence
Heras (Mesh) Fencing Panel
Source: Safefence
Steel Wall Fencing
Stage (Mojo) Barrier

All three of these have their place and use on an event site. In the UK, The Purple Guide recommends that use of fencing is risk assessed. Any use of fencing must not create more risk than those which it is intended to control.


Toilets are possibly one of the most important things you’ll need to include on any event site plan, particularly if you are operating a bar.

Depending on the country you operate in, there will be different rules on the number of toilets required so this is worth checking. The Purple Guide has a handy chapter on sanitation that answers many of these questions.

In general, you need to consider your audience. What is the demographic, how many are coming, and what other special needs their may require (e.g. baby changing facilities).

If you need to know how many male and female toilets are needed; this should be based on audience demographics or historical data. If this is not available, use a 50:50 split.

Toilets need to be positioned near to access roads so that maintenance vehicles can access them for emptying and cleaning.

Other considerations for the siting of toilets are space, systems for queuing, location to any camping and to catering vehicles (i.e. not too close!).


If your event doesn’t have any kind of fixed power already installed, then you will need to consider installing generators to power all of the required equipment.

As with toilets, generators need to be positioned somewhere where they can easily be accessed by maintenance vehicles for refilling, but also away from any noise-sensitive areas like camping as they can produce a lot of noise.

One final consideration is where you will route the large power cables from the generators. Thought needs to be given to how they might cross access roads or footpaths to prevent tripping hazards.

Backstage areas

Nearly all outdoor events will require some kind of private, staff-only area. At music festivals, these are known as backstage areas.

Access to and from these areas is controlled using fencing and other barriers, so consider where people and vehicles can go in and out.

They should be located with good access roads so that kit, performers and staff can come and go without interference to the attendees.

Sites with multiple stages often utilise one backstage area in-between them, with the stages directed away from each other.

Backstage areas should usually be enclosed with steel wall fencing or heras fencing with a covering banner. This affords maximum privacy to staff and artistes.

Queuing systems

While it’s a fairly common joke that we British love a good queue, it’s not something you want to get wrong. With the rise of the influencer on Instagram, your queuing problems can quickly turn into a PR nightmare. 

Managing the design of your queueing systems is not only good from a customer satisfaction point of view, but it is a key crowd management tool to ensure you keep everyone safe.

You, therefore, need to consider how many and where all of your entrances are going to be. Several factors such as crowd numbers, arrival time, flow rate, transportation and weather can all play a part in influencing the design of your queueing system.

Since recent terrorist attacks on events (like Manchester Arena in 2018) more attention has been focused on the various checkpoints leading to an event. These points include increased security checks that can often slow down your flow rate into the event.

Ticket checkpoints

Following on from queueing systems, it’s worth mentioning ticket checkpoints. There are a wealth of different ticketing systems available to event organisers that allow tickets to be bought online and then scanned on entry.

Whichever system you choose to use, you should calculate the likely flow rate through each gate. Sometimes the system provider may be able to tell you this. You should then ensure you have enough ticket checkpoints to cope with the number of attendees expected.

Emergency exits

The number of emergency exits will be a critical factor in determining the capacity of your event site, so it is essential to have a professional engineer run these numbers for you. The width of these exits should be on the site plan.

There is a wealth of advice available to help you understand this further; please refer to The Purple Guide, The Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds and (British Standard) BS EN 13200-1:2018 for the specific information.

The location of these exits will depend on the layout of other facilities on-site and will determine where people will go in the event of a full emergency evacuation.

Sterile route for emergency vehicles (blue route)

Sterile routes can be called several different things (I’ve heard blue route, green route amongst others) dependent on where you are. They are the same thing, a route that is for access by emergency vehicles only.

The route should extend from a transport road onto your site. It must be segregated so that it is always available in the event of an emergency.

Emergency services should be given a copy of your site plan in advance, so they understand where this route is.

Medical facilities

You need to show where each of the medical facilities is. The number of these required varies so check our post on understanding the requirements here.

If your event is significant enough to need ambulances on-site, then these should be in a place they can quickly leave the site in an emergency.

Welfare and Information points

As with the medical facilities, these are an essential addition to your event site plan. They should be in a high-profile location that is easily accessible for members of the public.

It is not uncommon for them to be close to the entrance of the event so that people identify them upon arrival.

Cash points

These are becoming less as important as more and more businesses switch to cashless payments, but many events still use cash. As with other facilities these should be located somewhere visible and where they can be accessed by vehicle and refilled.


Any event that runs into darkness will need additional lighting towers or other portable lighting systems to ensure footpaths are kept safe. The event site plan will show the number of and location of each of these.

It’s worth noting that sometimes these can be self-contained units with a generator on board, but others require a generator or power providing to them—either way, you need to consider access and maintenance issues.


Trackway will help to protect soft or uneven land in areas of heavy footfall or where vehicles need to move through the event site.

Waste Management

Your event site design needs to take into consideration how waste is stored, collected and disposed of. The festival industry is making huge strides into becoming more sustainable and reducing and recycling as much waste a possible is a big part of this. 

You will need to consider how waste will be collected from around the event, brought to the designated processing area and then removed from the site.

Other areas to think about

  • Signage
  • Lost children point
  • Event control
  • Media area
  • Road closures
  • Fire safety equipment

How do you draw an event plan?

Now that you have information about the site and the key components that should be on the event site plan, you are ready to start drawing.

There are plenty of software options on the market for drawing an event site plan; it comes down to what the document is for.

Let’s consider some of the options for 2D and 3D event site plans.

Drawing 2D Event Site Plans

When you need a site plan for official purposes, such as applying for licenses or permits, you will need to draw your plans to scale.

In the guidance from UK Premises License, the required scale is 1:100, where 1mm on your event site plan relates to 100 millimetres in real life.

It’s worth noting that these drawings can be substantial when you need to print them!

Generally, programs like AutoCAD from Auto desk can produce high-quality 2d event site CAD plans. These types of programmes are costly and take a long time to master, so you may need to employ professional companies to do it on your behalf.

That being said, Youtube channel, Event Site Design have some useful tutorials on using Autocad for event site planning:

However, another option has recently emerged through a company called Oneplan. Their software is web-based and uses Google Maps as a basis for your plan.

It has some handy features such as calculating area size, how many barriers you will need and ingress and egress flow rates. The pricing is significantly cheaper than a programme like Autocad as well.

Check out their website or see the video below.

Drawing 3D Event site Plans

If you require something a little less formal for your audience, then a 3D site map might be the way to go. 3D maps are something to send via email in advance or include in any welcome bag you may be handing out.

One great example is Icograms Designer which allow you to drop and drag different icons from their library onto a site plan. They have various levels of plans from free upwards and will design custom icons for you from $25. Check out their website here.


The Purple Guide to Event Safety

HSE event Safety Guide

Guide to premises licenses