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5 New Business Ideas to Expand Your Specialty Venue

Adapting Your Specialty Venue to Accommodate Other Events

As the manager of a specialty venue, you’re an expert in your field and great at bringing in the crowds for your event. But it could be time to start thinking beyond your specialty. Imagine opening up your venue year-round, or at least multiple times throughout the year – how much revenue could you generate?

We’ve got some suggestions for ways to expand your season with new business ideas you may not have thought of.

1. Music festivals or concert series. If your venue is not an amphitheater you may not have considered hosting musical acts, but it’s surprisingly easy to accommodate performances at an existing large venue. If you have space for a staging area with appropriate electrical capacity, you can host concerts. You’ve already got the space for a crowd, restroom, and concession facilities – all you need are the bands and the fans. Start your own local festival focusing on bluegrass, Celtic music, jazz, or simply a variety of local artists and publicize on radio stations. You can sell your own concessions or bring in local vendors for a variety of options for attendees.

2. Spooky haunts. The months of September and October are full of opportunity, with young people and the young at heart looking for a fun scare. Transform your venue into a place of terror by hiring local actors or students to be zombies and other scary creatures. Consider creating two separate attractions – one for adult thrill-seekers and one that is family-friendly. You’ll maximize profits and all your visitors will find something that fits their scare preferences. Be sure to also offer plenty of fall foods like hot chocolate, popcorn, funnel cakes, and caramel apples for guests to enjoy before and after their experience. You can even make Halloween-specific treats that will delight the little ones.

3. Flea markets and craft fairs. Antique lovers and bargain hunters are always on the lookout for flea markets. Contact local vendors and antique stores to gauge interest in setting up booths in a new location. You can host an annual event, or if customers and vendors are on board, make it a regular occurrence, whether weekly, monthly or another schedule that works around your existing events. Invite restaurants and bakeries to set up tables for a small fee to offer refreshments and more items for sale.

4. Christmas markets/winter wonderland. If your venue is primarily outdoors, you may think winter is off-limits. But that doesn’t have to be the case! During weekends in December, your venue can become a winter wonderland for kids and families. Local party companies can bring in actors to be Disney princesses – the Frozen cast will be a big hit – and you can decorate for a festival of lights after dark. Look into hosting ice sculpting contests and ask local farms about partnering to offer pony rides or even sleigh rides. Rent space for vendors to sell holiday gifts and have plenty of hot foods available to help guests warm up.

5. Corporate events. Many companies are now focusing on employee experience and engagement, and one way they do this is through team-building events and retreats. This is an especially lucrative opportunity for your venue if you don’t typically operate during the weekdays. Offer space for companies to bring in guest speakers, compete in teams, and bond with each other.

Thinking outside your current area of expertise can open up a variety of opportunities to repurpose your specialty venue for new audiences. For one example of successful change in action, check out the Renaissance Park Event Center, which opened in 1990 to host the Ohio Renaissance Festival for a few weekends each fall. The park expanded in 2015 to include a Celtic music festival, a Halloween haunt, and more.

Of course, any new venture appealing to the public should include plenty of food! If you’re thinking of extending your season for new opportunities, let Gold Medal help with concession advice, appropriate equipment recommendations, and menu ideas for your new audience. Contact us today.