VenuHub.com offers a centralized service for locating a space as well as vendors that meet the needs of party givers
With the January launch of VenuHub.com, event planning in the Denver metro area got a whole lot easier. You might even say that connecting with venues and vendors is now just a click away.
There is no charge to use the user-friendly website designed by Ligature Creative and supported by the members of the 10-year-old Greater Denver Venue Network. “Complete one simple form (on the website) and GDVN venues and vendors that match your criteria will reach out directly to you,” explains website founder Dawn Williams, the director of event sales and marketing for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and manager of its popular Seawell Ballroom. Response to queries is quick and complete.
Prior to VenuHub.com, event planners—be they professional or volunteer—often spent copious amounts of time searching for the perfect spot to hold events ranging from charity galas and weddings to product launches and networking receptions. They sometimes overlooked venues that they may not have heard of, or assumed would not be available for a particular function.
VenuHub.com’s preferred vendors, included on a list that will be updated twice a year, include caterers, florists, musicians, photographers, graphic artists and others who are known by the network’s members and have a history of high standards and quality work.
In addition to the website, VenuHub.com’s Facebook and Instagram feeds offer pictures from “vendors and spaces that we love.”
VenuHub.com’s purpose, Williams says, is to “take the heavy lifting out of searching. You don’t have to call every venue’s manager or visit every website. VenuHub.com does the sorting for you.”
The need for a central source such as VenuHub.com became apparent during the “lunch and chat” sessions that started in the 1990s by what was then the Downtown Private Dining Group—men and women who managed, booked or promoted such top-flight restaurants as The Palm, Morton’s and the former ESPN Zone. That group is now called the Downtown Denver Restaurant Leads Group.
Williams describes the venue network’s 106 members as an “incredible, collaborative group of people looking out for the best interests of the people we serve.” They represent 87 sites that stretch from Larkspur to Thornton and from Aurora to Arvada and can accommodate crowds ranging in size from 10 to 6,500. They include art galleries, historic buildings, museums, concert halls and even a waterfront property.
It was at the networking group’s monthly meetings that the idea for VenuHub.com came to light. Along with discussions about such venue-specific issues as contracts, insurance, liquor laws and job leads, members also would sigh and say words to the effect of “someone really should capture all of the data relating to vetted venues and vendors….” It was a spot-on idea, but one that languished until two years ago when Williams decided it was time to act.
“I interviewed a bunch of software and graphic design people and hired Ligature Creative, whose work I had long admired, and our idea became a project that quickly grew legs,” she says.
As director of the Seawell Ballroom, Williams was faced, almost on a daily basis, with event planners sharing how difficult it had become to secure a venue. Conventions may be a boon to Denver’s economy, but planners fiind that hotels are giving these large groups priority in reserving ballroom space. Organizers of charity galas have learned that if they don’t lock in venue space at least a year in advance, they’re likely to be out of luck.
“Settling on a date is a job in itself, so imagine the frustration when you finally get everyone to agree on one only to find a venue that you had wanted wasn’t available because it had been booked by someone else a year, or more, in advance,” Williams says.
Response to VenuHub.com has been overwhelmingly positive. April Anne Chase, venue director for the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora, describes VenuHub.com as a “great resource for planners and vendors alike.” Jennifer Robinson of AEG Presents likes how the website enables planners to “cast a wide net in a very time-efficient way,” while Nicole Johnson, who manages the event space Moss Denver, says she and her colleagues are “thrilled to be a part of such an incredible group of professionals that care so much about each other and their clients.”
Danielle Kelley, events manager at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, points out that “With so many amazing venues out there, picking the right one can feel like a lot to take on, but VenuHub.com makes it easy. Not only does it help you quickly narrow your search, but no matter what, you can be confident that you’ll be in good hands working with the most talented industry folks out there.”
“I plan events all over the Denver metro area and am so thrilled to have VenuHub.com as a resource,” adds Leah Brinks, who manages events and sponsorships for Mountain Living magazine. “VenuHub.com makes it super easy to find the right venue for each event.”
Williams is currently in the process of trademarking VenuHub.com and while she’s excited about its future, she doesn’t want it to grow to the point where it becomes unwieldy. “We’ve created this amazing machine and while we do anticipate expansion, we don’t want it to lose the human touch.”
Or the words that the VenuHub.com principals live by: Don’t compete. Collaborate!
Purpose: To simplify the event venue search
Founder: Dawn Williams, a 25-year veteran of the hospitality industry whose experience includes sales and marketing at several of Denver’s high-end restaurants. She is currently director of event sales and marketing for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and manager of its Seawell Ballroom
Access: Free to those searching for a venue or vendor
Backed by: The Greater Denver Venue Network, whose 106 members include Denver Art Museum, Bigsby’s Folly, Field House Event Venue, Mile High Station, AEG Presents, The Vehicle Vault and Walker Fine Art Gallery
Joanne Davidson has written about charitable fundraising events for The Denver Post for 30 years and during that time has fielded numerous calls from people asking if there was a central source for finding a suitable venue. With venuhub.com there now is.
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