A venue manager's checklist for effective concert schedule planning

A Venue Manager’s Checklist for Effective Concert Schedule Planning

Looking to capitalize on the recent surge in live music ticket sales? As the industry booms following a period of uncertainty, venue managers must prepare for flawless event execution. The success of your events and the satisfaction of your event partners will directly impact your ability to benefit from the growing interest in live music and in-person gatherings. Don’t miss this opportunity to optimize your venue management strategy and create unforgettable experiences. To help you do this, we’ve compiled a list of key actions to include on your checklist.

1. From concert schedule planning to showtime: Start by determining your venue’s capacity and technical capabilities

Before booking any shows, make sure your venue can accommodate the artists you’re interested in securing—and their production needs. Production planning is essential to your checklist because every concert will have different needs and purposes and, therefore, require different specifications.

Your list should include the following considerations:

  • Stage
  • Lighting
  • Sound
  • Technology
  • Decor
  • Props, etc. 

Taking the time to plan out the production elements of your concert will ensure a smooth execution and a successful event. Carefully evaluate the specific requirements of each aspect, and you’ll create an immersive and unforgettable experience for your audience.

2. Research upcoming tour schedules

Stay up-to-date with the latest tour schedules of popular artists in your genre. This will help you identify potential booking opportunities and avoid concert scheduling conflicts.

At this stage, the challenge for most venue managers who haven’t modernized their operations yet is tracking opportunities and easily accessing venue availability for clients. Paper trails and manual inputs add hours of extra time you don’t have (more than 40% of your time is wasted on tasks that could be automated!). You also risk bookings getting lost in your dozens of emails and other channels. 

venue manager checklist infographic 01b - Prism.fm
A Venue Manager’s Checklist for Effective Concert Schedule Planning 3

Today’s industry-designed tools and software help solve this issue and streamline operations for you and your clients. Look for technology that:

  • Easily integrates with your calendar
  • Automatically reports and releases holds on dates to trusted partners (for instance, releasing a date to the next client when a booking is canceled)
  • gives real-time notifications when holds are placed, updated, or confirmed
  • provides everyone with the information they need at their fingertips 

Implementing modern tools and software that provide these features saves you time and improves the client experience. With the help of these tools, managers can easily track availability, avoid double bookings, and provide real-time updates to clients. Not only will this improve your operations, but it will also result in clients wanting to work with you again and again, thanks to the streamlined process they know they can expect from you.

Related: Venue Management Software: The Key to Booking More Shows?

3. Analyze past ticket sales and audience demographics

Take a look at past ticket sales to identify the most successful shows and the audience demographics of those events. This will help you tailor your bookings to your target audience and maximize revenue.

There are dozens of ticketing systems these days, and you may already have one in place. Boosting the efficiency of your ticket sales means leveraging the power of integration. While a ticketing tool is incredibly valuable for tracking ticket sales, finding a tool that integrates with management tech you’re already using (or should be) gives you a whole new opportunity for growth. You could potentially measure ticket sales against other business data points like genre, bar per head and more to help give you strategic insight. 

4. Negotiate contracts and fees

Work with agents and promoters to negotiate artist fees, contracts, and rider requirements. Be prepared to negotiate a fair deal that benefits both parties.

This will come in the form of an artist agreement or contract, which often includes the following:

  • Client information
  • Concert information & terms
  • Concert timelines
  • Costs & payment terms
  • Itemizations
  • Details on the artist’s rights
  • Cancellation terms, and
  • An agreed-upon statement with names, signatures, and dates

Having a well-drafted artist agreement is crucial to ensuring that both parties are on the same page regarding the terms of the performance. It can help avoid misunderstandings and conflicts that may arise during the event. Ultimately, this agreement protects the interests of all parties involved and ensures a successful and memorable event.

5. Create a marketing plan

For venue managers, the best marketing plans usually involve great promoters who can help effectively market events. Find a promoter with a strong reputation and a track record of targeting the right audiences. 

You may want to market to local audiences through their social media channels or through an existing newsletter, but doing this won’t make a significant difference in your ticket sales. Instead, use discernment when booking artists and make sure they bring a strong marketing appeal or demonstrate existing popularity in their genre. 

In addition, choose artists that have busy social media channels with a strong following or who are featured on popular platforms. Pairing your marketing efforts with an artist’s existing marketability will increase ticket sales and get you the best return on your investment.

By implementing these tips, you’ll reach the right people at the right time and generate interest for your event. A well-planned marketing strategy can help you achieve your goals and ensure a successful turnout.

6. Secure sponsorships

Consider securing sponsorships to help fund your events and provide additional co-marketing opportunities. Brands are always looking for a great way to connect with their audience; more often than not, your audience is theirs. 

Benefits include offsetting event costs, building engagement between brands and attendees, boosting your marketing reach, and providing guests with more value and extra perks like:

  • Handing out swag
  • Running sweepstakes
  • Offering exclusive product experiences

7. Plan logistics

Make sure you have a detailed plan for event logistics, including staffing, security, parking, and transportation.

For instance, do you have enough team members to ensure a successful concert experience for guests? Evaluate the concert’s needs and goals, and use those aspects to inform your decisions on staffing. If you need more people, it may be as simple as gathering the right talent for each team handling the event. If you need more team members, you have two options when addressing the staffing:

  • Hiring more in-house team members —  recommended if you believe you’ll need these new hires for all, or at least most, of your events in the year. You want to avoid hiring too many members if you’re not going to need them all.
  • Outsourcing from a staffing agency — outsourcing staffing may be needed if you need more hands for only a select number of bookings. This way, you don’t have to fire and hire, as bookings fluctuate constantly. 

8. Prepare for emergencies

Have a contingency plan in place in case of emergencies, such as severe weather, power outages, or medical emergencies. Before you prepare and share your health and safety policies, reevaluate your current rules and regulations to ensure they’re up-to-date and relevant to today’s environment.

Check over:

  • Paperwork your venue requires from clients and suppliers
  • Insurance coverage
  • Fire alarms 
  • Security & security provisions 
  • Evacuation instructions, meeting points, etc. 
  • Local guidelines for health, safety, and accessibility (height, ramps, handrails, etc.)?

Regularly reviewing and updating health and safety policies can demonstrate your commitment to providing a safe and secure environment for everyone involved in your venue or event.

9. Evaluate the success of each show

After each event, analyze ticket sales, attendance, and audience feedback to evaluate the show’s success and identify areas for improvement. 

Plan for a post-event report that includes the basics (you can expand on the report as needed):

  • Concert summary: the concert was a success/failure, what was the net profit, the number of tickets sold, the number of people turned away, and feedback on the event.
  • Highlights: what were the high points of the event execution process? Emphasize highlights and point out what should be replicated in future live music events. 
  • Challenges: acknowledge the challenges you faced before (while planning), during, and after the event. Do you need more staff members to handle the outpouring of guests? Should you create stricter health and safety factors? Reflect on missteps, so you can improve moving forward. 
  • Income & expenses: Inform your future planning by including expected and unexpected costs in your financial report. It’s not uncommon to run into unforeseen costs, but detailing each time it occurs at an event in your venue will ensure you are adequately prepared in the future. 

Pro tip: Get started with technology that automates and simplifies your concert schedule planning

A venue manager’s concert planning checklist needs to be thorough, organized, accurate, up-to-the-minute, and open to collaboration. Every concert and event comes with a host of moving parts, making it essential that venue managers have a reliable checklist for planning ahead. 

Prism automates and organizes many of these elements, streamlining the details and allowing the venue manager to focus on what makes the concert unforgettable. Schedule a demo of our live music management software to see how we can help make your concert booking, planning and execution smooth and efficient.

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