The experts at Flint Bishop share their top tips to help identify opportunities that lie in your venue’s hospitality space.

To run a successful business it’s vital to explore ways to maximise opportunities. Holding events such as parties, concerts, film nights etc., can be a great way to maximise the use of both existing areas and otherwise unused locations within your site, whether indoors or outdoors.

Without curbing an event planner’s enthusiasm, before you order the balloons and print the invitations, please check your premises licence and licensing plan, to establish whether the areas you wish to use are already licensed. If your licensing plan has a red line around the area you wish to use, then the area should already be licensed. However, you should also read through your premises licence to see whether you have permission to carry out the activities you are planning. There is no point advertising an outdoor film night if your licence only allows music outside. Your premises licence will contain licensing conditions, some of which may also limit your ability to proceed.

It is likely that a premises licence application will be required if you are significantly changing the way you operate. An application will be circulated to numerous responsible authorities and also be advertised, giving both the authorities and local residents an opportunity to object. It is far better to avoid formal objections and maintain a positive relationship with the authorities and your neighbours by discussing your plans in advance of submitting the application. Even large hotels with expansive grounds and outbuildings, can attract objections, which can ultimately result in restrictions such as limits on the hours and number of events permitted.

It is always worth remembering that attenuating noise from a temporary structure is extremely difficult and so marquees and speakers need to be positioned whilst keeping your neighbours in mind. Noise travels, especially late at night. Liaising with neighbours when setting up events and monitoring sound at nearby properties might help to avoid complaints.

Selling tickets or taking bookings for events which then have to be cancelled will damage your reputation, and carrying out unlicensed activities is a criminal offence which attracts serious penalties and can lead to serious expense.

So, seek advice, check your licence and make sure what you propose is authorised before you get the party started!