Peerspace, Splacer, Spacebase, Bizly, MeetingsBooker, and other shared-economy venue booking platforms make it easy for planners to find non-traditional and unusual venues. Photos of locations, which include industrial lofts, churches, restaurants, and conference rooms are displayed along with hourly rates and booking terms.
“It’s like Airbnb for meetings and events,” said a Peerspace spokesperson about these booking platforms. Importantly, unlike Airbnb, platforms like Peerspace vet the properties they list.
Liese Gardner, a marketing and brand strategist and owner of Liese Garder Communications, has been on both sides of Peerspace. “I’ve used it to research venues and listed a client as a venue with them. Pricing and amenities are clearly listed. Booking is easy; you contract through them and there are safeguards in place for both parties.
“Booking a meeting venue is the last part of business travel to be bookable online,” noted Ciaran Delaney, CEO and founder Meetsbooker.com, which automates the RFP and booking process for small meetings in both traditional and non-traditional venues.
Erin Flannery, head of events for Lattice, often uses Peerspace to source and book one-of-a-kind venues.
“Unique venues are part of the reason people get excited about our events so we almost never use traditional meeting spaces or hotels. Peerspace makes it easy.”
“We hosted our first user conference in a huge industrial warehouse we found through Peerspace,” Flannery said. “The space was filled with brightly colored shipping containers and we set up a different activation in each one,” she said. “The visual effect was so striking that we featured it on our promotion.”
Elizabeth Giron, director of sales for Bixel & Co. uses Spacer and Peerspace. “Both provide a good user experience and interface, and as an event production and destination management company, we are always looking for new and unique venues.”
“Many clients return to Los Angeles because we are able to continually provide new options and these platforms help us keep up with new developments in southern California’s fast-moving revitalization,” noted Jonathan Lopez, Bixel’s director of marketing. He cited a converted firehouse in a hip, arts district as an example. “It was a perfect fit for one of our start-up tech clients.”
Lopez pointed out that while sharing economy venues can be less expensive, that is not always true. “Venues that are rented as raw space might look inexpensive, but that initial price can be misleading because once you add in everything you need, the cost could be equal to or higher than a traditional space.”
In addition, while the platforms make it easy to click and book, Giron recommends making the effort to visit the space. “Photography can be deceptive. We have never had a bad experience but spaces look cool on a website may lack curb appeal or look smaller or different when you are actually inside.”