How to run a freshers event at your nightclub

Ten considerations for running a freshers event at your nightclub

Student nights out are some of the most rewarding and exciting events in a nightclub’s calendar. Many operators will want to maximise their take by making the event as big and loud as possible, however with increased capacity comes increased risk.

NDML’s Fresher Event Checklist for Nightclubs includes the most essential considerations in order to run the perfect freshers event at a nightclub.

1. Insurance

The first thing all nightclubs need to do is double check their insurance policy. It’s important to do this first because purchases toward the event, such as equipment hire, bookings, stock and food or drinks receipts may not be covered by your original nightclub policy. A one off freshers event insurance addition might be required.

Public liability insurance for a fresher’s event is crucial. Event insurance is able to cover the repercussions of any slips, trips or injuries at the event, including lawyer fees and compensation. Insurance offers cover for equipment and money at the event. The details and extent of the policy can be curated to your needs to offer as much insurance as your event requires.

NDML clients should contact their broker before planning to put on an event, and we will be able to advise if an increase is required. We will then also be able to guide you through the process of obtaining a temporary increase to your policy limits. If you are not an NDML client, our account handlers will be able to advise you on the best course of action on maintaining adequate cover for a Freshers event.

2. Marketing Early

Both digital marketing and physical marketing are excellent ways of advertising your event. Publishing content about the event at your earliest convenience increases the chances of your event snowballing and being popular.

Social media has opened up a world of possibilities when it comes to promoting your events. It looks easy, but quickly you’ll find by posting your event details weeks before the date people will more often than not click ‘interested’ without following through.

The best way to ensure your invitees turn up, is to interact with your audience. Just sending an invite won’t cut it these days. If you’ve got previous event photos, post them. Make sure all the details of the event are clear and concise. Physical posters are easy to whip up and can be placed all over campus or town city centre. Make them brightly coloured and widespread, gauging the interest of your desired audience.

3. Get your venue ready

Discussing with your team about preparedness, decoration and health and safety is the best way to keep your fresher event safe and secure. When planning an event and increasing your insurance, the insurer will ask about your health and safety management system so have your risk assessments ready. At NDML we offer full risk assessment templates as well as advice on how to remain best prepared.

All new decoration and furniture changes need to be recorded and also address in the risk assessment. Accessibility is crucial, as is internal signposting and safe walkways. A liability claim can be catastrophic for both a clubs finances and reputation, so ensure all safety precautions are implemented and have been double checked before the event.

Remember, freshers won’t necessarily know their way around the city centre, therefore your event needs to be easy to find and well signposted. If food and drinks are what you want to provide at your event, do your third party caters have the relevant insurance?

Record the updated maximum capacity of your event and ensure your guest numbers do not exceed this. This may require increased security and security personnel. If you are planning to have a ticketed event, ensure you do not oversell the event.

4. Check your policy for exceptions

Operators of nightclubs and pubs will need to check their policy with their insurance broker before putting on a fresher’s event. No detail about your event should be ignored in case a risk was to be overlooked and prompt an unforeseen claim. For example, the use of outdoor space and possibility of flammable décor will need to be discussed, as will security. Capacity risks are critical and could lead to a void of your policy.

NDML are able to provide nightclub venue operators insurance increases needed to successfully run a one off event. We provide public liability insurance and equipment hire insurance and business protection within our commercial combined insurance portfolio.

5. What’s the theme?

Students love a good excuse to dress up. Choose a theme and run with it. This also bleeds into your choice of food, drink and décor.

If you have a big, bold and distinctive enough theme, word of your event will spread like wildfire through the university campus without you having to do too much marketing. Let your customers do the work for you – you could even purchase and sell costumes or props for your event to make a little extra cash. Have fun designing a special drinks menu which catches the eye of your fresher audience.

6. Consider the strengths of affordability

Students typically do not possess a lot of spending money. They are the expert hunters of cheap drinks and affordable prices. Don’t make your entry too expensive if you are planning to ticket the event, or the drinks.

Ticketing the event is a great way to lock in your guests, however it can also not work in your favour. Decide which is better for your particular event.

Students love freebies. Free merch is a great way to keep your guests engaged and advertise your event. Consider putting together a goodie bag to encourage returning guests.

7. Picking the right date

Look out for calendar clashes which could potentially hinder your guest numbers. If other huge events are happening on that night, maybe choose another date.

Choose a date when freshers are in their accommodation, but also not too far into the year as students will perhaps be more eager to socialise before any exams.

8. Bookings and entertainment

Getting the right entertainment has the potential to make or break a fresher event. Book the entertainment early and ensure your performers have the relevant performer’s insurance in place.  

Having a big name DJ at your event can be a guaranteed crowd-puller but it doesn’t always come cheap. Your resident DJs may have to change up their setlist for this event; take into consideration that the average age of freshers in 18-19.

Live musicians are ideal for large events, whatever the crowd. Your event could be a good way to discover future student music stars, and inviting student bands will bring with them guaranteed guests.

9. Photography

Ensure you capture moments from your event in case you plan to run it again next year. Have a photographer at your event so that you have a gallery of guaranteed good images to choose from when advertising your event next year.

10. Security

Security is similar to insurance, you don’t notice you’ve got it until you need it, and then you can’t imagine yourself without it.

Ensure you have enough doormen will help prevent those who you don’t want to attend your event to enter, such as if you want to keep your event for just students. And then when the invitees need kept in order, security are there to help with any confrontations or immediate health concerns. For events larger than 50 people, security is highly recommended.

If you own or manage a nightclub which is planning a freshers event, make sure you tell your broker!