How To Get Vendors for an Event: 9 Expert Tips

Vendors are integral components of any virtual or in-person event, from large-scale concerts and festivals to local fitness challenges and community celebrations. Getting top vendors to partner with you can help you attract more attendees and contribute to your overall success. But do you know how to get vendors for an event? The following guide can help. 

1. Tailor Your Vendor Selection for Your Type of Event

One of the first decisions you make during the event planning process is determining what type of event you’re going to hold. That decision will shape many of the other choices you’ll make as your event comes together, including the vendors you want to participate. 

Choosing the right vendors for your upcoming event — similar to choosing the right sponsors — is vital. Let’s say you’re hosting a 5k or other fitness event. It would make the most sense to partner with local vendors for events that offer health and fitness-related products or services (think running attire, healthy food options, etc.). Likewise, you might want to reach out to vendors that focus on eco-friendly products or services if you’re hosting a green festival. 

Selecting vendors that align with both your brand and your event type can help boost the chances that they want to be a part of it because they’re more likely to see the value in doing so. Plus, when vendors promote your event to their audiences, you can extend your reach and attract more potential attendees.  

2. Create an Irresistible Package To Attract Top Event Vendors

If you want to attract top vendors to your upcoming event, you’ll want to put together a package they’ll find difficult to refuse. Essentially, what’s in it for them? Sure, they get exposure to your event attendees — and they can meet other vendors — but what do you have to offer that makes it worth their time and effort to attend? 

To build an irresistible package, consider some of the following the needs of your vendors. For instance, some events require vendors to supply their own tables, chairs, and — in the case of outdoor event venues — tents. Could you supply those items instead and make your vendors’ lives a little easier? 

You’ll also need to consider fees and if you’re going to charge them. While you want to make a profit, you may not get much interest if most of your prospective vendors find the price of a booth too high. After all, vendors want to make money, too. And if you do plan to charge a fee, don’t be afraid to explain it. Show potential vendors why they should pay the price you’re asking to set up a space at your event venue.

3. Craft Individual Event Proposals for Different Types of Vendors

As tempting as it can be, especially if you’re looking to save time, avoid hitting copy and paste when crafting proposals to attract vendors. Instead, personalize them for different types of vendors for events. 

For one thing, what attracts food vendors is likely going to be very different than what attracts a vendor selling apparel or accessories. For another, a generic proposal isn’t going to have the same impact as one you put more effort into crafting. Now, each one may have similar elements, such as:

  • Information about your brand
  • The type of event you’re planning 
  • Details about your target audience and pertinent demographics 
  • Benefits for event vendors (your package information)

When looking at how to attract vendors to your event, a little personalization can go a long way. Get to know more about the vendors you want to partner with. Consider including a letter with each proposal that addresses each prospective vendor by name and includes a unique detail you learned about them. Doing so can show that you actually care about them and that you’re not simply asking them because of the money or attention they might bring to your event.  

4. Build Strong Vendor Relationships and Ask for Referrals

You’ve likely heard the saying, “treat others like you want others to treat you.” The same goes for your vendors, event suppliers, and everyone else you work with to bring your in-person and virtual events to life. 

Be the organizer vendors want to work with. Treat them well. Take the time to build relationships with them. Go the extra mile and do something special for them. It doesn’t have to be anything huge. Even small, genuine gestures can help reinforce that you care about them and showcases your value as a long-term partner. For example, follow them on social media and promote their content. Or, if they’re having a problem, offer your assistance if you can help resolve it. 

As you build relationships with your vendors, you can start asking them for referrals. You may even consider creating a referral program for your vendors that rewards them for their help. You can also refer your vendors to others in your event production network. 

5. Showcase Past Vendor Success Stories With Testimonials

Reviews and testimonials play a significant role in many purchasing decisions. Every day, consumers read or listen to feedback from previous customers when weighing their options and deciding what products or services to buy. A recent survey from BrightLocal found that 49% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family. 

Just as reviews can influence a potential event attendee’s decision to buy tickets to your event, they can also help sway potential vendors. Don’t be afraid to showcase testimonials from previous vendors from past successful events. Reading about a vendor’s positive and memorable experience may be just what a prospective vendor needs to encourage them to partner with you for your upcoming event. 

6. Network at Industry Events To Connect With Potential Vendors

The event business is a relatively small, tight-knit community. Networking with other industry professionals is crucial. Building your contacts allows event planners to share creative ideas and offer valuable insights to address common problems. It can also help you stay on top of the latest industry trends, boost awareness of your organization, and connect you with more potential vendors for your events that you might not meet otherwise.  

Business cards can come in handy here. Be sure to have plenty any time you’re attending an industry event. Some might say they’re dated, but think about it this way. Getting out your phone and trying to look up social media accounts for each new contact can be awkward and time-consuming, especially if you’re short on time. Business cards are a much quicker, more convenient, and more elegant way to exchange contact information. 

7. Drive Interest With Effective Event Marketing

Event marketing doesn’t only attract potential attendees. It can also grab the attention of prospective vendors and encourage them to want to take part. 

Effective event marketing does more than bring awareness to your upcoming event. It gets people — and potential vendors — excited. One way to do this is with an optimized event website. Along with pertinent details about your upcoming event (event name, date(s), event space/location, ticket information), share enticing information such as:

  • Photos and videos from past events 
  • Notable participants (performers, speakers, etc.)
  • Schedule of special events
  • Confirmed vendors/exhibitors

All of this information can be just as exciting for potential vendors as it is for potential attendees. Seeing vendors they know on your list could entice them to want to participate, too. You can even include a section on your website specifically for interested vendors, complete with an easy application. 

Other marketing strategies to drive vendor interest include:

  • Engaging blog posts
  • Email marketing
  • Promoting your event on social media
  • Asking your sponsors and confirmed vendors to spread the word

8. Create Buzz by Using Social Media To Attract Event Suppliers

Social media marketing can be a highly effective tool for generating buzz around an upcoming event, helping you attract more attendees and interested vendors alike. When creating content, incorporate relevant hashtags to boost the reach of your posts and increase the odds they appear in front of those you want to see them. Curate different types of content like behind-the-scenes views, interactive experience snippets, teaser videos, photos from past events, sponsor shoutouts, and vendor spotlights. 

Engage with your followers. Respond to their comments and answer their questions. Encourage sharing. The more people share your posts, the farther you extend your reach. If potential vendors see others are excited about your event, they’re more likely to be excited by it, too.   

9. Offer Vendors Access to Attendee Demographics

You collect a lot of data when attendees register for and buy tickets to your events. Key details like age, gender, location, social media preferences, interests, and more allow you to create more effective marketing campaigns and organize a more memorable event. 

The demographic data you collect isn’t only helpful for you. It can also be highly beneficial for your event vendors, helping them hone their marketing efforts and grow their businesses. With the help of a high-quality event management software solution, you can easily collect essential information and share it with your vendors. 

Leverage the Power of Technology for Event Promotion and Start Attracting Vendors

Top vendors are a huge asset, helping you attract more interest and contributing to the overall success of your events. Along with reaching out directly, effective event promotion can help you attract potential vendors organically by raising awareness of your events and generating excitement. In doing so, you can capture their attention and show them the value of partnering with you. 

Are you looking to attract top vendors with effective event promotion for your next event? is here to help with a comprehensive event management software solution featuring tools that can help you through every stage of running a successful event, from planning and promotion to execution and follow-up. Schedule your free demo with today!