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  • 1.  Managing rental activities

    Posted 04-05-2017 03:54 PM
    Hi all. 

    Our museum is rented often for weddings, luncheons, and special events. For reasons that predate me, we use a contracted special events manager who receives a percent of our rental fees as compensation. The more events we host, the more she earns. Our contract is ending and she would like to spend more time with her young family. This gives me a great opportunity to evaluate how we structure future events. 

    I'm interested in examples of how other sites hire special event (rental) managers. Do any of you pay base plus commission? Operate on straight commission? Pay salary versus hourly? 

    Please feel free to email me directly at the address below. 


    Diane Gutenkauf
    Executive Director
    Ella Sharp Museum Association of Jackson
    Jackson MI

  • 2.  RE: Managing rental activities

    Posted 04-06-2017 06:17 AM
    The American Museum of natural history would be a great resource for you. They have an events department that deals with all of this that you ask. You can email Youn Lee and ask her all your questions. I'm sure she would help. 

    good luck!

    Leslie Martinez
    Brooklyn NY

  • 3.  RE: Managing rental activities

    Posted 04-06-2017 01:36 PM

    We see this situation frequently and help institutions work through the challenges of earned income via events including pay scales and management.   If it is something that you would like to discuss in more detail, please feel free to give us a call.   As a note, we did some work for you several years back so we do have a baseline, to begin with, and we could easily update as well as give an opinion on the best course to pursue.  

    Jeff McNeal
    Manask & Associates
    Arcadia CA

  • 4.  RE: Managing rental activities

    Posted 04-06-2017 05:30 PM



    We are a food service consultancy and we specialize in cafes, restaurants and event rentals. I have worked with 125+ museums and have actually never encountered the structure you describe. Most institutions have event rental staff who are frequently charged with marketing, selling, and executing rental events. Most museums still pay a flat salary but I recommend clients consider an incentive – otherwise the more they sell they more they work. If there is not enough business to make it a full time role you might consider adding internal events under the rental staff position too.


    Feel free to reach out if you have other questions.  


    Tracy Lawler

    JGL Food Service Consultants

    732 274 1694

    facebook Icon  twitter icon  Linked In



    Join JGL at AAM on May 8, 2017 at 8:45am-10:00am:

    Maximizing Earned Income at the New Norton Museum of Art





  • 5.  RE: Managing rental activities

    Posted 04-07-2017 08:25 AM
    Hi Diane,

    Historic New England hosts functions at many of its historic homes. We pay our staff a base pay. We have sales folks and service folks. Each site is unique but the goal is for the sales person to be the sole contact for the function for the client and all the vendors. By the day of the function we expect every bit of the event to be detailed and confirmed with the client and the vendors so that the service staffer can take it and run with it. Our goal is to have a small team of part time service staff to work the actual events so the sales staff can focus all of their time on selling and managing the pre-event process. 

    Happy to help answer specific questions on any part of the functions business. It's a solid revenue driver for us! I am at Also, feel free to check out for a bit more on our sites, pricing, vendors, and the rest.

    Good luck!

    Bill Blanchfield
    Functions Manager
    Historic New England
    Waltham MA

  • 6.  RE: Managing rental activities

    Posted 04-07-2017 04:56 PM
    Hi Diane, 

    I am a Rentals Coordinator at an outdoor museum. Most of our rental facilities are outdoors and we stay very busy with weddings and company events during the warm months and are pretty slow in the colder months. I am a full time salaried employee paid on a regular pay schedule not on commission, this makes the slower winter months much easier on me! I am the main point of contact for all facility rentals but I do not stay for the events. We have some maintenance staff members that are hired specifically for events and a couple regular maintenance staff members that fill in when needed. I stay pretty busy with managing facility rentals but I do serve as back up help for our Visitor Center and manage a couple of our social media sites. As any good museum employee knows: no one does one job. 


    Kerri Donnelly
    Rentals Coordinator
    Frontier Culture Museum
    Staunton, VA

  • 7.  RE: Managing rental activities

    Posted 04-12-2017 05:55 PM
    Thanks for all the replies to my original question, both on and off list. It's been very helpful as we figure out what model will work best for us. 


    Diane Gutenkauf
    Executive Director
    Ella Sharp Museum Association of Jackson
    Jackson MI