Planning an event at a hotel or venue usually involves working with a BEO, which stands for banquet event order and can also be called an event order. BEOs are essential documents that outline important details such as dates, timelines, catering needs, and other pieces of vital information.
Before we dive in, be sure to visit our ultimate guide to grow events and group business for an all-encompassing rundown of events, sales and catering tips, data points and best practices.
In order to deliver flawless events every time, catering and convention services managers rely on BEOs. But despite how helpful a BEO can be, it can be time-consuming to create and update. Fortunately, there are tools available — from free BEO templates to cutting-edge technology — that can help you streamline operations and improve your guests’ experience.
Finally, are you looking into new, creative ways to generate revenue with the return of events & group travel? Check out our brand new Preparing for the Return of Events and Group Travel hub, in which you can access key trends, best practices, and resources based on extensive research and worldwide industry insights to help prepare for the return of group travel and events.
What is a BEO (Banquet Event Order)
A BEO is a contract that lists all of the important details of an event. BEOs are used at most hotels and event facilities to help ensure everything is outlined and agreed on by both the venue and the event planner. This helps ensure event planner expectations are met and helps the venue avoid costly room resets or concessions.
Since BEOs are created for each individual event, a full or multi-day booking may include multiple events and therefore multiple BEOs. The BEO packet is typically distributed a few days before the event and is reviewed and updated as necessary based on any last-minute changes.
What Should a BEO Include?
BEOs should detail everything that’s required to execute the event properly. This includes:
- Contact info
- Space usage
- Event date
- Set-up and start/end times
- Number of guests
More specifically, the following items are likely to be thoroughly outlined.
Food & Beverage
A BEO should include all food and beverage details such as:
- Menu – All menu items should be listed in the order in which they will be served, including optional children’s meals. If there is a buffet, all menu items should be listed along with the station and set position.
- Dietary concerns – Any dietary requests such as vegetarian options, gluten-free items, or nut-free meals should be included in the BEO.
- Service times – Service times should be clearly listed for all meals as well as additional requests, such as a champagne toast.
- Special service items – This includes special requests such as wine or sparkling water on each table.
- Food prices – A price breakdown for each item should be included along with a quantity for each item selected.
- Room rental fees – This is the charge for using the function space.
- Headcount details – The BEO will detail how many guests are expected, guaranteed, and the number of guests a room will be set for.
- Beverage details – This includes a list of beverages to be served during the event such as coffee, tea, soda, or alcohol. When alcohol is served, a list of brands is provided as agreed to by the planner.
Parking & Transportation
These logistics need to be detailed in advance in the BEO to ensure an orderly flow of guest arrivals. Services such as valet parking and guest shuttles should be outlined so that guests know where to go. If there are self-parking areas, these need to be specified in the BEO as well as at the time of the event.
The room setup section will include details on the equipment required but will not include placement directives for that equipment.
- Table setup – This includes the number and type of tables to be included as well as the timeframe allocated for setup activities.
- Décor, linens, and lighting – Décor and accessory details (types and quantities) should be listed in the BEO.
- Podium or audio/video (AV) – If a podium or AV is required, it should be specified ahead of the event. If AV is required, the vendor should be listed as well.
- Microphones, screens, and speakers – Any AV equipment that is required should be listed in the BEO.
The loyal companion to any BEO is an event diagram, which is a broader explanation of the room setup. This is where you’ll outline the placement of tables, equipment, lighting, tablecloths, etc. From here, you’ll be able to visualize, for your team as well as your client, how an event will look.
Schedule & Order of Events
Some events require an organized timeline right down to the minute. Usually this is for complicated events or celebrations, like a wedding. In this instance, a BEO may include a schedule section that details the uses for each space during the event while the order of events should be detailed in the cover page of a BEO packet.
If an event is expected to be very complex, you may choose to add staffing requirements to an internal version of the BEO. This can include wait staff, bartenders, security staff, coat check attendants, and parking attendants.
Signature Lines for Customer and Property
Standard on any contract are the signature lines. Don’t forget to include them for both the meeting planner and a representative from your property.
An Example of a BEO
Terms & Conditions
Generally, a BEO will have a footer with basic terms and conditions items like:
- Tax and gratuity
- Service fees
There is a signature line on the BEO for agreement on the food, room set up, and timing. Some simple events may include a basic terms and conditions section in the BEO while complex events would list these in a master services agreement (MSA) or general contract signed at the beginning of the engagement.
Technology Makes Creating a BEO & Managing Events Even Easier
Creating and maintaining BEO documents is time-consuming, especially in the bustling hospitality industry.
By automating the process with sales and catering software, you’re able to:
- Save time with less manual typing or handwriting.
- Merge guest booking information into your system and the BEO.
- Create standard or customized BEO templates.
Event diagramming capabilities are also part of a sales and catering software program. With this, you can:
- Propose event diagrams and BEOs to event planners simultaneously.
- Design mock diagrams to give the client a true visualization of the event.
- Collaborate with clients and empower them to design their own plans.
All of this and more is possible with sales and catering software!
If you’d like to explore the possibilities of sales and catering software for your organization, we’d love to help. Contact our team so we can learn more about your specific challenges and offer solutions to help you grow.
Frequently Asked Questions About BEOs
There’s a lot that goes into creating the perfect BEO. Here are a few commonly asked questions you may have.
Q: Does every event require a BEO?
A: This will ultimately depend on the venue’s protocols. Large-scale or complicated events, like weddings, will absolutely require a thoroughly detailed BEO. Smaller events, like a networking happy hour, may only require a simple BEO. It’s also important to remember that each individual event will require its own BEO.
Q: Who needs to sign off on a BEO?
A: Both the event planner and the venue need to agree to the terms stated in the contract. This includes the client and a representative from the facility signing the BEO.