Running from September to late November, the Spring Racing Carnival is a big part of Australia’s culture. The fashion, the flair, and the fun – what’s not to love!

One of the best ways restaurants and venues can capitalise on the Melbourne Cup is by hosting an exclusive Melbourne Cup or Spring Racing event. You could open this up to the general public, but by advertising your event specifically to businesses and corporations, you can attract a host of businesses wanting to hold a Spring Racing Carnival themed corporate party.

However, to fully execute this and successfully market it to your target audience, you will need to take a few necessary steps to make sure your event truly stops the nation – or at least your venue!

Create the Racing Atmosphere

Styling your event space around horse racing and spring is easy and fun!

When it comes to the colour palette, think the bright dresses worn by spectators and the bold patterns on the jockey’s uniforms. However, don’t go overboard and create a kaleidoscope of bright colours, try to pick one or two and pair it with the elegance of black or white. This is because too many colours can make an event space look busy and cluttered, especially once you add in all of the vibrant colours of your patron’s attire.

Horse décor and decals are an obvious choice, especially when used as small, yet eye-catching features, while lots of florals, bunting and luxe details will work a treat. Try to remember that horse racing is the sport of kings, so above all, you want your styling to be sophisticated.

This Melbourne Cup Pinterest board contains plenty of inspiration!


The Races and Champagne Go Hand-in-Hand

Alcohol is a given at most events, but for a Spring Racing event it really is centre stage, and not just any old alcohol, specifically – champagne! You should also offer beer, wine and soft drinks, but you won’t need to worry about cocktails – you can save them for any corporate Christmas parties being held at your venue in a few months.


Keep the Food Coming

If you’re holding a Melbourne Cup specific event, chances are it will start at around 12 and involve a lot of eating and drinking until the race starts mid-afternoon. The timeframe will likely vary depending on what race is on the day of your event, or if you’re just hosting an evening event at some point during Spring Racing Carnival season.

You can specify to your clients that your event will be either a sit-down or cocktail-style event, or you can offer them the choice. Whichever they decide, make sure the menu is kept light and fresh, but don’t hold off on flavour or quantity.

No one wants to only get one or two canapés at an event, especially when the drinks are flowing, so make sure there’s plenty to go around, and that food is available post race, so your patrons are able to soak up the copious amounts of alcohol they’ve likely consumed.


Showcase Any Races That are Happening in Real Time

If you’re planning on hosting events at your venue that line up with key races, like the Melbourne Cup itself, make sure you have a good and reliable method for broadcasting them live. Broadcasting a live event across either a really big or multiple screens will require some advance planning. Make sure you talk to an AV expert prior to the day to ensure there is an aerial and suitable reception to broadcast the race because if your live broadcast fails on the day, you’ll have some very unhappy patrons!


Pull Out the Sweepstakes!

Alcohol, food and horse racing aside – the main other thing a good racing event needs is gambling! Any venues with a big budget, or if your clients are willing to fork out top dollar for their event, you can hire out one of TAB’s trucks.

For everyone else, you can’t look past a good sweepstakes. These handy templates will make them easy to produce, and they’re a great way for guests to get their flutter on. Just make sure you have a few switched-on staff members available to monitor them. Try to have multiple running at once with different monetary values, as you’ll be surprised at how quickly they will sell out!

The Spring Racing Carnival is an exciting time to host corporate events or themed lunches at your restaurant. But, as always, make sure your POS system is up-to-date before you even think about hosting large-scale events – you’ll thank us later!