I have recently had conversations with various people about the current venue sourcing model, which may well be a little outdated. From talking to various clients and suppliers in the industry, there are frustrations from both sides; namely lack of transparency on commissions and poor brief writing. From the client side, is it just smoke and mirrors...? Or are venue sourcing agencies providing a good service and client expectations are higher than ever?
I recently sat on a panel discussion to debate the relationship between agency and venue, which was instigated by EVCOM and the Hyatt Hotel Group. It was very insightful and brought to the surface a number of concerns. One of those was the topic of commission and the lack of transparency, and I for one wholeheartedly agree that agencies should be more transparent with this and work with the client to use this remuneration to benefit both parties, therefore working in a closer partnership. We have therefore created a really innovative model which actually holds the commissions we receive to fold them back into the client realm for them to use against future services they may require from us.
From my perspective, clients are looking constantly for the value add, and this comes from us in the realm of totally unique venue solutions as well as creative design. Thinking outside of the box has become imperative and so is it time to disrupt the venue model? Should we as responsible agents in the industry be constantly questioning the service we deliver and pushing it to new limits? Our Chairman Richard Waddington is an expert in this area and is an innovator in the industry. I am constantly impressed and inspired by the way he turns things on their head and looks at them from another perspective to offer something different to our clients which really deepens the relationship we have with them.
So, my parting words are to venues, that we are re-looking at the way we conduct our meetings with you in our offices. We might choose in the future to have one group event per quarter for a number of venues which will include the whole of our team rather than just one or two members at individual meetings with you. This means that we might not hold individual meetings anymore, rather lets have constructive, strategic conversations with you to create a positive progressive outcome.
Finally, my parting words to corporate in house teams, what are your frustrations in this area? Do you agree that it is time to re-look at the model or are you very happy with the way things work currently? In light of the Marriott announcement to reduce commission across the board, would you agree that you would like to have greater transparency on commissions agencies receive? Do get in touch to air your views, we would love to help.