HBAA fires salvo at Armouries’ royal commission

Royal Armouries International (RAI) is extending the traditionally exclusive booking agent’s eight per cent commission to anybody providing a successful sales lead.

RAI runs the hospitality and events business from the Leeds-based museum and Saviles Hall and is now offering sales commission to all referrals.

“We want to incentivise not only our strategic partners, but also all those who have enjoyed our facilities to promote what we have to offer,” says RAI business development manager Helen Tremlett.

The move was slammed by the chair of the booking agents’ association HBAA, Steve Ockerby, who tells CN: “This action certainly undermines the credibility that venue finders have secured over the years. Venue finders have worked hard to provide a service that gives impartial advice when choosing venues for meetings, events and conferences. The value of our work has become widely recognised and appreciated by corporate organisations; by widening the commission net to ancillary suppliers it may inevitably lead to confusion”.

RAI offers 13 rooms, including Saviles Hall, Leeds’ largest venue which can seat up to 1,000 people. Commission on an event using this to capacity could be worth up to £5,000.

The initiative was, however, welcomed by industry expert Richard John, who says that a lot of AV businesses would welcome the opportunity to earn such commission.

“Many in the AV world know which are the good venues and would be happy to recommend them to clients,” he says. “But they wouldn’t simply put forward a venue just for the commission because they have their reputation to consider.”

Marketing director of RAI Chris Owen says: “Our business has grown from the support of many friends and networks. We see this initiative as a win-win opportunity for quite literally any individual who can refer business to us and we are already seeing enquiries flow just through word of mouth.”

Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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