the recent coverage in Conference News, reporting that the 2013 London
Venues Business Report indicates a, heaven forbid, ‘decrease in the use
of discounting and of added value’, I once would have raised a cynical
eyebrow to this piece of research.
However, experience suggests
otherwise and this is not just about London venues. I am amazed by how
often I am asked by clients when negotiating with venues, ‘Is this hire
deal really as good as it looks?’
Why the surprise? My
experience is of a saturated marketplace, a buyer’s market – one in
which venues and destinations pitch against others of a similar ilk
until the lowest price and the best ‘added values’ were squeezed and
then sign the contract and prepare for the same game again, same time,
same dates, next year.
Instinct suggests to me client concern
isn’t solely commercially motivated. There is genuine, underlying
concern of a missed opportunity. A funding stream here, an ‘added value’
window of opportunity there, have we missed something?
sides of the contract fence we know there is aplethora of factors that
affect hire rates. Yet, according to my inbox, not everyone is convinced
that transparency we all claim to embrace is actually happening. A second
opinion seems to be valued.
Don’t get me wrong. There are some
great relationships out there between clients and venues; relationships
with high levels of trust and a mutual respect that we both need to cut a
However, venues change personnel and destination
politics can change. In a second that great, secure comfort blanket of a
relationship that previously existed is shattered as the proverbial rug
is pulled from under the client’s feet.
Or decisions are taken
higher up to use a different types of venue, style of event or new
location, presenting the client with a whole new list of variables to
So, am I poacher turned gamekeeper? Have I betrayed my
peer group? While I may have helped some clients to save money, I have
also been able to not only hand hold but also assure that, actually, its
mostly good guys out there and, yes, you really do have an excellent
Any comments? Email: email@example.com