Time to ditch ‘old world’ business model?

The CYE Group’s Ben Gray defines an ‘Uber’ moment and offers a New Year resolution to ending client disappointment

I read the CN news story about the demise of Office Events Ltd with disappointment, but not surprise.

For those that missed it, the company behind Office Christmas Parties went bust and left its innocent clients in the lurch. The clients, hoping to reward their employees with great Christmas parties had paid their deposits in good faith, only to be told the money had gone with the company, when it should have been paid to the party venues.

I hear many sympathetic venues are attempting to help rescue the Christmas celebrations, with reduced rates and other added-value benefits, but frankly, the situation is a mess.

It’s not the first time our industry has heard stories like this one and it’s probably not the last, but I’m sure you’ll agree it is simply not good enough. Our industry’s reputation suffers when these stories break and, even more importantly, it’s a shockingly bad way to treat our clients, they deserve much better.

Please don’t say ‘Brexit’!

The explanation for their troubles offered by the management team behind Office Events was sales simply dried up because of that fast-becoming old chestnut ‘Brexit’. But clearly Brexit has nothing to do with it.

The whole situation is indicative of an old world business model still being offered to an industry that is reshaping. The events industry has been burnt before and clients are forever looking for new ways to increase efficiency and creativity while avoiding risk. They’re using the benefits presented by connected technology to go direct to the venue. I suspect that’s why sales dried up for Office Events.

Time’s up for these third party event and party organisers that take money without adding value. They slow the process down, add another layer of potential confusion and, when they go bust without warning, it’s a complete disaster that drags our industry backwards. You may say, this is their Uber-moment.

The tools are out there now for clients to achieve great parties and events at great rates, without the need to put their money at risk. In our connected and increasingly transparent world, it makes no sense to stand in between two parties that want to do business together, unless you are a true specialist that can offer assurances that your client’s budget is safe, while bringing to work your experience, innovative ideas and technical expertise to make the event better or at least, more cost-effective.

Direct approach

We find our venue and supplier clients enjoy the opportunity to have direct contact with end-users and this is what technology allows them to do. They can quickly search a wide choice of every kind of venues and suppliers in all locations, then build and manage their event online, paying no mark-up or commission. By working one-to-one, both venue and client gain a greater understanding of each other and what is to be achieved. They have the chance to build a strong working relationship and trust with the people that will deliver the event. Surely that’s what an industry based on communication should always seek to do.

Martin Fullard

Martin Fullard: journalist, presenter, producer. Martin is the Deputy Editor at Conference News and Conference & Meetings World magazines. He leads the digital channels on Mash Media’s Conference Division as well as heading up Mash TV. He is formerly a web editor at a national newspaper in the Middle East and motoring journalist.

Martin Fullard

Author

Martin Fullard

Martin Fullard: journalist, presenter, producer. Martin is the Deputy Editor at Conference News and Conference & Meetings World magazines. He leads the digital channels on Mash Media’s Conference Division as well as heading up Mash TV. He is formerly a web editor at a national newspaper in the Middle East and motoring journalist.

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