Jacqui Kavanagh, CEO of Trinity Event Solutions discusses how venue finding fared in 2017 and looks ahead to 2018
2017 was a good year for venue finding; at the beginning of the year the major cities had solid business, and the ripple effect meant that the regions increased business too.
We’ve found that our clients have been open to new ideas, and it’s a very good time to be working with a knowledgeable venue finding team who know what’s happening at the venues and what’s new.
During 2017, we found that clients became more demanding and insisted on having transparency of costs, plus a better understanding of the buying process. Venue finding companies with good technology can supply this sort of management information.
Clients are also very concerned about cancellations, exposure to risk, safety and security.
Our clients are really keen to use different types of venues; there’s a trend for using industrial, edgy, unique venues - especially ones that are new on the market.
The architecture of events is now changing, with new ways of learning, so not everyone wants a standard package. We are finding that it’s about flexibility so the venues that are investing in their staff, food and technology are gaining the most business.
ROI (Return on Investment) has been around for years and is still key, but the budget and spend is there for the right venue to deliver the right event.
Corporates are using measurement tools to deliver objectives. But it’s not just about cost savings - clients want greater transparency of budgets on a line by line basis.
Speed of service is also important; clients often want an answer quickly with the detail to follow, but they do need the data for proper decision making.
Decisions are being made in line with business processes, which have to be followed so clients cannot make decisions on an anecdotal basis.
The events industry has come of age and there is recognition that a quality event in the right venue will deliver a positive outcome. Technology is helping and processes are more highly valued.
The relationship we have with venues has also changed. It’s an interesting time for hotels and venues with many mergers and acquisitions.
Strong relationships that we’ve built up over time have been devalued by conglomerates, who bring in a change of strategic approach and who don’t see the importance or understand existing relationships.
This area is a ‘work in progress’ as things evolve, but in some cases we are returning to dealing directly with individual properties, rather than through account managers.
Venue finding will be strong in 2018; the royal wedding will create a feel good factor and London will be in the global spotlight again.
New hotels and venues are coming on to the market, which is exciting, and technology is improving. 2018 will be a great year for our industry and the UK is a great place to do business.