Be honest about time frames and prices, says M&IT’s secret supplier

Here’s a question posed recently on LinkedIn by the head of events commercial for Gray Dawes: “Response times….Discussion for a Saturday morning…. response times for event enquiries? It would appear that venues are asking for business yet do not seem to be able to respond to enquiries within a given time scale? What are the issues? Is it skill set? Is it the enquiry process? How can we work smarter and increase efficiency? Thoughts welcome…”

And then there are a number of comments from venue finders giving venues a good old bash with a theme being “venues don’t empower their staff”.

It’s evident that many agencies don’t have a clue about the product they are buying. Hotels and venues are complex businesses and don’t work on a simple commission percentage. They are dynamic business models that have complex pricing structures.

They succeed on small profit margins, with a high percentage of fixed costs and are unique in that their product expires every day. They can’t undersell one day and hope to then get rid of excess stock the next. If a room goes unsold, the only opportunity to get revenue for it on any given day has also gone.

Agencies should stand firmer and promise their client the right solution at the right price. Rather than promising a time scale they aren’t in charge of. And if speed is vital, then educate your client that they also need to confirm in the same time frame. It’s hardly fair expecting a response in 24 hours from venues, to then have the client sit on the option for a month.

But perhaps my favourite response was from somebody at BCD M&E from a senior consultant (aren’t they all) stating: “You can call a venue and be given rates over the phone within five minutes – why does it take 4 days to type that up in an email?”

And there it is my corporate friends. Just phone up direct. Cut the middle man out. You will get cheaper rates and a quicker response. You’ll also be valued more as you’ll build a relationship with the venue. Smarter, more efficient, use of skills set and all in the time frame.

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