Have you ever used a professional venue finder in London, or thought about doing so? Do you know what a venue finder does? If you don’t, then you’re far from alone. Even the most experienced travel trade professionals have often not come across a venue finder in their working lives.
Venue finding agencies find just the right place for clients to hold business meetings, company conferences and corporate events. If people need meeting rooms, conference venues or event space in London, for example, then an experienced venue finder can quickly and easily find the ideal venue.
Good venue finders will typically have many years of experience in the hotel and hospitality trade, often in London itself. They may have worked as sales managers for hotel chains, or as a general manager at one or even a number of hotels. They might even have worked as area managers, spending a lot of their time visiting hotels around the country.
Venue professionals will, therefore, be very experienced in spotting what makes a good venue – or a bad one. Some venue finders have even worked as hotel inspectors for organisations such as the AA, thus having a huge breadth and depth of relevant experience to draw on.
It’s not only past experience that venue finders have. A venue finding agent will typically spend a large proportion of their time visiting venues, too. This means that they regularly inspect the hotels that they deal with and can, therefore, appraise their standards and facilities with an expert eye.
Another facet of this is networking. As they meet with hotel management on a regular basis, they build up a solid working relationship based on trust and mutual respect. The hotel benefits when the venue finder books their clients into the hotel, and the venue finding agency benefit because they can quickly and easily find just the right venue for their client’s conference, meeting or event.
So how do they make money? Venue finders do not charge the client for their services. For clients, their expertise and experience come completely free of charge. Rather, the hotels pay the venue finding
Does this mean they’ll book them into any old property, just to make money? Or perhaps they’ll just plump for the hotel that pays them the most commission? Absolutely not. The venue finder is a professional with high standards, and their reputation matters above all else. One hotel commission might be a nice little earner, but they will not attract repeat business if they do not meet their clients’ expectations.
Conversely, a great venue finder wants to surpass their clients’ expectations. Most of their revenue comes from repeat business or word-of-mouth recommendation, so they’d be foolish not to want to impress their clients.
A really good venue finder will also want to make sure the hotel or conference centre are happy, too. If everyone knows their responsibilities and is content with the deal that has been done, they will be far more likely to do business again.
Hotels and other venues are also far more likely to strike a good deal with a venue finder than with a client who books direct. This is because they have a comfortable working relationship that is conducive to open negotiation. It’s also because the venue finding agency has a lot of buying power, so of course, they would like to harness that.
Venue finders are experienced in finding creative ways to save their client’s money. For example, the client may even already have a preferred venue, like The Savoy or The Berkeley, that they’re very satisfied with. If this is the case, then the venue finder may, for example, agree a long term deal with a particular hotel on the client’s behalf. The hotel is happy to get the repeat business, and the client is happy to get a better price than they previously paid. Everyone’s a winner.
London, in particular, is a huge, sprawling metropolis. How would you know where to begin, if you had to book a conference, for example, in the capital? Say you are a PA, and you’ve been briefed to find a venue for the annual conference for around 150 staff. Around half of those will need to stay overnight, so they’ll require rooms and catering as well as the conference venue itself.
The easiest way to to tackle this would be to get in touch with a London venue finder. Someone who knows the capital’s hotels inside out, and can immediately narrow down the possibilities to a shortlist – sometimes without even doing any research. How do they do this?
Remember those years of experience we alluded to earlier? The venue finder will know which hotels are located close to The Shard or The Gherkin, and which are convenient for a team-bonding trip on the London Eye. Perhaps the client wants to show their staff from Scotland or the Midlands, for example, around London a little while they’re here for the conference.
So the venue finder needs to find the following. A conference room that comfortably seats 150 people, in a hotel with rooms for around 75. The hotel must be of an excellent standard, and the catering and service impeccable. It would ideally be located very close to public transport and within easy reach of London landmarks. If everything was walkable, that would really help. Oh, and it needs to be handy for a show around
An experienced London venue finder would instantly know which hotels could accommodate. Because they’d visited themselves, and placed clients there previously, they would be very confident of the standards. They would also consult the map of London that permanently exists in their mind, and compute walking or other travel distances from the venue to the sights or offices.
If you need conference venues, meeting rooms or event space, then, perhaps the question should be – why wouldn’t you use a London venue finder? Saving you time, money and stress – surely that’s what they call a no-brainer.