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A Comprehensive Guide To Sourcing Venues

Aug 5, 2008
In a commercial climate where everything is being outsourced, conference and meeting facilities are no exception. Whether that be a small company wishing to raise their image for an important sales meeting or a multi-national wishing to host an internal conference, sourcing the correct venue is essential.

Previously it was commonplace for event co-ordinators to be employed within companies with the express responsibility of sourcing venues, making travel arrangements and hotel booking. Many companies have now streamlined by restructuring and sourcing venue finding services from third parties as and when needed, which is cost effective as their services are generally more moderate than an annual salary.

The venue sourcing industry covers a multitude of companies. Larger organisations with the highest volume of daily usage will use travel companies who arrange meeting rooms, hotels and travel details. These companies tend to have fixed rates with national hotel chains and have a fixed rate per room which simplifies invoicing and projections.

Although these companies usually have an exclusive contract with the travel companies it tends not to cover events outside of a certain specification. For this an event management company can be sourced who will not only find a suitable venue but will also take responsibility for every detail of the event.

Both of these companies will charge an agreed percentage of the total cost of the booking with the client and will sometimes also charge the venue a similar fee. This can be quite expensive so many companies make use of the many venue finding services on the web who make their revenue from preferential listings for venues.

The list of venues is still comprehensive as they offer venues free basic listings and many of the sites contain all the essential information and links to relevant websites. With preferential venues there are many features including virtual tours. Pre-internet, the venue finding service was previously in a book and accompanied by a CD-rom.

The obvious benefits of these services are that the cost is covered by the venue therefore costs nothing for the client seeking a venue. The only issue being that venues who have not paid the website do not have any specific details, however these can usually be found by pasting the venue name into a search engine.
This is an easy way to a venue if you have a specific destination where the event must be located, as you can just shortlist and visit the locations in one visit.

Preferential listings come into their own on venue finding websites when you are looking at multiple destinations, as a brief scan over the venue details or virtual tour can reveal a destination being suitable or not, hence saving a visit.

When deciding on the right destination and venue many considerations have to be made. Primarily the obvious size and budget requirements, however parking, accommodation and transport links must also be high priorities.

Most venues will operate on the basis of a delegate rate. This is an all-encompassing price per head for each delegate, covering room hire, food, refreshments and AV equipment. It is helpful to remember that this price is usually negotiable as the delegate rates are not transparent, usually incorporating an inflated room hire charge.

It is advisable to always visit your shortlist before booking as it is important to meet the staff you will be working with and get a feeling for the location and facilities. The sourcing of the right venue comes down to matching your requirements to the facilities and services of a venue and these are represented most cost effectively through the venue finding websites.
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