A Conversation About Venue Finding Agents

Whilst sat having a break at a venue expo show recently I overheard a couple of ladies having a conversation about whether it’s better to source venues themselves or use a venue finder.

There are lots of opinions about whether venue finders are good for your business or not. I suppose it very much depends on the venue finders’ business ethics and what their main aim is. There are some agents that are only in business for the money. Those agents don’t care about the end result for the client and their event, they only care about the final amount of their commission or charge. These agents, in some ways, make it harder for the smaller or more caring agent and in other ways make it easier. I’ll come back to that in a moment.

Getting back to the two ladies. Part of their discussion was that it was nice for them to see what’s on offer in person (relating to the venue Expo) rather than use a third party, as their colleague had done. Another thing they mentioned was that having the opportunity to see the venues themselves they could see what the actual rates were.  At this point I very nearly interjected their conversation to say that the agent obviously hadn’t done their job properly if they hadn’t shown them what the rates would be normally or explained to them in details about what an agent’s role to the client is.

For those of you who are unsure (and in my opinion), a venue finding agents’ job is to get an understanding of what the client’s requirements are, search and source options that fit their requirements, negotiate rates for the client and then present them so the client has an understanding of what there is on offer that best suits their event and the best rates available to them. In my eyes, if an agent hasn’t looked at and summed up the best options for their client then they’re not doing their job right.

For me, sourcing the right solution for the client is not totally money orientated. It’s based on the satisfaction of knowing that I have found the best solution for my client based on their budget and requirements. It’s also about getting to know my clients in such a way that I can easily source venues for them for all of their events and build up a relationship where they trust me and I understand them. The money is a part of it, yes, as it’s how we earn a living but it isn’t the most important factor.

I get a buzz knowing that I’ve done the best for my client and that their experience, not just of my service but of the venues, is beyond their expectations.

So, coming back to those agents that don’t care about the end result, and why this makes my job easier in some ways. Basically, they prove to me the reason why I do a good job and I have clients that have used me time and time again. A personal service! That’s what it’s all about. Getting an understanding of what my clients’ needs are and making sure those needs are catered for. Something that a lot of the bigger fish don’t and can’t do.

As for those ladies. I think that really they were just happy about the fact that they had managed a day out of the office (something us agents can help with when sorting out site visits to venues). It’s great when you can see lots of venues under one roof and certainly saves time but I don’t think they fully appreciate the time and effort that goes into venue finding and the fact that knowledge and good relationships with the suppliers are the key elements to the find. I’m happy to leave those ladies to do their own search if they want to and will continue to work with those clients that really do appreciate my help. However, should those ladies ever get in contact, I’d also be happy to help them too!

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"Thanks for all of your help - you really made the difference for me because of a) the time it saved me hunting around and negotiating rates, and b) getting such a good rate."

P.T, Gore Workwear