Venue Quality and Rate Clarity More Important than Discounts, say Leading Agents

The first Principals Agent Hosted Dinner from the meetings industry association (mia), took place at the Emirates Stadium’s Diamond Club. Leading venue finding agents were brought together with venue general managers and principals for open discussion and networking during a Raymond Blanc created dinner.

Faye Sharpe from Zibrant, Jan Sycamore from Calder Conferences, Leigh Jagger from Banks Sadler, Anita Lowe from Capita Travel and Events and Jacqui Kavanagh from Trinity Conferences all hosted tables at the Principals dinner. John Brennan, CEO at Jurys Inn was the opening speaker.

Agents Will Pay Higher Rates for Quality

Talking after the event, Gary Payne, mia chairman, said, “During conversations with the agent hosts, it became clear that they would rather use venues that are open about what is and isn’t included in ‘package rates’ and will pay higher rates for the right service levels; where they are confident they will receive quality.”

Understanding Agent Priorities

Ed Bolling, general manager of Ironmongers' Hall and Furniture Makers' Hall and chair of the London City Selection praised the event: “It’s very important for small venues to gain opportunities to build working relationships with agents, the mia Principals dinner provided this and helped us to understand the pressures agents face every day from their own clients - this knowledge will enable us to improve our response to their enquiries.”

Policy Changes

Stuart Downham, Operations Director at Casa Hotel said, “This was a remarkable opportunity which resulted in a better understanding of some of our shared key issues. We will be redefining some of our policies and implementing some real changes so we can maximise the benefit of this greater understanding.”

Better Understanding Creates Better Customer Service

Mark Jones, managing director, Wyboston Lakes, felt that greater understanding between venues and agents provided the prospect of furthering the customer service agenda. He commented: "It was a meeting where serious professionals that care very deeply about their businesses and their customers got the opportunity to build understanding of their complimentary roles in the creation and delivery of events that totally fulfil the objectives of the event holder. As in any industry, there are, regrettably, amateurs and chancers who do all of us a disservice; so these meetings between committed professionals should ensure that good business goes to good people to create success for all concerned.”

The mia Principals Agent Hosted Dinner is part of the mia’s ‘Principals’, which brings together senior professionals in the industry enabling networking, sharing of best practice and debate. Subsequent agent hosted dinners are planned to take place every six months.

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