Jacqui Kavanagh of Trinity Event Solutions talks to Sydney PauldenJacqui Kavanagh is a fount of energy, ideas and innovation. She launched Trinity Conferences, now Trinity Event Solutions, only eight years ago but it has already grown to a staff of 28. And they are hand-picked to be like Jacqui. ‘They have to have a drive to know about their venues and a curiosity to learn as much as possible’, is how Jacqui puts it. ‘We are more a consultancy than a booking agency.’
Not that Jacqui has anything against booking agencies. After all she is this year’s Vice-Chair of the Hotel Booking Agents Association (HBAA).
‘We realised’, she explains, ‘that we needed to offer something really special in a world already so well supplied with event agencies. We determined that the all-important ingredient we could have in our mix of services was knowledge. The more venues we knew and the more we knew about them, the more we could add value to what we offered our clients.’
And what action did Trinity take to ensure this?
‘Every one of us’, she declares, ‘has to record personal visits to 100 venues every year!’ But just visiting venues wasn’t enough for Jacqui. Last year, for example, a weekend in March was set aside for a mass invasion of venues around the UK. In the space of two days, every one of the staff had to report on 20 different venues. ‘We stayed overnight at some, dined at others, breakfasted at others’, she says and goes on: ‘Each of the venues we visited was invited to provide a prize for a charity auction.’
The result was an online auction that raised £21,500, which we divided amongst three charities that the staff selected.
And this adventure is being repeated in July, with the auction scheduled for September. But, of course, Jacqui has developed and extended the operation. ‘Some of us are now going to foreign destinations’.
Trinity has set up an in-house system of Country Champions. Individual members of staff are allocated destinations which they visit, where they establish good personal friendships, where they get to know as much as possible, driven of course, by their vital innate curiosity.
‘Their knowhow in their special territories’, maintains Jacqui, ‘enables us to give Trinity clients even greater value for money.’
Are incentives to glamorous overseas destinations coming back?
‘There is still a question of perception’, says Jacqui. ‘Times are still hard for many businesses. Budgets are tight. We find that it is essential to have a substantial business component in every trip. At the same time employers do want to reward and recognise their staff, who have been working so hard to see them safely through the tough times.
‘I suppose you might say we organise “concentives”, where business objectives are achieved at conferences and employees are rewarded at the same time. We also find that a wider range of employees are being invited to attend these events. There is a greater sense that teamwork has been important and everyone is seen as doing their bit, not just the elite.’
A final point that Jacqui makes is that there is much more emphasis nowadays on safety. ‘We are steered towards tried and tested destinations where there is less risk in every sense. This is another area where our detailed knowledge of the destinations and the venues is important – and also our knowhow in all the legal aspects of organising an event’.