In February 2014 a service was set up in the UK to share knowhow amongst a group of about 20 event organisers. It was the brainchild of Neil Thompson and he is very proud to be able to state today that there are now 2,500 members – with up to 200 new people joining every week. Membership is free.
The service is known as the Delegate Wranglers Facebook Group and has already given birth to a specific USA & Canada version.
‘I have plans’, adds Neil, ‘for an Asia Pacific Group in due course.
He goes on to explain: ‘The purpose of the group is an information sharing network - essentially a place for event organisers to use as a resource. For example if you are an event organiser and you have been given a brief to run a conference in Berlin, then you can post up onto the Wranglers and ask for recommendations for a suitable hotel, reliable airport transfer companies, local AV suppliers - whatever you might need. This request will then be answered by other event managers, who can recommend suppliers and venues, or directly by suppliers and venues themselves.
‘The group is very active, with nearly every request for information getting multiple, helpful responses from people who are actually in the industry. It has developed into a fantastic community, with everybody trying to help each other.’
A special aspect of the Delegate Wranglers are regular features with specific themes. The Freelancer Hour every Monday, for example, allows freelancers in the industry to post about their experience and availability to a targeted client base.
The Supplier Hour every Wednesday invites venues and suppliers to promote themselves and their services. This also avoids the page being flooded all the time with suppliers promotions and advertising.
Neil points out that there is a feature called In The Spotlight, ‘where we ask freelancers a set of fixed questions about how they got into the events industry, their experience and so on. It enables potential clients to get to know them.
‘We are just starting to do a regular Wranglers Venue Review. We visit a venue for a show-round and then write a report which is designed specifically for event managers to use, containing all the pertinent information that we need - and often can't find on the venue’s own website!’
The service now has a monthly e-newsletter called The Wranglers Insider. It gives suppliers the opportunity to promote themselves to thousands of event managers for a small fee.
‘The Newsletters’, says Neil, ‘are usually full of Wranglers-only special offers and competitions.’ New ideas are burgeoning all the time. There is a Wranglers Job-List Facebook page and about once a month they can now join in a get-together, The Wranglers Social.
‘We meet in a different venue each time for relaxed networking. The next one will be at the Sunborn Yacht Hotel alongside ExCel in May.’