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Inaugural Venue Summit highlights changing venue landscape and North / South divide

The Venue Summit
The inaugural Venue Summit held on Friday 13th May at The Brewery in London highlighted the changing commercial landscape for venues at a series of plenary and breakout sessions to a packed audience of some 100 venue professionals. Natalie Wiseman of BDRC provided an insight into key drivers for buyers and the variation of DDRs between the North of the UK and the South, with rates in the Northern regions dropping by some 6% while the South East remained strong and London DDRs in particular increased in the first quarter of 2016, compared with the same period last year.

The sharing economy was highlighted as a potential challenge for venues, with Air BNB style space providers for meeting and events facilities creeping onto the market and a warning for venues to be aware of new challenges and disruptive models. A panel of agents discussed how venues and agencies can improve working relationships and the importance of the personal touch, understanding the agency’s business and the objectives of each client event was emphasised as the key to successful relationships.

Agencies were challenged by venues for sometimes not responding at all, with questions from the floor asking how to avoid working on numerous RFPs that have little or no chance of winning. Leigh Cowlishaw, Chairman of the HBAA, said that agents need to play their part and behave professionally and should be responding, according to the HBAA code of conduct.  

Rory Ross-Russell of Global Conference Network who organised the event commented: “There was plenty of interaction and some great discussions, not to mention valuable insight from agents, shared best practice from fellow venues and practical tips for effective contracts and pricing strategies. Our initial feedback on the day has been very positive, with delegates seeing the value of having a conference that is dedicated specifically to venue issues. We are delighted with this first event and look forward to developing the programme further for 2017.”  

The day-long programme included break-out sessions covering case studies in brand development, refurbishment and sustainability in addition to addressing contracts, agency relationships and pricing strategies in the plenary conference.

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