Venues enlightened as agents go under the spotlight

By Petra Clayton

The Meetings Industry Association’s (mia) Agents Day proved invaluable for delegates as some of the UK’s top booking agents provided a unique insight into how they select venues.

Last Friday’s event at Woodland Grange Conference Centre in Warwickshire offered members the chance to network with the directors and booking staff from leading agents such as Calder Conferences & World of Travel, Prestige Hotel Reservations Limited, Logical Venue Solutions, Pineapple Events, ArrangeMy Group, Eventful, tobook and Sundial SOS.

The fun and informative day, which was attended by over 80 delegates, commenced with an ‘Agents in the Spotlight’ session that was chaired by Custard Communications’ Managing Director, Petra Clayton. It featured questions surrounding a number of topics including pricing, lead-times, conversion rates, commissions, client confidentiality, building relationships and wildcards as well as tips on responding to the brief in a timely manner.

The day was equally useful for the agents. Wendy Ashton-Evans, Director, Pineapple Events, said: “I really like the ethos of mia – bringing together venues and bookers at a senior level in a ‘relaxed’ business event. It gives us all the chance to debate the hot issues – thereby ensuring better appreciation of each other’s needs and promoting good business relationships.  I find the Agents Day particularly useful for talking to the independent, unusual and academic venue representatives and helping them understand the agency market and how we can work better together.”

Jane Longhurst, chief executive of the mia, said: “We are delighted that our second Agents Day proved so popular and useful to our members. There were lots of great questions that provided venues a unique opportunity to take a step back and a fresh look at their approach to working with booking agents. At the same time, it offered a great chance to network and build those relationships in a fun and relaxed environment.”