The rules of site selection are changing, and event planners and sourcing specialists need to adapt to ensure venues meet the client brief while juggling a host of related requirements such as accessibility – how easy is it to get to and is it suitable inside and out for people with additional needs? What are the sustainability credentials? Is food and beverage sustainably sourced? What AV and tech is available? What are the contractual terms and where does the client stand in the case of any force majeure cancellation? And that’s before any branding, attendee engagement, speakers or entertainment have even crossed the event planner’s mind.
CWT Meetings & Events’ Stephen Lusher is an expert when it comes to sourcing the right venue for client events. Here, he shares a list of skills venue sourcing specialists like him have developed to meet the evolving needs of clients and their events.
- Innovative venues
The trend started some years ago. Many companies decided to move away from hotel meeting rooms and began looking for originality and alternatives to hotel chains. Therefore, our venue sourcing specialists are widening their search to include the new breed of venues. Our teams keep abreast of latest openings, unique and trending venues and up and coming destinations.
- Environment and sustainability are hot topics
Sustainability now plays a key role when tasked to find the perfect venue. In-house recycling, energy-efficient systems, or even compostable toilets – venues have a whole range of sustainable elements. Our specialists now need to enquire about environmental policies and credentials to fulfil the briefs we receive from our clients.
- Know your client
Now more than ever, it is important to build a stronger working relationship with meeting requestors and understand the bigger picture of the client and the company culture.
- The phone call
Calling the client instead of emailing to acknowledge a new request and qualifying over a phone call says a lot more and builds a bond. It is also a more effective channel to exchange ideas and manage expectations.
- Owning the meeting request
Understanding the brief in full is fundamental. What is the client’s main aim of the meeting? What is the audience (profiles and demographic)? Knowing the attendees will help find a venue that best fits expectations and that provides memorable takeaway moments and cultural resonance.
- Offering a consultative approach
Offering a consultative approach instead of an “order taker” view. Often clients provide a basic brief and suggest a venue / chain based on their understanding or past experiences. Team members should be consultative and provide additional viable alternative options and be confident in their reasoning.
- Subject matter experts
CWT Meetings & Events has introduced Subject matter experts (SMEs) to its Venue Sourcing & Contracting Solutions (VSCS) team. These SMEs are the go-to resource on various topics including destinations, sustainability, new openings, unique venues, negotiations and contracting. A specialist is better suited to respond to their area of expertise.
- Ongoing education
Collaboration with suppliers and the Supplier Management Team provides practical and ongoing training. These include fam (familiarisation) trips, site inspections and industry events. Knowledge is then shared by the attendees across all of the venue sourcing teams.
- Negotiation & contracting skills
Conducting meaningful conversations with suppliers to help settle differences by reaching a compromise that satisfies our clients and leads to best savings and cost avoidance. Our specialists are part of the open dialogue with our preferred suppliers.
If you’d like to put our expertise to the test for sourcing the right venue for your next event, get in touch!