How can agents and venues form better working relationships?
Over the past month, I have been on a mission to visit agents, to understand how our agency partners work and to find out if there is anything that Gibson Hall as a venue could be doing differently.
I would like to share with you what I have learnt along the way.
- Communication is key: Understand exactly what the events specification is and if there is anything that you do not understand then just ask. Make sure to always let the agent know the availability status (E.g. how many other clients are holding on one particular date)
- Commission is the unspoken word: This does need to be discussed more openly. Agents understand that venues offer different commission rates but a good agent will always recommend to the client the venue that best fits their brief regardless of commission. However, if it comes down to putting forward two venues that both perfectly fit the client they would most likely put forward the venue out of the two that offers the higher commission rate. Some agents will ask the venue with the lowest commission rate to negotiate as a one-off to win the business, but not all. Most venues are willing to look at how much business an agent is bringing them and then increase commission out of good will, this is because venues understand that agents, especially small agencies, need to earn their living too.
- All agents want is answers: It is really simple, agents just want their questions answered.
- Information must always be kept up to date: Floorplans and capacities should be sent to agents for every enquiry and agents will also want to see these on venue websites. Agents want images that can be copied and forwarded on to their clients.
My summary and learnings would be that the perfect agent/venue relationship comes down to communication, listening, respect for each other’s time, and good response times from both parties.
By Melissa Goldberg, Business Development Manager