May 2012 . www.conference-news.co.uk . 39 VENUE FINDERSimon Gray, Sales Director of Chooseyourvenue.com: We are essentially a venue fi nding directory site for both corporate and personal site users to search for venues and events of all types both in the UK and internationally. Our service is direct to client, so all enquiries sent from the searcher are received direct by the client rather than through a preferred supplier pool or passed to agents. This means the client or subscriber of our sites has instant contact and has control where the enquiry or RFP is sent, thus improving the booking effi ciency and service received.Where we are unique as a venue fi nding service is, rather than rely on a single web resource to service a site user's requirements, (which in many cases can be as diverse as a private party booking, conference room hire, to a teambuilding day at a race circuit or booking the annual Christmas party) we have a portfolio of four individual sites to search from.As competition between venues in a subdued market is rife, having a simple search facility for site users that will fi nd them the right venue and the right contact to deal with said enquiry all helps in ultimately ensuring the booking is converted.Martin Thorley, Marketing Manager at Findmeaconference.com: We are a dedicated venue fi nding agency that sources and books venues and accommodation through our sister company Findmeahotelroom.com for the business and leisure market. Enquiries reach the reservations department via the Swebsite, by telephone to the call centre, Airplus virtual credit card and bill-back.Although clients' budgets have decreased with the recent economic pressures, the number of enquiries has not. Lead times have also noticeably shortened between the initial enquiry to the date of the event. Therefore, to assist with ensuring a quick turnaround we have undergone a complete redevelopment of the online booking portal, enabling clients to cater their search and forward enquiries direct via the website. A client can limit results by highlighting specifi c categories and settings, such as layout, venue style and location, but can also search according to budget. This has not only lead to cost saving benefi ts but has also improved time management for clients, reducing the time spent on searching for venues.Warini Munshi, International Business Development Director at Hotels.info: Hotel.info is a hotel reservation service for business and leisure customers with more than 210,000 hotels available around the world. Customers booking via our site achieve signifi cantly better prices in comparison with other booking channels. In addition, hotel.info shows all available room prices for each venue fi nderhotel, so that price and hotel facilities, but also on the more than 1.5m hotel evaluations and ratings submitted by previous hotel guests. Compared with existing rating portals, hotel.info customers can rely on 100 per cent genuine hotel ratings, since only Finding the rightby email and even through social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook.We also offer a free of charge account management service for clients booking on a regular/volume basis, which includes review meetings, management reporting and various payment solutions such as the customer can always select the cheapest or most suitable room price. All bookings via hotel.info are transferred directly to the respective hotel's own reservation system for instant confi rmation.Business customers seeking hotel rooms can base their decisions to book a room not only on the core information such as room Finding the right venue to suit the very specifi c needs of a meeting or event can be a tricky business. Sarah O'Donnell asks a selection of those in the know how they make their choicePLANNER VIEWPOINT: Laraine Taylor, Event Marketing Manager, at RM Education: We have built a fantastic working relationship with our venue finder. They take the time to understand their clients and the events they are delivering. They will constantly review and improve what they do, and challenge our ideas, suggesting ways we can improve. They feel ownership of our customers, we are working together to deliver our events. With the venue finder also managing all the invoicing relating to our events, it saves me from endless negotiation and communication with hotels.
VENUE FINDERS40 . www.conference-news.co.uk . May 2012 Worldwide venue directory for meeting and event planners. 100% commission-free Search venues and events Free venue finding service UK and International No registration requiredTel. 01460 259056 Email. firstname.lastname@example.org who have booked and recently stayed in each hotel are asked for their opinion. Hotel.info also offers a meeting tool, a mobile website and its service is available as app for smartphones in several languages, available for Android, Windows Phone 7, iPhone and BlackBerry. And all free of charge.We also do not prefer any hotel group/chain. We have partnerships with small privately-owned properties as well as with chains like Best Western or Hilton.Jayne Foster, Managing Director for Event Works Europe: We offer both venue fi nding and full event management and our background is both agency and in-house account management which allows us a greater understanding of budget control combined with the unique creative delivery that every client is looking for. We work to the Hotel Booking Agents Association (HBAA) Code of Conduct which sets the industry standard. We also always make it clear to our clients that we receive the industry standard commission from venues and hotels and this is how we get paid for our time. We usually go out to approximately six to eight venues depending on the brief and negotiate on the clients' behalf. Once the contract is checked and agreed by us we hand over to the client for sign off. Naturally, we follow up with the client on progress and check they are happy with the venue and would intervene if there was a problem at any stage.Celia Scholtz, Operations Manager at the Cavendish Group: As we are a hospitality and event management company we can do as much or as little as the client wants from solely sourcing venues and suppliers to full event management. For some clients we've only done venue searches and for others everything from inception right through to running the event. We have a few preferred caterers, production companies and transport companies. We don't work solely with these but when suitable for the client and the event we know we can trust these suppliers, and we will get the best rate. With venues and hotels we don't have any preferred suppliers as we prefer to be flexible and ensure we suggest a venue or hotel which is best suited to the client and their event, rather than ensuring we get a bigger commission. We will suggest two or three which fi t the brief and then we like to try and throw in a wild card, as we often fi nd clients need to be a little spontaneous and not so safe with their choice of venues.We keep an eye out for offers and deals and we source venues which are not well known, working with them to put them on the map as a potential venue for events, in return we receive good rates, which we are then able to pass onto our clients. VENUEDIRECTORY.COMVenuedirectory.com offers venues and more than 27,000 worldwide. Their online booking tool is backed up by free webinar and verbal demonstrations. "We're aware that for some, moving away from manual procedures or customary venue search directories can leave an event organiser full of trepidation," said MD of the service, Michael Begley, "which is why we focus as much attention on customer care and coaching webinars as we do upon the ongoing enhancement of our venue fi nding solution and its functionality".The company's venue search system GRATIS is a professional booking tool branded to any company's corporate identity. Powered with data from venuedirectory.com some users claim it saves them up to 45 per cent in time efficiencies. The company says GRATIS event planners are on target to generate £500m in business enquiries within a 12-month period. a database of over 11,600 UK We will suggest two which fit the brief and then throw in a wild card, as we often find clients need to be a little spontaneous