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Martin Ellis of Team Umbrella Ltd 06/09/2017 [0]

Feminism season again?

I'm guessing news is short as we reach the start of a new cycle of claims that women are hard done by. In the same issue that you highlight a supposed pay imbalance between the genders, as well as lauding Ms Sharpe's blatantly sexist female-only mentoring scheme, you include a feature wherein the overwhelming majority of contributors highlight that there seems no bias towards females succeeding in this industry.

You mention an agency with 22 staff, all of whom are female. Helene Kemsley points out that being female hasn't held her back in any way, and there is also the extremely relevant point raised that many female event profs choose to go freelance. And yet you have the temerity to use the leader "The Pay Wall"?

The pay gap is a perceived injustice dreamed up by those who seek what they believe is a fair situation, by unfair means. The simple fact is that if you try to engineer a perfect situation, you will end up with a perfect mess.

How about we focus on the real world instead?

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Tracey Jones of II 24/08/2017 [3]

How the freeloaders operate

On the issue of sharing, ( there are a group of people (mainly PAs but some freeloaders in that group too) who run a sort of events "syndicate". As soon as an invitation is received by one member it's automatically sent to everyone else in the group. Everyone in the group will RSVP (with plus 1s) thereby increasing each member's chance of attendance. It doesn't matter who gets accepted/ confirmed because any member of the group will attend, regardless of the name on the list (organisers don't know one person from another). There are about ten of them on this email list, each with a plus 1 so that's 20 people you can block for a start!

Event Organiser 04/09/2017

Any chance Tracey gave the names of these thieves to Meetpie? Can't wait until their email access to free food and drink is cut off! I'm sure there are more than 20 people doing this.

John Fisher of FMI Group 27/10/2017

There are commercial developments going on in retail around facial recognition technology. One of them is for CCTV cameras to recognize convicted shoplifters as they enter a store and send a text message to the store detectives. I wonder if this technology could be used at EIBTM or any of the major award ceremonies to dob in the freeloaders? Their pictures could then be screened around the exhibition areas or the main stage to warn exhibitors and delegates. What fun!

Janet Miller 15/01/2018

I like that idea John, but they'll complain about data protection and privacy. Always something getting in the way!

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Mark Dodds of Roythornes Solicitors 07/08/2017 [0]

No surprise that above inflation price rises lead to decline in sales.

It doesn't need a degree in rocket science to see why hotels upping their rates by twice inflation leads to a decline in sales. (Editors Blog 7/8/17).

Brexit is a great excuse, but if venues took a harder look at themselves they may find the decline in sales is more to do with their continual uplift in rates rather than a vote on our participation in Europe.

It's more than covering costs, and the sooner they realise that we're all in it together the sooner their sales figures will recover.

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Bill Prosser of The Competitive Edge 24/07/2017 [0]

Permission for Commission

The argument against commission is one that airlines made 20 years ago

Unfortunately it is the small agencies that will suffer while the larger ones are able to negotiate preferential rates and marketing contributions

But there is a stronger case for venues not taking commission from event suppliers

We are organising a dinner for 600 people at an historic venue this evening. While we received 8% commission on the £60k venue hire the venue has charged at least 10% commission to the suppliers working for us which include marquee supplier, caterers, production and entertainment - the total budget for which was around £550k. SO the venue has charged our suppliers £55k in commission

We have another event at a large London venue next month where we needed a specialist Indian caterer - and there were none on the venue's Approved Supplier list

The venue said it was no problem to bring in another caterer - but they would have to pay the venue 15% commission - which would, of course, be added to our bill

If we are going to scrap venue commissions I say let's get rid of all of them!

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Mark Dodds of Roythornes Solicitors 10/07/2017 [1]

Permission for commission?

Thanks for an interesting and thought provoking piece on agency commission. ‘Commission impossible? MIT July2017’

We don’t ask the supermarket how much profit they are making on our weekly shop, but we know they are making a margin, so why should we expect agencies to declare their commissions?

Providing we feel we are getting value for money, why does it matter how much we have paid, or how much those providing the service have made from us?

Having said that, I work in a professional services business where we are ‘on the clock’ and quite open about our time-costed charges. There’s no room for guesswork, and surely a ‘fee based’ model such as this is the only one which can remove suspicion and distrust which is never a good platform on which to do business.

arachni_name arachni_name of arachni_text 21/07/2017

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Paula Kelsey of Cloud 9 Event Management 09/05/2017 [1]

Why Don't We Count?

There seems to be an increasing and troubling trend among some of the bigger venue and hotel chains to remove a direct contact or account manager from servicing smaller or independent agencies – or those whose annual spend does not reach a dictated level.

While we fully appreciate that suppliers only have so much time and resource to service independent agencies, it seems terribly short-sighted to adopt this policy.

We’re not asking to be cosseted or even for a quarterly review, but knowing that you have a direct and reliable contact makes all the difference for most venue finders. Our industry is all about people after all.

The popularity of social media sites does make finding someone suitable to help you with an enquiry much easier, but a working relationship built on trust is far more valuable than a name on a Facebook group.

Many boutique agencies, including ours, don’t have preferred supplier lists and we don’t work to override contracts as our business is based on finding the right fit for the right brief, irrespective of the client.

Our spend with some of the larger chains might be erratic and this may well be a situation that many independent agencies share. On this basis can the larger chains really abandon us? Who knows what business they might miss out on if it’s a collective issue.

I know we’re far more likely to steer a client towards a venue with whom we have a contact, so any potential issues or problems can be quickly addressed – and - I’d far rather speak to someone I’ve met than ring a central call centre who don’t consider our enquiry with the same priority as some of the bigger agencies.

Business for many agencies like ours is fluid and the right brief for one of the bigger chains might hit our desk tomorrow – but if we don’t count, then you won’t either.

Martin Ellis of Team Umbrella Ltd 30/05/2017

Completely agree Paula. I'd go even further and criticise some of the larger chains who have opted for premium rate numbers for enquiries - I guess if they're short of a few pounds. We've emailed a few recently and ironically they've replied... NEVER. Mentioning no names, Britannia Hotels, but do you really care so little about business?

People buy from people? If only we get to speak to a person. Maybe it should be: People only speak to people they already know?

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