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Creativity and originality more likely to win over planners

Agencies, corporates share tips at Meeting Professionals International Insights on how venues can win business

Pictured: Rick Stainton MD of the Smyle Group.

Venues have been urged to think creatively to win over planners, with agencies listing ideas such as hand-written invitations or unique set-ups to pique interest.

At a round table discussion at this week’s Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Insights dinner, agency and corporate planners said venues who understood client needs, and who were proactive with inquiries, were more likely to win business.

Smyle Group’s managing director Rick Stainton said: "If you’re meeting with an agency, talk less about the statistics, whether it’s capacity for a 250 reception or whatever; that can all be looked at online. Consider how your team and venue can add value to their events and related objectives, because that’s what the agency will have to do when they present it to their clients. Whether it’s things like new investments in technology, sustainable sourcing of local catering produce or the ability to customise certain environments, give us the relevant bits – and make sure you do your research to know what client base the agency has so align your pitch accordingly.

"You’ve got to be creative about it because otherwise you’re just another venue talking to another agency and will get lost in the noise."

About 40 corporate, agency and venue representatives attended the MPI Insights on Monday night, which was held at The Langham. Attendees were divided into four tables and enjoyed a two-course dinner, while discussing questions posed to them such as 'what sort of supplier events do agencies want to attend?' and 'what are the dos and don’ts when pitching for business?'

Maxwell Fellows, of Clive, said he had noticed a trend towards the old-fashioned invitation. "Origami is quite popular at the moment. It’s quality. You can see there is some thought that has gone into it," he said.

Stainton added: "People are or should be more digital focused, but be smart with it so it stands out. (But the) last time people sent me an unusual looking letter, I read it; that’s more personal. People still open letters.

"If you send an email, if it’s targeted right, titled enticingly and it says something like ‘this will change your life in 30 seconds’, I’m more likely to read it. If you send an attachment it could get blocked. Send a link (instead)."

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