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DDRs and agency-venue relationships explored at Venue Summit

Inaugural event attracts 100 delegates for series of panels and break-out sessions, as organisers look to 2017

Pictured: The first ever Venue Summit took place on Friday at The Brewery

Variations of day delegate rates (DDR), the shared economy and challenges for the supplier sector were the major topics discussed at the inaugural Venue Summit.

The conference, which took place at The Brewery, was attended by 100 venue professionals - and organisers are already looking ahead for a second instalment in 2017. The day-long programme included break-out sessions covering case studies in brand development, sustainability and other influences.

In her address, Natalie Wiseman of BDRC revealed DDRs differed greatly between the north and south of the UK in Q1, with rates in the north dropping by up to 6 per cent. In that same period, she said south east DDRs remained strong while London figures increased.

A panel of agents discussed how venues could share the market with the ever-growing sharing economy, as Airbnb-style meeting spaces creep into the market. The panel said venues and agencies could improve working relationships by focusing on the 'personal touch' including understanding the agency's business and objectives.

This prompted queries from the floor on how to avoid wasting time on Requests for Proposals from agencies that had little chance of winning. Leigh Cowlishaw, chair of the HBAA, said that agents needed to "behave professionally" and should be responding to request for proposals according to the HBAA code of conduct.

Rory Ross-Russell of Global Conference Network, organisers of the event, added: “There was plenty of interaction and some great discussions, not to mention valuable insight from agents, shared best practice from fellow venues and practical tips for effective contracts and pricing strategies.

"Our initial feedback on the day has been very positive, with delegates seeing the value of having a conference that is dedicated specifically to venue issues. We are delighted with this first event and look forward to developing the programme further for 2017.”

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