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October 17, 2006

Shake-up for venue-finders

Newly launched Trinity Conferences plans to challenge the venue-finding sector, which has been criticised for showing bias towards particular venues.

Venue-finding agencies select locations for businesses looking for the ideal place to hold their events. The service is generally free and is particularly important for those organisations that hold several events a year. Venue-finders make their money through the commissions they receive from the venues they choose, leading to criticism that some chase high commissions over the demands of their clients.

"I think that some venue-finders have got the industry a bad name in the past for operating in this way," commented Tony Rogers, chairman of the British Association of Conference Destinations. "Venue-finders are essentially unregulated (there's nothing to stop anyone setting up their own venue finding service tomorrow and running it from their front room!) and there have in the past been a number who have simply chased the highest commission rather than put the client's interests first."

To overcome this problem, unlike traditional and more established venue placement agencies, Trinity’s key business measure will be conversion ratios. Performance of venue-finders has traditionally been measured on a quantitative, revenue basis as opposed to a qualitative proposition. By tracking the conversion of enquiries – those recommendations that turn into firm bookings by clients – the Trinity team will ensure that they are giving their clients a precise service that fully meets their face-to-face marketing needs.
Head of Trinity, Jacqui Kavanagh, who was recently recognised by The SHINE Awards for her role in the UK travel, tourism and hospitality sectors, said: “Trinity represents a unique venture in a sector that is going through so much change. While there is a lot of consolidation going on, we have carried out research with our clients, all of which are excited at our business proposition.”

Commenting on Trinity’s proposition, Izania Downie, executive director of events industry body Eventia, said: “Any business practice that aims for improved efficiencies, better performance and measurable results has to be commended. Eventia certainly promotes innovative thinking that produces improved service delivery, and we wish Jacqui every success with her venture.”

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