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What Happens When You Use Multiple Venue Sourcing Agencies?

We can all appreciate why clients may want to choose multiple venue sourcing agencies, especially in a pitch process. They want to make sure that they are getting the best deal, and are not missing a gem of a venue. Yes, using multiple agencies keeps the procurement department happy, however, there are a number of reasons why this might not be the best idea:

  • There are only going to be a finite number of venues that can accommodate all the requirements. This means, venues will receive multiple RFP’s from many different agencies.
  • Multiple requests can block a venue’s calendar with the same piece of business, giving the venue a false idea of the demand for this date and increasing the rates.

I’ve even heard of one case, where a client sent a brief to twenty-six agencies. The brief was so specific, there was only one venue that could accommodate all the requirements. As you can imagine, this venue wasn’t too happy to be bombarded with all these agencies all requesting information. They got so sick of the demands, they actually turned down the business. Slightly short sighted, when they were obviously the only venue that could accommodate the event!

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  • Often venues won’t respond to more than a few requests, or may send all agencies just the basic information. Meaning a struggle to obtain additional information, providing only rudimentary details for clients.
  • Most venues adhere to the HBBA standards of practice, and should they receive the same proposal from multiple agencies, then the same rates should be quoted to all. With this, there is no room for negotiation, which can be frustrating when a client does decide on the agency they want to use, and all the other agencies may not have released their holds yet.
  • The pitch process can take a lot longer than a standard enquiry to make a decision, which not all venues understand. With face to face presentations and the client narrowing down which agency they want to use, it can be months before they decide which venue the event is to be held at, by which time, the venues have released the space on hold or confirmed for another event.
  • Switching agencies at any stage of the enquiry process can confuse the venues, as they may not know where the information lies.
  • The venue won’t know who is entitled to the commission for example, and this can be embarrassing for everyone involved. The venue doesn’t want to alienate or damage relationships with any agency, especially one they may work regularly with.

In my opinion, it would be much easier if the client decided on the agency they wanted to use first and then start the venue finding process. It’s a dream, I know! Here are some things to consider:

  • Which agency is right for the client?
  • How creative is the agency?
  • Will they think outside the box, or give the client the same run of the mill venues?
  • Will they really understand my business and what is trying to be achieved?

It’s great to explore all options when deciding upon an agency to work with.

The above points highlight the different scenarios that can occur when using multiple venue sourcing agencies, however, using multiple sourcing agencies isn’t always bad and some of the advantages could be:

  • You discover a new agency you’ve never worked with before and they’re great. A fantastic new business relationship is born!
  • One agency interprets your brief slightly differently and you discover a completely new angle on running your event.
  • A particularly creative agency comes up with a stellar venue, that no one else has ever even heard of.

"The best piece of advice I can give, is if you are looking to use a venue sourcing team to help plan your event, then stick to using one agency. It makes life, and the whole process, so much easier."

The best piece of advice I can give, is if you are looking to use a venue sourcing team to help plan your event, then stick to using one agency. It makes life, and the whole process, so much easier. This will, of course, make your job simpler, and will ensure that you provide a great venue for your client.

By Andrea Bromell - Venue Consultant