Some venues report that they are still being squeezed on costs, with the role of procurement staff here to stay. As a result, they are rethinking the packages they offer. Chris Zachar, head of corporate sales and head of Silverstone International at Silverstone Circuits, says that as a premium facility with a huge amount of versatility, many agencies and corporates assume the venue is an expensive option.
"Historically, we have not always been as flexible as we could be when looking at opportunities," he says. "However, we have reviewed how we cost in response to the needs of a particular brief. As a result, we now have a range of DDRs. We are also considering the tenancy of the event, and the overall value when looking at room hires, with a sliding scale in place, reflecting both set up and live event."
ICC Birmingham also says it has been looking at its packages to ensure it remains competitive, introducing new pricing options such as ‘risk sharing’ to help clients with their upfront commitment, while London’s QEII Centre launched DDR packages last year in response to the demands of its clients’ budgets.
Sarah McQueen, sales and marketing manager at Searcys The Gherkin, says the venue is being challenged to justify every cost quoted, but believes this is positive for the business.
"Since the recession, people have to be very wary of where they are spending their money and all companies need to be able to be held accountable of the final spend," she says.
Others believe that while cost is still an important, it is now just one of the key factors in the event planning process, as opposed to being the single most important one.
"The quality of venue technology, refreshments and lunch catering, familiar venue staff, and location are all key considerations when making a decision," says 30 Euston Square’s Val MacDonald. The venue now offers a corporate membership scheme to bookers who hold a number of events a year and would like to keep the costs down.
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