Summer 2017

Best Venues London

Best Venues London

Carrie On Location

 Someone asked me the other day what makes a good venue finder, which really got me thinking. We make miracles happen every day, I was tempted to reply but didn’t. However, on reflection it does feel a bit like that. And in order to be part of our magical and wonderful world, there are a few qualities that every great venue finder needs to have in spades.

 

Sparking ideas and imagination

First things first – if you can’t think outside the box, don’t bother being a venue finder. I’m lucky in that I think I have the best job in the world, but then I’m always brimming with ideas and can’t wait to check them out.

Finding the right venue for your event isn’t simply a case of googling your preferred location + ‘venue’ – we can all do that! What makes venue finding agencies so special is our ability to think on our feet, to be one step ahead of our client’s brief and find solutions that exceed expectations to create simply unforgettable experiences. It takes creativity and skill and a whole lot of passion for the job.

Just recently, a client came to us with a sheer impossible brief: Find me a unique and prestigious London venue that’s never been used for a car launch before, he said. Not much to ask for, is it?! Unfazed, we got our magic wands out and got motoring. In the event, the venue was simply amazing, even removing a wall to accommodate the cars. A roaring success, you might say!

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Keeping everyone happy

If I had to choose one indispensable attribute that makes a great venue finder, I’d say it was negotiation skills. At times, it feels like we’re brokering Middle East peace deals, judging by the amount of tact and diplomacy that’s often required. On one side, we have a client with a budget and a long list of requirements for his event. Can we get him what he wants, what he really really wants?

On the other side, there’s a list of possible venues – all commercial enterprises that have to make a living. It’s a daily tightrope act to reconcile budget constraints with commercial viability, and one that we’ve got very good at performing! I’d say it was down to our massive powers of persuasion to clinch a deal that works for all parties concerned, so that the party can get started.

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A little charm goes a long, long way

I always remember my old mum banging on about how good manners cost nothing. I didn’t much appreciate her holier-than-thou advice as a teenager hell bent on rebellion any more than I failed to understand her pet peeve ‘if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all’. Now, I totally get it. Sorry Mum, you were right.

Why wouldn’t I want to treat my clients with respect? Maybe I’m a bit old fashioned but if someone comes to me with a tricky venue brief, trusting in my professional advice to find the best solution for them, I feel a real sense of pride that I’m able to help. It’s not about me, it’s about them. And a warm smile and a friendly chat can work wonders for any business relationship.

Stress shouldn’t get in the way. Even if I have a crazy day, or 10 nightmare clients, or 20 impossible briefs to fulfil, I’ve got to keep it together for everyone’s sake. No point being a prat – basic common courtesies are at the heart of every phone call, email and venue visit. Just as well that I’m a people person who loves nothing more than a good natter…

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Making the budget go on and on

In this business, you’d be lost without a head for figures. Event planning is all about budgets and – surprise, surprise– there’s never quite enough to go round! Clients look to us to be resourceful and somehow pull a genius solution out of the hat, so they get everything on their wish list while staying in budget. Good job, then, that we’re all distant relatives of Paul Daniels!

Here’s a good example: Rachel absolutely loved the venue we found (yes, it happens!) for her big birthday party, and everything was perfect except for the budget which was way too tight to cover drinks and catering on top of the cost of the venue hire. How to achieve the impossible? Easy. We elegantly solved the drinks problem by allowing for a welcome drink only, followed by a cash bar. Food was provided by way of a few street food trucks, so that guests were free to buy whatever food the fancied. Result? One very happy birthday girl.

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Show me the magic

What makes venue finding such an exciting business for me is that no two clients are ever the same. Some are very clear about what they want, having worked out every detail in advance, even down to the room dimensions they require. That’s great for us; it makes our job a lot easier.

But my creative juices really start to kick in when we’re asked to come up with fresh venue ideas to make an event really special. Sometimes, a plain old meeting room just won’t do, so what other suggestions do we have up our sleeve? Oh, I do like a bit of a challenge!

And that’s when the magic happens. Call it a sixth sense, if you like, but after so many years of experience in this mad industry, we have an intuitive knack for finding perfect venues that match the client company’s image and values but still wow with their uniqueness. It’s the best feeling in the world.

 

“This insight was provided by Carrie from Best Venues London and Function Fixers; with over 20 years experience  in finding the best venues in London…….”