How do you ensure you’re always up-to-date on the latest and greatest event venues? How do you earn and justify the “professional” appellation that’s part and parcel of being an event professional? Here are some tips for finding the perfect venue!
Accept You Don’t Know Everything
The first step to perfect venue knowledge is, paradoxically, to admit to yourself, your competitors and your clients that you don’t know everything. An attitude of humility has a strange but devastatingly positive effect: it makes it much more likely that people will share things with you.
Make Friends with the Hotel Concierges
If you want to know what’s going on in any hotel or, indeed, what’s happening with in-house groups then talk to the concierges. These guys actually do know everything (unlike you – see 1 above). They can be an immense source of information and knowledge providing you treat them as the professionals they truly are, with the utmost respect.
Talk to the Techies
Another great source of leads for new venues in any location is the tech community. Production guys doing staging, rigging, lighting and sound move from venue to venue on a daily basis and probably have the best grasp of what’s new.
Use Your Network
If knowing all the cool locations in your home location is hard, then it’s obviously impossible to know them in overseas destinations where you only work occasionally. That’s why your universal network is SO important. These are the people that’ll make working in Sydney or Sao Paolo or Shanghai as easy and straightforward as if it were Dublin or Dundee. These are the people that have the inside track on what’s hot and what’s not all over the world so finding the right venue will be as easy as sending a Whatsapp.
Talk to the CVB
Finally, when going overseas, be sure to call the Convention and Visitors’ Bureau (CVB) or Destination Marketing Organisation (DMO) of the destination you’re travelling to. Increasingly DMOs are breaking free from the “civil service” mentality that would never colour outside the lines. Many are made up of highly creative marketers, deeply connected to their destination with uncommonly good destination knowledge. When you tell them you’re looking for something cool and edgy the won’t direct you to the local Hilton but provide you with a list of achingly cool venues certain to blow your client away.
Finding the perfect venue is definitely a “long game” and it involves painstaking detective work. It starts with relationship and network building, locally, nationally and internationally. It includes advanced search-meister capabilities that enable you to expertly fish out relevant data from the web and then validate this data again your web of local contacts who, ultimately, won’t let you go wrong.