By Michael Aldridge

As the banking industry lurches from one miss selling scandal to another, the event industry dusts itself off after what could be called a challenging period. However, with some positives London 2012 really did show that the events industry is a business and not some kind of hobby that can be directed from a spare bedroom.

A few years back I recall our industry had its own incident with agencies marking up client’s invoices and taking their standard 8% too. It was rich pickings for some agencies, never mind the client felt they had been taken for a ride.The next few years saw a real clamp down with agents having to prove they were getting good rates from venues etc.With these changes we tried to become more transparent sending a full breakdown of prices and specifying the agent commission.

Here at Merlin Events when a client rings for a quote we build in the entire costs and send it back to them within four hours.The quote will have all integral items; venue hire, red carpet, security, furniture, drinks package of premium wines, food package (unless specified), hostess team, furniture, lighting, sound system and screens for branding.In fact our quote includes what you need to host a party.

Why do venues quote a basic hire then clients need to contact numerous suppliers to gain a basic quote?

Some venues do not even quote what’s required to make the event happen i.e the cost to hire a star cloth that is required to divide areas and then charging the client to take it away again. Really? It seems to me a lost opportunity, for we end up with clients being on guard as they feel we are not being up front with them about what the party will actually cost.I know new clients to the industry are overwhelmed with organising an event so why do we make the whole process even more complicated?

Do we make it more complicated or does choice really give the client control? Do we have supplier lists because that’s what has always been done?


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