The latest ICCA Venue Sector Survey reveals that a more commercial approach to revenue management may not result in good value for the clients.

Although public sector ownership of venues increased slightly from 45% to 51% from 2015 to 2018, the percentage being privately managed totals over 60% with a further 11.6% being managed by public private partnerships.

This seems to result in good financial performance across venues. Income averages 45% from space rental, 33% from F&B (catering) and 22% other with new revenue streams including digital media and signage, venues setting up their own events and exhibitions, destination events such as festivals and naming rights and sponsorship.

Income increase are healthy:

-9.8% average in rental income

-8.7% in F&B income

–8.1% in technical services

-8.4% in other services

Yet from the clients’ point of view pricing may not represent good value. 51% of venues include sound system in conference room rental, 50% technical assistance and 42% a projector and screen. This brings to mind a great quote I use from a conference organiser – hiring a conference room without a projector and screen is like a hotel bedroom without a bed!

71% include Free Wifi yet only 48% include Bandwidth of 5Mbps or more. When delegates often have 3 devices each bandwidth can all too often be inadequate resulting in poor service.

Exhibition hall rental also involves many extra charges – a strategy that is recognised for stand alone exhibitions but is not popular with association conference organisers. Extra or hidden costs that were not expected or transparent in the original proposal are the bugbear of many organisers.

So to gain competitive advantage and help potential clients to make their decision on venue without lots of extra work, think of the following:

Is your pricing good value?

If you were the client, would it appear so to you? Have you provided the costs in the format they asked for so that they are able to analyse it easily? Remember if they are gaining partners or sponsors for certain elements of the event they need to identify exactly what costs are involved. How can you easily add value at low cost to yourself.

The association conference market is very competitive – for venues to be successful they need to think like their clients and stay ahead of their expectations!

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