How Do I Know If I Need A Booking Agency or Event Planner?
Many businesses start out by doing all of their own hotel and meeting room bookings in an attempt to keep the work in-house and to save money. In a lot of cases businesses find the time and effort it can take to find the right hotel or venue and the amount of follow up and problem solving time required can in fact prove to be an inefficient use of their time (and hence money). Instead they find they would be better off concentrating on their area of expertise and leaving the hotel and meeting room bookings to professional booking agents.
So how do you know when it's the right time to hand over your hotel and venue bookings to a hotel booking agent? In the article below we highlight some ways to help determine whether you need an agency to assist with your venue finding and event planning.
Do You Have Enough Internal Resources and Time?
Whether you're looking for hotel accommodation when you or your staff are attending meetings, conferences, training etc. or the right conference venue when you are organising your own meetings or conferences, how much time are you currently spending researching and looking for the right venue to meet your needs?
Does your staff have enough time to be able to effectively manage upcoming events and meetings without compromising on everyday work responsibilities and projects and do they have the time to sort out booking issues? Or are you finding that your daily responsibilities suffer and sometimes take a back seat?
A hotel booking or venue finding agent can significantly reduce the time spent by your staff in arranging hotels, events and booking venues, leaving you free to concentrate on your business.
In the previous point we asked how much time are you spending on finding the hotels and venues and planning your next event? The next question is - are you spending enough time to guarantee you make the "right choice"?
Research shows that many staff and as many as 1 in 5 PAs don't take a lunch break because they already don't have enough time in the day to manage the tasks they have and that many staff are stressed at work as a consequence.
The HSE have reported that in 2014/15 alone stress accounted for 35% of all work related ill health cases and 43% of all working days lost due to ill health.
The main work factors cited by respondents as causing work related stress, depression or anxiety (LFS, 2009/10-2011/12) were workload pressures, including tight deadlines and too much responsibility.
If staff don't have the time, trying to manage bookings in-house could be a false economy. Getting help with your hotel and venue finding could in fact save you money.
Expertise and Knowledge
Do you have anyone in your team who is skilled at organisation, has experience in negotiation and is known for their attention to detail - just 3 of the most important factors when looking to book a venue or plan an event?
As well as being good at organisation, attention to detail and negotiation, a professional booking agent will have built up a valuable network of suppliers they know and trust. With their experience and knowledge of hundreds of venues, a booking agent will be skilled at finding the right hotel or identifying the right/most suitable venue for your event. Booking agents and event planners can also help you to get the best from your venue.
Clearly if you don't have this information to hand then finding the right venue is going to take a great deal of your valuable time.
It's worth taking into account the total amount you are spending on hotels and venues (including associated costs such as travel, food and drink) to determine if you're getting good value for money.
An agent who works with hotels and venues every day will know how much things cost and when venues are overcharging. They will also be able to negotiate prices on your behalf to ensure you get the best service and rates available, again saving you money.
How Successful Were Your Previous Venues/Events?
Take some time to go over how successful your previous hotel and venue/conference bookings have been and judge whether they provided value for money or whether you feel that more time or effort would have been required to make the booking a success. By doing this and looking at the points above you should be able to determine whether your next booking would be better met by a booking agent.
By hiring a professional hotel or conference booking agent you can reduce staff stress by ensuring they don't have to take precious time away from their work. A booking agent will make sure you keep to budget and give you peace of mind that all the details, no matter how big or small, are covered. They'll make sure that the best prices are negotiated and best of all you'll have a professional on hand who can bring their organisational skills to bear in helping you with advice and planning to ensure your booking is a great success. It's a win, win situation all round.
For information on hotel and conference room booking contact Booking Partners on +44 (0)330 022 8643 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.