Damian: Thrive or die

Listen to this article

Do you have a “take it or leave it” attitude? Damian Clarkson, managing director of The London Kitchen, explains why venues should either adapt or risk losing business…

It takes many different elements to come together in unison to create an amazing event. Just as with creating fabulous food – a really great event is the result of bringing together all the right ingredients and for them to all gel and work together. All of those elements have to consider themselves as partners: venues, suppliers and agencies have to work in partnership in order to make the event work.  And as with any partnership, flexibility and understanding of the other partners’ requirements is key.

The venue is a pivotal part of the equation and can make or break an event, so a flexible working relationship with the venue is essential. Despite what the pundits say, we are still in a recession but the business is still out there and I am interested in bringing my clients to venues that can prove they are adaptable to my clients’ requirements. I’m not asking for discounts, but good value and a flexible way of working. I am not interested in taking my clients to venues that offer a ‘that’s what we do – take it or leave it’ approach!

Just recently I had a confirmed event for a client but we just needed a venue. Of the three I approached – one’s website wasn’t working so I couldn’t get in touch and the sales manager for the second venue had gone on holiday, not told anyone and her voice mail was full up. Both of these venues had recently re-opened after a significant investment in refurbishment – but were in effect closed to my confirmed business!

This is the age of the partnership – working together and focusing on what we can do, rather than what we can’t. The Roundhouse is a venue that consistently gets it right. They have a small, personable and hands-on team so we know that we will be working with, and building a relationship with, one person of a team of three – rather than one of a team of ten. Most venues thrive on repeat business so building relationships with suppliers is essential. As Bill Gates once said: “Our success has really been based on partnerships from the very beginning.”

And there is a man who has done something rather right!