Rising costs, recruitment challenges, the supply chain and the evolution of customer expectations were among the hot topics of discussion at the Meetings Industry Association’s (mia) latest Connect Day.
Taking place last week at Liverpool’s Titanic Hotel, the collaborative event provided a unique platform for venues and representatives from 15 of the UK’s leading agencies to engage and build mutually beneficial relations while also gaining exclusive insights from both perspectives.
The action-packed and immersive program included a series of panel sessions, peer-to-peer discussions and teambuilding activities as well as an informative agent Q&A session that inspired open discussion and industry solutions.
Among the discussions was the current recruitment challenge. While the ongoing search for talent continues, the rippling impact of using agency staff upon committed full-time employees was highlighted alongside long-term solutions such as developing closer relations with students. Elsewhere, successful examples of venues taking fresh approaches to recruitment and the hours offered to suit individuals were also showcased as practical ways to help ease the current problem.
Despite the increase in demand and flurry of enquiries that is putting huge pressure on response times, it was felt that the industry is becoming more attentive due to salary increases.
When posing questions to the agents during her corporate events landscape session, Sam Van Leeuwen, who is head of UK hotels and venues at PricewaterhouseCoopers and was very complimentary about the mia’s contract guidance, asked venues to be sensible with energy price increases as not all the available space is often used for one event.
Other key requests were to give breathing space to decision-makers while ensuring terms and conditions were given greater prominence in proposals, so clients can easily see the detail which ultimately saves time.
“Our Connect events, which are compiled with invaluable input from our voluntary agency taskforce, are always well-received as they provide a unique opportunity for both agents and venues to create mutually beneficial connections while understanding each other’s pain points. From the feedback we’ve already received, we know that these events are essential for collaborative and lucrative working. That’s why they continue to be a key part of our offering and why we are continuing to evolve the program further with more leading agents, while making them accessible throughout the regions.”
Kerrin MacPhie, chief executive of the mia
Commenting on LinkedIn Dan Elliot, national sales manager at Butlin’s Conference and Events said: “Days like yesterday are vital to build relationships but also share advice and support with each other.”
Jan Morris, business development manager at Formby Hall Golf Resort & Spa, said: “Huge thanks to the mia for a most informative and enjoyable Connect Day in my hometown. The panels and questions were perfectly selected and made for great discussions. It’s a superb reminder as to what a fabulously resilient industry we choose to be in.”
Ellie Turner, group sales manager at The Events Company, said: “Thank you for another brilliant Connect Day! Amazing to meet and connect with so many others passionate about our industry.”
The next mia Connect Day is due to take place on 24 August at Sandy Park in Exeter, which will feature another selection of top booking agents alongside a series of educational sessions. Further information on the event which will be opened by Delegate Wranglers’ founder Neil Thompson can be found here.