Can You Really Trust Your Event Suppliers?

Event suppliers are crucial to successful meetings and events. My experiences with meeting planners in the past have made me realize that many planners simply do not trust some suppliers. The main area of concern always seems to focus on budgets.

Meeting planners are used to traveling to many cities to execute their events. And, many times these planners find themselves in situations where they have to establish new relationships with their event suppliers.

Meeting Planners Look for Trust More Than Anything In Their Event Suppliers

I was a co-owner of a successful Destination Management Company, a DMC as they are known in the industry. Destination management companies act as a broker for meeting planners – they match the planners’ needs with appropriate event suppliers. When we were bidding on a piece of work, often we would try to ascertain the budget for the event. And, more times than not, the planner would not disclose that information. Rather they would say that they wanted to see what costs we presented and they would make their decision based on the overall price.

That is really putting the cart before the horse but I do understand the hesitation.

Event management involves a tremendous amount of coordination. Often there are many suppliers involved just to execute one event. So one can easily understand why a meeting planner hesitates when working with their suppliers.

Establishing Trust between Event Suppliers and Meeting Planners

My approach to working with, or hoping to work with, a meeting planner was to establish trust from the get go. Often times the RFP (request for proposal) would actually outline what the meeting planner wanted for their event. So it would only be natural that my competitors were also proposing many of the same venues and activities that I was. Therefore, for me, it was important that the meeting planner felt comfortable working with me. In other words, they trusted me.

And just how did I develop trust?

Pricing was always a big point of trust for me. I made no bones about the fact that I was a for profit company and would, therefore, need to charge for my services. If a meeting planner didn’t understand that, or wasn’t willing to factor in a fee for my services, then I really didn’t want to work with that potential client in the first place. Rather than presenting just a per person price I would break out all of the pricing for the planner to see up front (venue cost, the food and beverage costs, the staff costs, the transportation costs, etc.).

Secondly, I would always provide referrals. I would try to match the type of past customers to planner that I was proposing an event to. I felt that it was important for a potential customer of mine to be able to talk to someone that I have worked with in the past. And, believe it or not, many times my previous customers were contacted. And that pleased me.

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Trust and integrity are characteristics not to be taken for granted. Unfortunately there will always be event suppliers that are not 100% up front with their clients. But for those suppliers that can establish trust with their customers, they’ll find that the execution of the event can run a lot smoother. After all,  meeting planners really do like to rely on the expertise of local suppliers. But sometimes experience has taught these planners to put their guard up as they do not want to be played for a fool.

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