Posted February 4th, 2009 by maarten.vannest...
Since 2003 I’m campaigning for freedom of trade and fair competition in our industry.
Some magazines have published editorials, articles and even dedicated covers to the practice that is threatening our industry: the tying of exclusive suppliers by venues. In other words: You want to have your conference here? You will work with who we say!
Let’s not be naïve: the practice is still amongst us. It is barely discussed in the meetings industry: is it taboo?
Meeting planners complain, feel abused and cheated. But they are too busy, they move on and hope the next meeting will be better.
In times of economic downturn, we should not complicate the life of meeting organisers and certainly not deliberately make things more expensive than they should be. Sadly, this is what some conference centres still do. Venues charging 15% extra, just to allow their clients, the organisers to work with their own preferred or contracted suppliers. This is not what I would call good corporate governance: it is creating unfair competition.
Today, meeting content, the learning and message delivery become recognised as the critical factor for our industries future. Meeting organisers should therefore be able to work with long term teams of their choice for their annual meetings. When venue’s work with exclusive suppliers, this becomes a liability; ultimately a threat to the advancement of our industry.
so I say: YES to preferred suppliers, NO to exclusive suppliers! And if AIPC wants to debate this with me: bring it on!
A sad example is the beautiful ‘beep’ Conference centre in "Beep" that has a whole list of exclusive suppliers on page 17 of their Internal regulations 2009.
It breaks my heart to see such wonderful modern centre, use such ugly and old policies.
Can you help start the discussion? Can you publish something? Can you interview planners about this? Can you ask your local Conference centre about their polocies?
We need to keep fighting this and give exposure to cases like the Amsterdam Rai that changed their policies a few years ago.
Thanks for helping a good cause.