Who should you trust to get you out of the poo?
There’s no substitute for long-standing contacts and trusted relationships when it comes to a safe pair of event hands, says Rachel Ley, MD of the Rachel Ley consultancy.
In the US there’s a marketplace website that’s gaining popularity among event planners.
Event Integrity was founded last year by corporate planner Chrystal Huskey in response to unscrupulous behaviour by suppliers and agencies.
To apply for a listing on the site, each applicant’s information is tested according to an algorithm, which measures levels of trustworthiness, honesty and potential liability.
Once approved, agencies and suppliers show-up in searches of reliable, trusted event professionals and have access to an online marketplace that offers promotional, networking and educational opportunities, focused on professionalism.
It may be a sad indictment of the American MICE market that there’s a need for Event Integrity, but it got us thinking about the importance of trusted relationships this side of the pond, and why we wouldn’t expect to see that website launch here, in the UK, anytime soon.
It’s too simplistic to say that the UK events industry is more compact than its US counterpart and, therefore, underhand business ethics are more likely to be exposed more quickly and the guilty parties soon run out of town.
We may operate from a smaller island base, but the number of new entrants setting themselves up as event professionals appears to be on the rise; so how do you really know who you can trust?
The answer is, you can’t, not really.
There’s various accreditations and certifications that will provide clues to a company’s trustworthiness, while a paid-up trade association membership may tell you how committed a supplier or agency is to serving our industry.
But, when you get right down to it, the only way to really trust someone is to get to know them.
That’s why relationships and trusted experience are so important in our industry.
It’s always been said that the UK events industry is too small to not get on with your rivals or to shun one supplier in favour of another. The truth is that we’re no longer a small industry (£42.3bn to the UK economy is hardly small change), but maintaining trusted historic relationships with other agencies, venues and suppliers is more important than ever.
Events, by definition, are live happenings so, occasionally, things may happen that no-one could forecast. From a business perspective, therefore, we need to know who we can rely on to step in at the last minute, get us out of the poo, or rescue a technical cock-up. Only years of building confidence in our supplier relationships has given us that knowledge.
From our client’s perspective, they need to know that we’re fearless, unflappable, calm under pressure and a safe pair of hands that they can count on. Only years of building trusted client relationships can provide that level of comfort and assurance.
RLC turns 12-years-old in January, yet some of our client relationships span the best part of two decades. There’s confidence and comfort in working together but never complacency.
We constantly strive to get to know both our client’s businesses and their event requirements better so that, in the heat of the event, when decisions need to be taken, we can be relied upon to make the right call.
You may be able to guarantee a company’s professional integrity with a website listing, but it’s only through nurtured, meaningful relationships, can you really rely on someone to deliver the highest standards of event activity, time and again.
That’s why, we believe that during the pitch process, alongside asking for trusted badges of integrity, clients should consider asking agencies how long they’ve worked with their longest standing client and what they consider the secret to that longevity is.
Here at RLC, we value all of our trusted long-term relationships. They’re the difference between taking unnecessary supplier risks and placing your events programme in a safe pair of hands you can really count on.