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New star rating standard launches for venues

International meetings industry speaker Paul Bridle is one of the founders of a new venue rating system, The Venue Standard. The new system is designed, say its backers, to provide buyers with a clear indication of the quality of both product and service offered by any given venue using the 1-5 star rating system that has become the standard in the hotel industry. The system’s founders claim it is the “first global assessment, ensuring fair comparison of venues by event buyers researching and planning events in a wide variety of different locations around the world”. The Venue Standard is the product of Nottingham-based Excellence Squared (a UKAS-accredited certification body). The organisation says it plans to grow internationally, with assessments planned for venues in Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia. The Venue Standard’s Gary Swarbrooke told CN: “Venue Standard has been launched in response to specific needs among event buyers and venues. “Firstly the rating system of 1-5 stars is globally recognised and understood. It doesn’t matter where you book a hotel, you understand the difference between two and five stars – the same needs to be true of meetings and event venues. “The Venue Standard distinguishes itself by being assessed by an accredited body with 21 years’ experience in assessments of various internationally recognised standards; as part of our process we attend on-site assessments for every single venue no matter where they fall on the rating scale using only qualified assessors.” This is something that the Meetings Industry Association’s AIM standard does not currently offer across the board. The Venue Standard team insists, however, it is seeking to complement alternative standards already in existence, “embracing similar accreditation schemes that cover similar criteria”. Gary Payne, the mia chair of its AIM development group, reacted to the launch of Venue Standard by saying: “Having been aware of and indeed met with the team developing Venue Standard a number of months ago, we welcome an additional scheme to assist in ensuring the highest possible standard for our industry. He added, however, that he considered AIM “The UK’s nationally recognised standard for accredited venues and service providers. It covers additional checks on finance, third party relationships, accessibility and sustainability as well as compliance to a code of conduct and up to date legislation. “In addition, AIM is also working closely with agents and four have recently achieved the AIM Expert hallmark and appointed an AIM Champion within their teams, after completing the inaugural AIM Expert workshop.” In addition to establishing a venue’s current quality rating, The Venue Standard promises significant data and feedback, says Swarbrooke. Excellence Squared is hoping its experience in certifying businesses for Investors in People, The Matrix Standard and a multitude of ISO standards will be a key differentiator, as well as promising visits by assessors. Under the star system, each venue is rated on four key areas – customer feedback, administration, quality of product and service delivery. The Priory Rooms in Birmingham is one venue to have undertaken The Venue Standard and business development manager Beth Sadler said: “The assessment was an opportunity to consider the successful practice of our administration, service, products and customer feedback processes, and have them benchmarked against competitors. The Venue Standard rigorously questioned our practices and procedures from the customers’ perspective. The final result - a customer-orientated, well-rounded judgement of the venue, has helped set us apart in an increasingly crowded market. It demonstrates that we take being compliant and consistent seriously.” Do you have news for CN? Email: