While investing in new facilities and technology will undoubtedly improve your venue, there are other ways to invest, and that’s with your time – networking.
Many people only use networking to build contacts that drive sales and career progression, but people who are switched on know it can provide so much more.
Network within the right groups and you have access to a vast array of some of the most knowledgeable and experienced minds in your industry.
Sure, you can use these for sales or career progress, but don’t miss the chance to learn techniques that have worked for others, to be the first in your country or region with a new service that has impressed people elsewhere. Don’t miss the chance to gain powerful new ideas and inspiration.
For example, I asked a selection of IACC members to share their experiences of networking locally and internationally with other member venue professionals that have the highest standards.
Here's what one of them, Louise Silberman, of Summit Executive Centre, had to say: “We have learned there is not just one right way to host meetings and conferences. I think the international aspect of the IACC community is what drives our creativity and inspires us to evolve. We are a global tribe!”
Being exposed to international ideas is not only inspiring but can also be transformational. In these instances, networking provides an advantage for high-quality event and meeting properties that want to stay in the top global 1 per cent in terms of service and offerings.
Finding a connection with likeminded venue operators can also be hugely valuable. Andrew Hodd, co-owner and managing director of St. Andrews Club & Conference Centre in Toronto, said that having exposure to an association that is committed to working with venues like his, was a new and transformative experience for him.
“Before, I didn’t really have any peers or likeminded professionals that I could turn to for advice, or just to discuss the different challenges that we do have. Now I have a whole network of peers that can discuss different issues, opportunities and innovations. Professional colleagues that were previously unavailable to me.”
The age-old adage states: “two heads are better than one” and association membership certainly proves this to be true. Indeed, in the case of venue improvement through networking, it seems hundreds of minds can deliver a supply of knowledge and experience that is impossible for one to achieve alone.
Mark Cooper is CEO of IACC, an international association of venues