Using a venue sourcing agency may be a relatively new concept for many organisations. However, the benefits of having an experienced professional working alongside you to take your event planning to the next level are undeniable.

Whatever your requirements for event space may be, the right venue finder will find a solution that matches your brief exactly, saving you masses of time, effort and money in the process – resources that you can instead deploy towards organising the actual event.

This is all very well in theory but with so many venue finding agencies competing for business, how can you tell the good from the bad and the ugly? Here’s a useful summary of the main four characteristics that every great venue finder should bring to the party.

  1. Access to a huge and imaginative variety of venues

We can all google for suitable venues but the time and effort it takes to separate the wheat from the chaff is often wildly underestimated. A great venue finder should be able to cut to the chase, using arguably their most important business tool: an extensive portfolio of literally thousands of event spaces for all types of functions that are continually reviewed, monitored and updated for quality control.

From modern conference facilities to historical buildings, imposing academic venues or functional sporting establishments, and including a wealth of unique and unusual spaces, there should be plenty of relevant venue choices for all requirements.

  1. Vast industry knowledge and experience

If you’re looking for professional help to source the perfect venue for your corporate event or private celebration, make sure that your chosen venue finder knows the industry like the back of their hand.

Not only must they have an encyclopaedic knowledge of venues old and new, in the UK and beyond, they should be skilled networkers used to rubbing shoulders with everyone who is anyone in the business. That way, whether you’re looking for a plush central London private dining venue or a unique and quirky dry hire space for a media launch, they can hit the ground running fast and entirely unfazed.

  1. Superb commercial negotiation skills

If you’re going to delegate the venue sourcing part of your event planning to an outsider, you must be able to trust the venue finding agency to negotiate skilfully on your behalf to get the best possible deal. The whole point of instructing a venue finder is that they’re able to save you both management time and budget and getting the most out of all the available resources. Why get a dog and bark yourself?

Choose someone who is highly commercially motivated and who will search for obvious as well as ingenious ways to maximise your budget. They will also need an almost forensic approach to account management to ensure that every little detail is double checked and nothing is left to chance. Finally, you for a ‘can do’ attitude and pick someone who will go the extra mile to make sure your event is going to be a huge success.

  1. Exceptional levels of customer service

Event planning is a people industry; it’s all about the quality of the service. A great venue finder will show real passion for what they do and this should be obvious from the moment you first meet them. Choose someone who is friendly and engaging yet utterly professional, who communicates efficiently yet effortlessly and for whom nothing is too much trouble.

Most importantly, find someone who ‘gets’ you, who really understands your requirements and with whom you can build a great working rapport. While technically an outsourced resource, a consummate venue finder should fit seamlessly into your in-house team.

Adam is the co-founder and editor of www.eventindustrynews.com Adam, a technology evangelist also organises Event Tech Live, Europe’s only show dedicated to event technology and the Event Technology Awards. Both events take place in November, London.