In my next blog I felt I needed to write a post to justify what I do at work. Most of my friends have trouble understanding exactly what I do all day. To them I seem to go from one luxurious destination to another; drinking and being merry on the way... Looks can be deceiving. Like a duck on a pond all looks tranquil on the surface, but under the water there's a lot of frantic paddling going on to keep forward progress. In a recent edition of a well-known industry magazine some ill-advised, ignoramus from a large agency questioned what us smaller agencies offer the world of events. Apparently we don't do anything all day and just go on FAM trips and, in their choice words, get pissed. When we're not doing that we're sitting around our living rooms (apparently we can't afford offices) in our lounge-wear whilst the multitude of commission payments roll in... Mmmmm, yes. I'd love it if that were the case. Unfortunately it's not. As an agent, I am a middle man between the suppliers/hotels/venues and my clients. I nurture these relationships on both sides, keeping in contact and making sure all parties are happy. When a client sends me an enquiry I use the knowledge at my disposal from meeting lots and lots of suppliers at lots and lots of exhibitions, forums and networking events. I pretty much know which hotel/venue/DMC/supplier works best for that specific brief. This is no mean feat given that I work on events throughout the world, not just in the UK. I provide them with a few options that fit that particular brief (not just give them every available place in a 30 mile radius), negotiate the rates to fit the client's budget and make sure the client is happy with what's been offered. If the client requires it I provide onsite management which ensures the event runs smoothly on the day. After the event a commission invoice is sent to the chosen venue and, hey presto, I get paid. It's a low risk business model that works for many agencies around the world. In a time when commission is seen as controversial word and bigger hotel chains are trying their best to phase it out, tell me, when I bring the business, why shouldn't I be rewarded?... Just a venue-finder? - I think not.