Venue Choice Celebrating 15 Years In Business
It’s a special year for the team at Venue Choice, as we’re celebrating the company’s 15th birthday! We’ve come a long way over the years and a lot has happened, so we wanted to share our story, so you can learn more about us and hear how it all started…
Firstly, to introduce myself, my name is Pat and I own the company with my partner Jayson. Back in 2002, Jayson and myself were employed as Account Director and Business Development Manager at a large venue finding agency. Whilst we were both successful in our individual sales roles we decided to make the bold (some may say crazy) decision to leave and set up our own venue finding agency. It was a big step; moving from the security of good jobs, especially with a young family, but we did it and have loved every minute!
We saw an opening to provide a caring, boutique agency that put it’s clients needs first and worked in partnership with each client’s team. We understood that our clients didn’t want to be a small cog in a big wheel – but a large cog in a small wheel, and we based our vision around this.
Our first booking was in January 2003 and we still have a copy of our first cheque for £36.00! One of our first clients was a Spanish Property Exhibition Company and we booked many meeting rooms all over the country with a maximum budget of just £200 for room hire, for a room large enough to hold a small property exhibition. It wasn’t easy, but we did it! Jayson was always great at selling – and later the same year he returned to the office (we had two extra members of staff by then) to announce that we had won a major piece of business delivering a series of training courses for Beefeater Restaurants and we were also commissioned to manage the whole delegate management process. The only downside was that none of the attendees had access to emails and the method of communication was the good old fax machine. How things have changed!
Our business started predominantly sourcing venues in the UK, but we now work with venues all around the world. We source venues from small meetings for 10 people to large conventions for over 3000. Ultimately, we pride ourselves in our knowledge and expertise that we have built up over the years and are constantly expanding this knowledge to ensure our clients are offered the very best venues to meet each individual brief.
Moving forward 15 years and we still have many of our original loyal clients. Some have retired (lucky devils), others moved to new companies – returning to use Venue Choice – but all our clients are still the ultimate cogs in the Venue Choice wheel. We are still a small team and a boutique sized agency, but we still managed to win an award with Fairmont Hotels in 2014 for placing the largest single piece of business! Pat Naden has been with us since the company started in 2003 and Beverley Crossley (who used to be our old boss at the other agency) joined us a few years ago. Keeping things in the family, we now have Ashley Hodgkinson who is studying Accountancy and Finance keeping on top of the company accounting processes and Kelly Hodgkinson who is currently studying Media and assisting with our website and social media platforms.
We cannot properly express our gratitude and thanks to our loyal clients who continue to support Venue Choice. We look forward to the next 15 years…