ACC Liverpool has announced it will pay commission upfront to agencies placing new corporate business with the venue to support the conference industry’s recovery.
The waterfront venue said it will now pay the rates as soon as the event deposit is received, bringing payment forward, in some cases, by several years. This means that for corporate conferences with long lead times, venue finders and agencies will no longer have to wait until after an event has taken place to receive their commission.
The pandemic has highlighted concerns around the commission-funded venue sourcing model, which sees corporate clients get the service for free and venues pay agencies up to 10 per cent commission on the revenue after the event has taken place. With events repeatedly postponed and cancelled over the past two years due to Covid, many agencies have not received payment for a long time and been left struggling to manage cash flow.
Adrian Evans, assistant director of conference and exhibition sales at ACC Liverpool, said: “We really appreciate the vital role that agencies play in helping us to secure corporate conferences, but we feel that it is difficult that they have to wait until after the event has taken place to receive their commission.
“We are therefore pledging to pay venue finders and creative agencies commission rates upfront as soon as they secure a new corporate conference to help with their cash flow moving forward. We need to collaborate so that we can help to kickstart the industry as it recovers and provide some much-needed security for our booking partners.”
ACC Liverpool recently launched a Social Value Plan which includes an Event Industry pillar as it commits to creating positive social, economic and environmental impact, including supporting clients.
Jacqui Kavanagh, chief executive of EDGE Venues, said: “The process of agencies helping venues to secure business has always worked well as we are all here to support each other. However, given how much the industry has suffered since the pandemic, and the number of conferences taking place has drastically reduced, the current process of venues paying agencies after the event is not as viable as in the past.
“ACC Liverpool is taking the lead by committing to paying businesses such as mine upfront as soon as the event deposit is received. This will be vital as we move to a more flexible and positive events landscape, and we hope that other organisations will follow. We are all here to assist each other and must do everything we can to help the industry recover or risk established independent businesses failing.”
This is further positive news for the event agency sector, which has been hit hard by the effects of the pandemic. Venues offering to pay commission upfront will enable those that rely on commission payments to be paid for the work they are doing when they do it and better manage cash flow.
At our recent agency leaders meeting, heads of several UK agencies said they are also negotiating more upfront payments from clients so they still get paid for any work delivered when events are postponed or cancelled due to Covid.