I have shared in a previous post about resisting the urge to research venues, and instead to find a PCO (Professional Conference Organiser). So what comes first, the PCO contract or the venue contract? The PCO can save you a bunch of time and trouble when it comes to finding a venue.

Many times over the years though, clients have been unable to help themselves – and they have signed venue contracts before they have contracted us, and then we have to deal with it.

No offence, but you might not fully understand the space requirements that you are going to need. I have had a client who signed a contract with a Venue that could only do two concurrent sessions, when they most definitely needed three. So in order to facilitate that program we had to build a marquee to be the third room. Obviously that kind of thing is not kind to your Budget.

You may not know to request a 24-hour hold on your space – meaning that the venue could sell your space to somebody else in the evening. That can create all kinds of logistical problems down the track.

If you sign a venue contract you might be locking yourself into using the in-house AV provider. That might be fine, but if your conference needs more than a data projector and a screen, I would be wanting to keep my options open around having my choice of provider, and I would be wanting to be able to get some comparative quotes.

And then there is the issue of accommodation commission. I have spoken before about PCOs receiving commission on blocked accommodation. If you are contracting a venue where you are taking an accommodation block, the venue is likely to quote nett, non-commissionable rates to you, as the end client. If you have signed this contract, you might have just given away a significant chunk of the PCOs income – which is going to mean they are going to have to charge you more. And you don’t want that!

So – if you really can’t help yourself, and you feel the need to speak directly to the venue while you are going through the process of finding a PCO, do yourself and your PCO a favour and hold off signing the venue contract until your PCO has been able to look it over. I hope that has helped!


This video is produced by Jodie Parker, Managing Director and Professional Conference Organiser, Iceberg Events.

Based in Brisbane Australia, Iceberg Events look after conferences throughout Australia (such as Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart, Darwin, north Queensland) and overseas. Your office or event do not have to be based in Brisbane Australia to use Iceberg Events!

Your event is only the tip of the iceberg… you only see 1% of what we do! Learn more at Iceberg Events: http://icebergevents.com.au