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Commission – A Moral Dilemma?

Last updated June 8th, 2012

Sometimes, students on my event management training courses are shocked to learn that event organisers and agencies receive commission or ‘kick backs’ from venues or sub contractors, in return for a booking. Typically this commission runs between 8 and 12% but it can go as high as 15% (and the Olympics is certainly having an effect on some central London venues).
This simple fact (not unique to the events world…look at the financial sector, print management companies, and Estate Agents etc) of a supplier rewarding its customer usually sparks a debate.
The main issue seems to be that an event manager may choose a venue or supplier based on that commission rather than the best choice for the client. I explain to the students that a good event manager will ALWAYS choose and recommend what is best for their clients; if they don’t then they will be failing in their duty to those clients and they will probably lose future business as a result.
If a venue or supplier is offering a much higher commission than its competitors then you need to think why this is – it may be a short term promotion or sales drive, but it might be that they can’t get the business because of poor service and customer feedback.
So if you’re thinking of a career in event planning or event management you’d be best advised to decide which side of the fence you sit on…commission or no commission…that is the question?

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