Venues of Excellence, the leading UK consortium for conferences, training, meetings and events, have taken a strategic decision to sell the business to Mandy Jennings, Director of Paje Consultancy Ltd.
Jennings has been involved with Conference Centres of Excellence since 2015, leading the consortium and members through a major rebrand in 2016 to Venues of Excellence, growing the consortium membership and taking it from strength to strength, becoming a credible leading voice to the hospitality industry, and being awarded Best UK Representation Company at the CHS Awards 2020.
Being appointed Executive Director to the consortium in 2018, Jennings has worked with a dedicated team of professionals to deliver sales, marketing, social media, training and membership services to Venues of Excellence, also managing the Venue Find Team who work with clients to place business within member venues and UK venues. The business saw a 60% financial growth over the previous 5 years surpassing projected membership figures ahead of plan.
When the pandemic hit in March 2020, Jennings and the Board of Venues of Excellence quickly adapted their strategic approach to maintain their voice in the industry and support members through this devastating time. Key wins have included delivery of 70 ‘Zoom to Boom’ sessions with industry experts and taking the Learning Development Academy online, with the creation of comprehensive virtual Sales & Marketing learning packages.
As the events industry begins its journey on the road to recovery, the Board were determined the consortium had a future post lockdown that would still meet its member’s needs, specifically national marketing and sales representation, industry profile, providing sales leads and enquiries, best practice, engagement with other independent venues and being part of the UK’s leading conference venue portfolio.
Ivor Turner, Chairman said: “The Board’s key focus is what is best for the longevity of Venues of Excellence and, most importantly, its members in the future and wanted to shore up its financial security in these unprecedented times. We discussed a number of options and came to a decision which takes all of these needs into consideration. Mandy and her colleagues, who have been the linchpin of the organisation provided the Board with the most comprehensive business solution to acquire the assets and continue to run and operate Venues of Excellence. With a long-established relationship with the consortium, she will continue to give confidence, continuity and innovation that surrounds the success of Venues of Excellence.”
The official handover take place by the end of May 2021, when Jennings will take the helm, with support of key Board members into the future. Mandy Jennings, on the acquisition of Venues of Excellence said: “The team and I are extremely proud of our achievements working with Venues of Excellence for the past 6 years and we truly believe we are ready to take on this exciting challenge. With the support of the board and our members we feel well equipped to do this. As we are sure you would agree all great organisations need to keep evolving and keep achieving excellent results, and we will support our members to be ready to return to the market with renewed vigour and positivity.”
The members of Venues of Excellence were informed of the decision at the Shareholders Meeting on Thursday 25th March 2021, when the full scope of the handover, and transfer of business was explained to members. Preferred Partners and suppliers who work with the consortium were also informed. Talking to Stewart Elsmore, Director of Commercial Services, Venue Cranfield, who was a founder member to the organisation in 1989 commented: “We are very fortunate to have the partnership with Mandy Jennings who fully understands Venues of Excellence. We have a great opportunity to combine the strengths of a commercial business and a membership organisation. We will all benefit greatly from this union and the remodelled Venues of Excellence will be ready and fit for the future, with its values firmly grounded in excellence and quality.”
Under new ownership, Venues of Excellence will be operated by the same team of professionals working with member venues and industry partners to continue to strive to build on Venues of Excellence’s four cornerstones: Marketing, Excellence, Innovation, Quality and Teamwork with a resounding pledge to “Being Best in Class” and this will continue to be fundamental to the consortium.