venuedirectory.com is a UK based private held interactive directory website built upon an in-house owned CMS that provides information about conferencing, meeting, exhibition, symposium and congress venues located all over the world.
venuedirectory.com allows meeting planners to enter their own venue search criteria via various online search methods such as “advanced search” or “dynamic map search”. Details of the required location for the venue and the available function options are supplied to them within a few seconds. Venue browsers can find detailed information on the venues, including facilities, location, images, maps and a printing ‘Fact Sheet’ as well as undertaking a ‘virtual’ tour of the venue. Alternatively, event planners can send a specific enquiry (RFP) to the website customer service department and obtained the customised information shortly.
venuedirectory.com was founded in 1993 by Richard Parkin, who supplied the first electronic version of searchable venue information for event planners. The software was first produced in floppy-disk format, entitled “The Venue Directory”; however this was quickly upgraded to CD-ROM in 1996 and eventually uploaded to the internet two years later in 1998, in the form of www.venuedirectory.com.
In 2000, the website was given a major international upgrade, which saw the number of venues increase to 18,000 venues from around the world. In 2007 the company purchased one of the leading competitors in the industry, www.click4venues.com, which increased the company’s market share substantially.
In 2009 venuedirectory.com collaborated with another venue-finding website called limevenueportfolio.com, which features venues that Compass Group provide catering and management service for. The website uses GRATIS and venuedirectory.com’s central database to create a highly effective platform for Compass Group. The successful collaboration with www.limeportfolio.com saw creation of a number of “white-label” websites, which use venuedirectory.com’s database under their own corporate brand.
By 2011 venuedirectory.com had collaborated with more than forty-two successful event booking agencies and brands. In 2012 venuedirectory.com bought ‘Meeting Venues London’ and by 2013 the number of venues included in the company’s central database grew to over 28,000 across the world, 12,700 of those UK-based, making venuedirectory.com’s database the largest in the industry.
In 2012 venuedirectory.com pioneered ‘Virtual Showround’, a multimedia tool based mainly in Youtube video format that allows event planners to prospect different venues on short, high definition video clips before booking one in. The same year, ‘Virtual Showround’ won Gold at the 2012 MIMAs Award for Best use of Video Marketing. Once again venuedirectory.com was awarded with MIMAs Award 2014, for ‘Best Integrated Marketing Campaign’ and ‘Best Use of Video Marketing.’ At the current time, venuedirectory.com has over 16,500 venues only in the UK, nearly 38,000 worldwide and over 60.000 visits a day, constantly increasing over 15% every month.
In 2008 venuedirectory.com entered the Software-as-a-service market with the release of GRATIS (Global Reservation Accommodation & Travel Information System). GRATIS combines up-to-date venue information, supplied from the venuedirectory.com central database, with brand new booking software. The software allows users to search, enquire, book, track, report and manage enquiries for meeting and conference venues.
It offers event planner’s venue rates, contacts, documentation, plus organisational and accounting benefits. Integrated with SAGE and SAP, the software is highly intuitive, featuring booking, CRM and email systems. Well-received, the software is successfully used by 30 partners, with updates and additional tools added to the system on a regular basis as well as a comprehensive helpdesk. In 2012 venuedirectory.com created the interface with BookIT with HTS followed by Christmas Search, Healthcare venues via API and API Feed of data to Intell in 2014.