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About Us

About Us

Mission Statement


" is the market leader in interactive venue data, providing you with the essential business channel, utilising innovative and intelligent technology"


Misson Statement
" is the market leader in interactive venue data,
providing you with the essential business
utilising innovative and intelligent technology"


History of the Company

Founded in 1993, the company was established to develop a much needed venue search product  and after 15 months of extensive collaborative research, launched the first electronic directory for meeting planners.

Building further upon this resounding success, The Venue Directory was released on CD-ROM in 1996 followed two years later by the first version of giving users around the world instant and easy access to detailed information on thousands of venues. In 2000 a truly international site was rolled out featuring over 18,000 venues worldwide using the latest technology which also enabled the creation of private label sites for many of the leading hotel groups.

In autumn 2007 the company purchased one of its leading competitors,, a very popular and well optimised site thus providing subscribing venues with another valuable route to market.

The spring of 2008 saw the release of 'GRATIS', a powerful booking module fed with live venue information from's central database. Its combined functionality enables users to search, enquire, book, track, report and manage enquiries through to commission claim and eventually invoice.

In 2009 developed a venue finding site with featuring the venues where Compass Group provide all, or some, of the catering and management services. Although this had been done in the past with the likes of Forte and Paramount Hotels, this site demonstrates how data can be successfully incorporated into a 3rd party website and connected to GRATIS, which is used as the central proposal and booking tool for Compass . This technology has now been extended to create what are referred to as 'white label sites' by feeding all or part of the venue data to another company website under their corporate brand identity for companies such as: Gray Dawes Travel, The Corporate Team, Ellis Salsby, Top Banana and a further 6 sites for MashMedia: Conference & Meetings World, Conference News, Exhibiting Magazine, Exhibition News, Exhibition World and Planning My Event.

2010/11 were years of continued growth and development working with more than forty-two brands of event booking agencies: such as Absolute Corporate Events, BookOtel, Calder, EHS, Ellis Salsby, Event Exchange, Hotelzon, JP Events, Kaboura Events, Serco, Sundial Options & Solutions, The Corporate Team, The Venue Pot, Top Banana, Venue Search, Venue Team, Redfern Travel, Unique Attitude, Fusion Group and Bien Venue.

Throughout 2012 and into 2013 the number of venues rose to over 28,000, including 12,700 British venues, making the database the largest of its kind in the UK.  GRATIS went from strength to strength with new event and booking agents such as HTS (Hotel and Travel Solutions) using the system. For some years now, we have offered GRATIS agents the opportunity to participate in twice yearly forums which culminate in a schedule of enhancements and creation of additional tools and functionality.

The website received a new image and home page, highlighting technological advancements including dynamic map search options and online LIVE chat. The launch of an On Line Booking Portal for web users and Client login for the clients of booking agents to send an enquiry to be fulfilled by the agent are proving a great success.

In keeping with the company philosophy to provide dynamic, pioneering tools, 2012 was the year that Virtual Showround videos were developed to offer event planners the chance to view venues and in particular the meetings and event space in film format. For the first time, videos are now embedded within search results and RFP’s.  The unique videos are also marketed on the phenomenally successful social media platforms Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, Google+ and Dailymotion and Virtual Showrounds won Gold at 2012 MIMAs for Best use of Video Marketing.  For venues, the videos mean vastly improved enquiry levels and consequently generate increased income. For web users and agents, these innovations improve or increase its services, win more business and secure growth. As advocates of environmental issues and opportunities to reduce carbon footprint, now use videos as a commercially viable solution to encourage event planners away from costly and inefficient out of office time for familiarisation visits, presenting Virtual Showrounds as a vibrant, dynamic desktop alternative.

Over the years, co-operative development has remained as strong as ever and we have used our vast understanding and industry knowledge to continue to create important and exciting products for the Meeting and Events Industry.

Now, in 2014 with over 31,000 venues, over 14,000 of them UK and with over 30 GRATIS partners, and GRATIS continue to go from strength to strength.


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