For over 30 years, Venues of Excellence (VOE), previously Conference Centres of Excellence has operated as a leading UK sales and marketing consortium specifically focused on the conference and events market. The VOE key differentiator has always been its “promise of excellence” to customers, backed up by the bespoke quality criteria and audit which ensured each member was reviewed and approved on their ‘quality and service’ as part of the membership onboarding and throughout a venues membership.


As we celebrate over 1,000 quality membership years the consortium has just launched its revised Quality Strategy, to take the consortium to its next business milestone. The quality pledge – “We will always strive to be excellent in everything we do” measures excellence for members against four ‘Pillars of Quality’ namely: Customers Experience, Great Place to Work, Efficient Operations and Business Planning. These pillars will enable the assessment to focus on the impact of customer satisfaction.


With the importance of quality and excellence the consortium is delighted to announce their first Quality Ambassador and a partnership with David Vaughton, of Vaughton Solutions, a previous Chair, Board Director and Member of VOE. David will onboard the principles of the new Quality Audits, and support future Quality champions within the consortium members to ensure audits are completed on member venues for the duration of their membership. The information captured around the audits will evidence the consortium’s message to market of being ‘the leading sales and marketing consortium for excellence in independent venues’ which will leverage competitive advantage. Talking around the new initiative, David Vaughton commented: “I am both delighted and privileged to have been invited to act as Venues of Excellence’s first Quality Ambassador. It feels like a natural progression to me, having reaped the benefits of the consortium’s services both in my personal development and business success. I am passionate about the concept of marketing excellence in the meetings sector which has recovered so quickly post-pandemic and the prospect of working with such a fiercely passionate team of specialists is utterly compelling to me.”


The quality plan implementation was presented to members at the recent Winter Members Forum, held at Warwick Conferences, when member venues gained an insight into the process for new members looking to join the consortium, along with how existing members would be audited moving forward. Mandy Jennings, CEO of Venues of Excellence said: “It is critical VOE continues to strive for excellence and now we have such a diverse portfolio that we continue to develop our criteria and accreditation process, ensuring we have a continuous audit process to keep our venues at their “A” game and promote excellence. It was imperative an independent auditor would complete the process, and I am delighted we are partnering with David who has the upmost respect in our membership and the meetings industry.”


Nicole Sadd, CEO of Rothamsted Enterprise and Vice Chair of the Advisory Group for Venues of Excellence, has been pivotal in working towards the presentation of the new Quality Audit and is engaging with a pilot member venue to evaluate the new audit, gain constructive feedback from their perspective, whilst David onboards the programme. The process has been reviewed over the past 6 months to create the new plan, and Nicole, reflecting on the process to deliver the new Quality Audit strategy commented: “We wanted to create a quality framework to ensure VOE leads the way with quality in our sector, no longer do we base this just on our excellence in food, facilities and team, it’s how we make our customers ‘ feel’ when they visit one of our venues. Working with David Vaughton will also provide us with that independent viewpoint so we can critically look at our venues on a regular basis.”


The consortium has seen a 20% increase in its membership during 2022 to date, with new members valuing the quality reputation Venues of Excellence has within the MICE sector. The success of the consortium is paramount for its members and reviewing the elements to membership are fundamental to revitalising the support to members, and to maintain the confidence of our clients.

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