There's a big problem this year. We've been organising events for nearly 25 years and we've never known prices to be so high and availability so low in London. You may have heard about the London boom in media reports, and in many ways it's great for the whole country. However, it's not without problems and one of them is that London venues are completely spoilt for custom.
So, basic supply and demand comes into play. Prices are high and venues are holding out, knowing that they will fill the space. Pubs which previously would welcome any business are talking about minimum spends of £1,000 or £2,000. Some bars are asking for minimum £5,000 on key dates and as for hotels, don't even ask.
Many companies aren't aware of the issue and are still trying to organise events with budgets that would be difficult on a Monday in March. £1,000 sounds like a lot of money, but when you have 40 people and it comes down to £25 a head and you want food and entertainment it really isn't. The reality is that you would struggle to book bowling and basket food at that price. Oh, you want drinks included too?
There are a couple of issues here. First of all we have the booking London problem. However, perhaps more importantly, certainly for your organisation and staff morale, is the message you send out when you allocate an unrealistic budget. It may be an innocent mistake but the people who are going ou trying to find a Cinderella solution know that other companies are booking their space instead of them because they have more money available. It's not a hidden message, it doesn't take a master of subtlety to decode it ... it looks as though they're being valued more.
So, don't leave it too late this year. It's almost too late now, we're having to make twice as many calls to find options. And also, don't be a Scrooge McDuck. No-one wants to work for a stingy company.