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A new corporate events platform for the capital, dubbed ‘the Trip Advisor for the events community’, has been launched by Eventopedia. The start-up was founded by former Grass Roots procurement director Alan Newton in partnership with Toby Heelis, formerly of The Brewery. Around 1,500 London venues are already listed on the eventopedia.com website, which features interactive videos, photos and reviews from registered users, with a five-star rating – much like Trip Advisor. Newton and Heelis say the new platform has the backing of senior event heads from leading corporates such as The Financial Times, Informa Plc and Conde Nast. “Having the majority of suitable corporate venues all on one system will save the planner valuable time when venue searching and cut the number of site visits required to create a short list of suitable options,” says Newton. Venues pay an initial hosting fee, starting at £50 per month, to be listed, and can add extras, such as the interactive video – which Eventopedia has named the Virtual Site Inspection (VSI), for event venues and destinations. The team plans to roll out the product to other major corporate event destinations in 2015, starting with London, Paris and New York. The new product offers an ‘Ask the Committee’ feature for registered users to request free advice from the experts while planning their events. Heelis says: “Every event organiser wants to find the best and most interesting venues quickly, risk-free and efficiently. If we can cut the thousands of unnecessary site visits by 20 or 30 per cent, the whole industry will benefit not just the planners and venues.” The online platform was unveiled at 8 Northumberland Avenue, in January, and the founders claim it will save planners time and money as “London’s most comprehensive and independent venue and supplier marketplace and the first to be populated purely by non-advertising based reviews and recommendations”. The central London venue is committing to innovative technology; it was famously the first in Europe to install a state-of-the-art Intelligent lighting system, and is the first venue in the UK with Musion, a 3D holographic technology. At the technology’s launch, 1,000 event organisers, suppliers, and professionals gathered in 8 Northumberland’s grand staterooms to experience the technology available to them at the venue.Heelis says he was prompted to launch the venture because he was frustrated by the inefficiencies of the supplier procurement process leading to wasted time for the client and supplier. They wanted to address the poor conversion ratio in the industry, with fewer than one in 10 enquiries in response to a brief resulting in a confirmed booking, and say Eventopedia will save time for both venues and buyers, while being commission and advertising-free. Newton adds: “Every event planner, PA or marketing executive wants to find the best suppliers and interesting professional venues quickly, risk-free and efficiently. We forecast a 20-30 per cent time saving for event planners which can be better spent concentrating on the content and marketing of the event.” Melissa Willock, global venues and travel manager at Informa, comments: “Eventopedia is sorely needed in London as it is becoming extremely difficult to differentiate between suppliers using the current Internet resources. As the community builds, the reviews from fellow professionals will become extremely helpful and powerful."   This article was first published in the April issue of EN. Any comments? Email Annie Byrne
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