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Tendering is a necessary evil for event agencies, venues and suppliers. How should you pick the right ones to apply for, and how can you be sure that the application will even be considered in the first place? 

“It is always difficult. When you tender you never know if it’s real, and if it’s open to new people or if they are going through the motions. We spend a lot of time and money on tendering and we are often successful,” says Stadium Group’s managing director David McAtamney.

“But there’s always that question as to whether it is worth it. Do I spend time, money and effort to go after this, or is this just in existence because current provider is coming to an end?

“Tendering can be a fools errand but it’s tricky to come up with any solutions to this. Certainly I encourage more transparency. SMEs are not asking for favours, but they are all looking for a product of service that will give them a competitive advantage. This means there is always a chance you will be recognised.

“Government tenders are another matter. They made a big ‘hoo-ha’ a few years ago about improving the chances and fairness in tendering. It was promised that 40% of business would be going out to SMEs but I’m not sure that’s been realised. 

“In reality, civil servants are used to dealing with big four companies in our sector. I can understand that it is harder to consider another 50 new SMEs and that they are not really equipped for that. It’s all a government narrative.”

Others are seeing improvements. April Trasler, managing director of Neptunus, says: “At Neptunus we have recognised a significant improvement in general terms in requests we have received to tender for new and existing contracts. 

“Our recent experience has seen clients giving more thought to the process and allowing adequate time for visits to sites during installation or live show time to allow us to get a feel for the event that we are pitching for. 

“This is particularly important for sites with difficult access or short build times but is relevant to most tender processes.  It also allows the supplier time to consider options and improvements that can be offered as part of the tender.

“On the flip side, if we don’t win a tender we often don’t get feedback on the reasons we have not been successful. It would be really helpful to receive this feedback so we can consider revising our tender process if we feel that’s appropriate.”

Meanwhile, there are creative challenges to consider. Pav Shergill, MD at Monsoon Venue Group says: “When bidding for a new tender I prefer the opportunity to go in and present to the venue, as our business model and proposition is so unique it is difficult to fully comprehend what we do on paper.  It is also important to build up a rapport with the team whom you will be working with to make sure there is a working synergy.”

Access welcomes any industry feedback on this topic. Do send any solutions or comments to