Emma Little of ExecSpace

Quick Questions with

We chat with Emma Little of ExecSpace, Scotland’s leading venue finding company

How did ExecSpace come about?
I started my sales career by selling hoovers door to door at the age of 18. By age 27, I was doing really well climbing the corporate ladder within Vodafone, where I was managing the relationship with RBS, our largest client. However, whilst I was fiercely ambitious, I was concerned that if I continued chasing the dream with Vodafone (HQ near London) I’d be forced to move south in order to progress my career. I decided that the best way to go after my professional dreams, yet follow my heart was to start my own business from scratch. That way, regardless of how big or successful we become, our HQ can always be in Edinburgh. Not being put off by the fact I knew nothing about the industry and had no contacts and no clients, I started ExecSpace from an ex vending machine cupboard on 3rd March 2008. Unfortunately this time also coincided with the start of the worst recession we’ve ever seen but by working hard, being brave and never giving up we’re now Scotland’s leading venue finder, with a team of 15 and a turnover in excess of £7million.

What do ExecSpace do?
In short, we help companies save time and money (typically 20%) when it comes to booking conference and meeting venues. The service is free of charge for the customer and we achieve better rates by leveraging our buying power of £7million. From a procurement/finance perspective, we give customers transparency of spend and detailed management information to help them understand this spend in more depth. ExecSpace provide this service for a number of the UK’s leading companies – including Grant Thornton, Royal London, Standard Life and Aegon. Testament to our exceptional service and great team, ExecSpace was recently awarded sole supplier status under the Scottish Government Framework – Lot 3. This was the best break ExecSpace has had and means we’re now doing significant business with much of Scotland’s public sector.

What makes the team at ExecSpace different?
We recruit purely on attitude and values. Everything else I believe, we can teach. The values that we live by at ExecSpace are friendliness, honesty, transparency, professionalism, humble, polite and just being a decent person. The team and our service are what differentiates us in the market place so it’s absolutely essential that everyone in the team genuinely loves customers and will always go the extra mile. Ultimately I’d like us to be known as the agent that’s ‘really ambitious and credible but a nice bunch of people with it’.

Who can use ExecSpace?
Generally our ‘booker’ clients tend to be PAs, Administrators or Marketing/Communications teams. Basically rather than the booker having to liaise and negotiate with multiple venues, they  can engage with ExecSpace and we’ll do all the hard work. We’ll take their brief down fully so that the options we propose match their requirements and we always come back with 3+ suitable options in 24 hours. We have access to 18,000 venues in the UK and can help with anything from a team meeting for 10 people to a drinks reception for 600 people.

What is the key to sourcing the correct venue?
It’s about listening to 100% of what our customers tell us and really probing to understand what the customer is trying to achieve from hosting the event. We will always take time to understand the brief fully so that we can suggest venues that complement the agenda. For example, if it was an event to inspire high achievers, it would be important that the venue was aspirational and inspiring. If it was an event to attract board level clients, it would be important that the venue offered a unique experience or something money can’t buy as that would encourage them to come to your event over the others they’d be invited to.

Visit their website for more information  www.execspace.co.uk