Preferred Vendor Lists: Helpful or Exclusionary?
October 22, 2012
Many hotels, private clubs and catering halls have what is called a “Preferred Vendor List“. If you are on that list, you are lucky. If you’re not, well, you could easily lose jobs. I had two very bad experiences with venues who utilized this practice.
The first was with a very well-known hotel with a manager who suggested that I pay 10% of my decoration fee to the hotel. If I refused, I would not be able to work there. I mentioned this to my client who was as frustrated as I was, and she let the hotel know it. The manager in question retaliated by badmouthing my company so badly that I still refuse to take clients to the venue.
The second case was even more insulting. I recommended a specific venue to a client only to have the manager treat me rudely and tell me the only reason he allowed me to work there was because I was Preston Bailey. I was so taken aback (and so angry) that I took my client elsewhere.
In my opinion, there are two reasons a venue uses a preferred vendor list:
1. They like working with vendors who take care of their venues (a good reason).
2. There is some kind of money passing hands in order to “make the list” (a not so noble reason).
In both cases, I feel bad for the talented folks (and those starting out) who do not have the opportunity to showcase their talents in these particular venues as a result of this practice.
What is your opinion on the matter? Have you ever been forbidden from working at a venue?
Please share your thoughts and experiences.
(Photo courtesy of Waldorf Astoria)