VMS celebrated 25 years at the Pullman, Sydney Hyde Park on 27th September along with industry representatives, friends, family and special guest Mr Mark Speakman, the MP for Cronulla and Attorney General. Our MC Joanne Ryan (President of the Shire Business Chamber) commenced proceedings and introduced Mike Schrafft, Director of VMS.
After welcoming everybody Mike gave an account of the VMS journey and the phenomenal part played by its’ Managing Director Libby Schrafft and many of the people in the room.
VMS has evolved a lot in 25 years and our history is important to the business we run today. Whilst a lot has happened in 25 years and we have many achievements and memories, below is a snapshot of the major milestones for our business:
1988 Venue Marketing Service was established by Carol Baldwin
- Represented Kooralbyn (Golf resort) as its’ Sydney agent
- Located at President Ave Caringbah
- The original logo was displayed
1992 Acquired by Libby & Mike when Carol started a family
- Previously Mike & Libby owned a specialist printing company Computer Label Products but sold the business during the “recession we had to have”
- Nikki, Libby’s daughter fresh out of school was working for Carol but then moved on to a large conference company onto senior Marketing
- During this period the business evolved from being an agent to becoming one of the very first venue finders in Sydney and continued to market by direct mail and fax
- VMS purchased its’ very first computer to add to the existing fax machine
- Along came the internet, our first website the excitement of the first email! This technology started to greatly impact the business and altered the nature of the business.
1998 Relocated business at home (Caringbah) which required Libby to adapt and create a disciplined routine which is still adhered to until this day.
2000 The logo was completely redesigned to incorporate VMS as the central image and forms the basis for today’s brand
2002 A company was established
- Venue Marketing Service Pty Ltd was formed and a partner Paul McGrath was introduced who operated remotely. This arrangement did not succeed and Libby was back to being the power of 1
- The business started to evolve into going beyond a venue finder to providing onsite management services
2003 Mike joined after a lengthy corporate career involving 25 years in general management roles. It was a difficult transition but he took responsibility for Business Planning, Marketing, Finance and IT development which allowed Libby to focus on the delivery of the businesses services
2004 Clubg Established
- Suitable hotel options for our government clients were reduced post Olympics
- It was determined that we needed to offer a full range of services which required us to form partnerships with a selected number of hotels
- The hotel split at one stage was 6 Mirvac and 6 Accor properties
- Registrations were now being received by fax an entered in to Access to enable us to develop the reporting required by our clients and hotels alike
- Print management and fulfillment was introduced (name badges, programs & satchels)
2006 Relocated business in Taren Point in an office space
2007 Relocated business back at home
- WEBIT Introduced, an online registration system designed around seminars for Intel in USA
- Marney Wilson commences and is still with us to this day and is Libby’s rock
2010 RegoDirect introduced following the withdrawal of support for WEBIT in Australia
- A system was designed from the ground up and operational within four months
- 60,000 registrations have made since its debut
- Has been developed further to include a section for “Call for Papers”, Exhibitor Management, Payment Methods and Reporting
2016 Exhibitor Gallery
- An online graphic representation of the exhibitors
- Enables ongoing access to the exhibitor site providing extended value to exhibitors
- Key part of our exhibitor management services
- An online venue search platform launched by Mr Scott Morrison, MP for Cook & Federal Treasurer
- Enables conference organisors to search for venues, get a pricing indicator and request a full quotation from VMS
- Took on a hospitality intern named Amy Venardos who is now an employee of the company, being tutored by the best
Finally, the development of the business is a tribute to Libby’s passion and drive in an industry she really enjoys. A no nonsense reputation for delivery and customer service as result of her vast industry knowledge and experience. There are definitely no signs of retirement!