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A Practitioner's Guide to Event & Venue Management Session 2


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Lecture notes from USF Graduate Sports Management Course, "A Practitioner's Guide to Event and Venue Management." The course was taught and developed by Cameron Ungar, President of Stylehawk Event Services; an event management company that specializes in venue sourcing and athletic event operations and logistics. The objective of the course was to have students "job ready" if pursuing a career in event management and venue operations. The second session focuses on guest services principles and ADA policy. Alex Montoya was the guest speaker.
Cameron Ungar has a athletic venue background. Stylehawk Event Services manages the largest sports event venue directory in San Diego. This directory is a powerful resource for streamlining the venue sourcing process. This directory, combined with a diverse marketplace of premium event service providers and highly trained Concierge staff creates efficiencies that will result in cost savings, safer and better executed events and more profit from event revenue streams.

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A Practitioner's Guide to Event & Venue Management Session 2

  1. 1. Stylehawk Event Services owner Cameron Ungar recently finished teaching a course for graduate-level students enrolled in the Sport Management Master’s Program at the University of San Francisco. The class, titled “A Practitioner’s Guide to Event & Venue Management,” was designed to give students a practical understanding of event and venue management from a professional who has worked in the industry for many years. Cameron used his real-world professional experience and his years of training in event and venue management to help give his students an idea of the breadth of knowledge and the diversity of skills required to be an effective event and venue manager. Cameron was uniquely qualified to teach this course, given that he has been both an event manager as well as a venue manager at several different facilities in Long Beach and San Diego. He has planned hundreds of events, and also knows a good deal about operations from the event venue side of things. During the course, Cameron tasked his students with producing a complete event plan for a hypothetical event (including cost estimates, production schedules, diagrams, staffing models, and service provider instructions). Students were also required to develop a Venue Operations Handbook that was to include policies and procedures to guide decision-making with regard to the use of the facility, and deliver an event briefing to the class, as if they were giving a pre-event staff briefing. Session 2: Slides 1 & 2 are background notes added for Slideshare to provide context.
  2. 2. Course topics, which were taught by Cameron and the guest speakers he brought in, included “Booking & Scheduling,” “Crowd Management & Emergency Response,” “Event Production,” and “Facilities Management.” As we know all too well at Stylehawk, event management and event coordination requires a delicate mix of art and science, which is something Cameron made sure to impart to his students. Event managers, as well as venue managers, must be extremely detailed and organized, but they must also be able to come up with creative solutions to complex problems and maintain some level of flexibility for when the unexpected occurs. Event and venue management isn’t for everyone. And it takes a team of dedicated professionals to do the job well. Here at Stylehawk, we’ve assembled a team that has many years of experience running successful events throughout San Diego, Los Angeles, and Orange County. We can use that experience to make your next event a success as well! It’s great to have someone like Cameron at the helm of Stylehawk. He is a recognized expert in the area of event management and event coordination and is now able to add the title of “Professor” to his resume. If you’re looking for a highly experienced team of event services professionals in Long Beach, San Diego, and other Southern California areas, contact us at Stylehawk. We’d love to talk with you about how we can help make your next event a successful one.
  4. 4. SESSION PLAN • Share Venue Selections and Statement of Common Purpose • Guest Speaker: Alex Montoya • Class Discussion • Guest Services Overview • ADA Policy • Assignment Discussion • Group Work
  6. 6. BIG PICTURE • Ethics & Integrity • Cultivate & maintain a reputation for honesty, forthrightness & consistency in following standard, acceptable business practices, in what can be a somewhat undefined business environment. • Do what is right even it if costs time, money or opportunity. • Have the difficult conversations when they are necessary. • In short… treat others the way you wish to be treated. • Effective event management requires a cooperative effort & productive communication between all units of the organization. • We are the conduit of information between the venue, client and visitors. • Customers DO NOT buy tickets to a venue; they purchase tickets to an event. A venue with poor conditions or customer service may be the reason they choose not to purchase tickets in the future. • A step further... Be the reason a guest wants to come back!
  7. 7. GUEST SERVICES/ FRONT OF HOUSE MANAGEMENT • Front of House (FOH) Staff • Generally referring to part time staff that includes: • Ushers • Ticket Takers • Concession Stand Staff • Event Porters (Custodial) • Parking Lot Attendants • Information Booth Staff • Crowd Management Staff • Ticket Sellers • Front of House (FOH) • Generally referring to physical spaces that include: • Lobbies/ Concourse • Concession Stands • Public Restrooms • Ticket Office • Parking Lot • Seating Bowl Staff in these areas are CRITICAL to the event experience. Significant emphasis must be placed on training this staff.
  8. 8. GUEST SERVICES/ FRONT OF HOUSE MANAGEMENT • Aim of guest services is to deliver service in the most efficient and effective manner possible while also accepting the responsibility to ensure the safety and security of every guest. • Guest Services and crowd management are inseparable. • No event is perfect. Issues will arise. Therefore, consider every “issue” an opportunity to change the outcome for the guest experience before the event ends. • Specific Tasks associated with guest services: • Guest Services- Control ingress, enforce venue policy, provide functional information, activate incident response all while maintaining an approachable and warm demeanor. • Guest Communication- Communicate (and enforce) any relevant venue policy that may affect the guest experience. • Incident Reporting- Record and report all pertinent information relative to the system via the established venue reporting protocol and deliver report to the appropriate party.
  9. 9. EXPECTED TRAITS FOR FOH STAFF (UCSD SPORTS FACILITIES): • Accountable- Demonstrated ownership of responsibilities. • Reliable- A track record of high quality work. • Dependable- A knack for being where you are supposed to be, when you are supposed to be there. • Bright- An ability to think on your feet and solve problems as they come up. • Personable- Comfortable engaging with clients and patrons in a professional and supportive manner. • Service- centric- Committed to providing an exceptional customer service experience.
  10. 10. Be positive at work and choose to have fun Come to work with a good attitude. There are serious parts of our job, but we work in a fun and exciting environment! Exceed customers’ expectations Clients & guests should feel like they are at a top notch facility with the most attentive management team in the business. Go above and beyond in your attention to detail and exceed expectations. Be the reason people want to come back here. “Recover” when something goes wrong No event is going to run perfectly. Be open- minded and creative when problems arise. When something does go wrong, address it and move on- don’t carry it with you. Be accountable for your actions Own it! In this position, you are encouraged to make decisions based on policy, protocol and individual circumstances. We will support you in whatever decision you make. With that said, be prepared to stand by your decision. Just remember, your role is to support the client with their needs while operating within our rules and policies. Clean Up Return equipment, tools and supplies to their designated locations. Lock up doors and cabinets. Pick up trash (trash is everyone’s responsibility!). Straighten out or return misplaced items to their proper storage location. Tidiness is contagious… so is sloppiness! GUEST SERVICES EXPECTATIONS (UCSD SPORTS FACILITIES):
  11. 11. Know the house policies and be firm but fair in their enforcement. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Our house policies are in place to ensure patron safety and to limit damage to the facility. When granting exceptions be willing to stand by them and don’t hesitate to ask questions. It is okay to say to the client, “To be sure, let me get clarification…” Treat everybody with respect (Treat others the way you wish to be treated) This means EVERYBODY- staff, clients, contract labor providers, custodial crew, athletes, officials, patrons, etc. Every position is important Each member of the event management staff plays an important role in the event production. Door guards and floor wipers are just as important as facility supervisors in the overall event experience. Be proactive Address potential issues before they become problems. Don’t wait for problems to come to you- seek out areas of concern and address them. Be proactive not only during the games but during set-up and tear-downs. Safety First Don’t take risks. Adhere to safety guidelines. Obtain safety training before using a new piece of equipment or following a new procedure. Always get further instruction if you are concerned or uncomfortable with a situation. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. GUEST SERVICES EXPECTATIONS (UCSD SPORTS FACILITIES):
  12. 12. Going the Extra Mile - video The basic actions all Sports Facilities Staff (in any position) must take to deliver amazing customer service: • Make eye contact and smile. • Greet and welcome each & every guest. • Seek out guest contact. • Provide immediate service recovery. • Go above and beyond (i.e. walk them to their seat instead of just telling them where it is). • Limit personal (non- work) related conversation when in the company of patrons. • Display appropriate body language at all times. • Wear uniform neat and proudly. • Thank each and every guest. GUEST SERVICES INSTRUCTIONS: (UCSD SPORTS FACILITIES)
  13. 13. ADA POLICY
  14. 14. AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) • Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) is a US Federal law. ADA is a wide- ranging civil rights law that prohibits, under certain circumstances, discrimination based on disability. • It affords similar protections against discrimination to Americans with disabilities as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which made discrimination based on race, religion, sex national origin and other characteristics illegal. • Disability is defined by the ADA as, “…a physical or mental impairment that substaintially limits a major life activity.” • There are 5 major sections (titles) in the ADA with titles II and III most relevant to assembly facilities: • Title II- Public Entries (and Public Transportation)- Prohibitis disability discrimination by all public entities at the local and state level and applies to public transportation provided by public entities. • Title III- Public Accommodations- No individual may be discriminated against on the basis of disability concerning the full and equal enjoyment of goods, services, facilities or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation. ”Public accommodation” includes most places of lodging, recreation, transportation, education and dining... All new construction after the effective date of ADA (July, 1992) must be fully compliant with the ADA Accessibility Guide.
  15. 15. AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) • Compliance with ADA by event organizers is NOT optional, it is mandatory. • ADA Title III mandates the immediate removal of architectural and communications barriers from existing public accommodations if such action is “readily achievable.” Changes must be made whenever it is possible to remvoe such barriers, “without much difficulty or expense.” • There are no guidelines for when changes must be made. Determination is case by case.
  16. 16. AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) • General accommodations to consider at an event include: • Accessibility ramps w/ an incline less than 1:12 (1 unit of vertical height over a 12 unit distance) • Curb cuts at access points • Accessible parking • Widening of doors • Lowering of drinking fountains • Accessible counters at food and beverage outlets • Adding braille to elevator controls • Replace door knobs with handles • Widening toilet seats and installing grab bars • Event Publicity to include information on how to coordinate specific arrangements for guests with accessibility needs.
  17. 17. AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (ADA) • Access: • Parking facilities for people with special needs placed at the most direct accessibility point.. • Additional space to allow a wheelchair to maneuver. • Ramps to comply with ADA (1:12), 6 ft long landing area, resting space every 30 ft, raised safety edges and handrails. • Viewing Areas: • Standing audiences can cause surging movements. All guests attending the event that have mobility difficulties should be located in an area where they will not be affected. The area should have a clear view of the stage (often besides the mixing area) with direct access to an exit and a toilet nearby. • Mixed seating options- same mix of seating options offered to guests requiring ADA seating. • Allow for companion or transfer seating. • Evacuation • Reasonable accommodations should be included in major incident and contingency plans.
  18. 18. ASSIGNMENT
  19. 19. ASSIGNMENT • For your venue, develop the following: • Guest Services Plan- To support your statement of common purpose. • Describe four philosophical guest services expectations for your Front of House staff. • Describe six specific guest services instructions for your Front of House staff. • A to Z Guide- Create an alphabetized list of policy, procedure, FAQs and venue specific terminology. • ADA Accessibility Guide- Write this guide as if you were instructing FOH staff on how to provide service to guests with accessibility needs. Be sure to include: • Venue map with ADA accessible entrance points and parking locations. • Seating map with ADA seating options • Specific instruction for companion seating • Specific instruction for ticket policy (how are ADA tickets designated and how shall the usher handle the ticket once received).