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Ehlite 33 throwing a party for a living holverson

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Events Management EHLITE Magazine Autumn 2011 Issue 33

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Ehlite 33 throwing a party for a living holverson

  1. 1. Throwing a party for a living:A career for you in events management?Our students at Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne are was the beginning of the age of the modern musicwell aware that Events Management involves much festival. It was during this era that the Montreux Jazzmore than “throwing a party” although that in itself Festival was founded.at EHL, is an enormous endeavour in which our stu- Not all events are as elaborate or as complex as thedents have usually been very successful: on and off world’s major events, however the nature of the profes-campus. However, some of you looking for intern- sion is similar regardless of size and even a small eventships or jobs as you approach graduation or those can be overwhelming to the inexperienced.of you who have already graduated and who areconsidering going into Events Management may What kind of qualifications do I have tohave not quite considered exactly what could be in- have?volved in this career choice. According to the late Leonard H. Hoyle, Jr., specialistWhat is Events Management? in Events Management, “Commitment to your goal is essential to full achievement. It generates excite-It is the application of project management involving ment, creativity, and infectious enthusiasm. […] Ascreative, strategic and logistical methods of plan- an Event Manager and Marketer, it must start withning, designing, producing, and marketing in which you”.1 Another qualification that I would add is the Mando Diao Band Zermattthere is a lot of outsourcing to materialize noteworthy ability to handle surprises because it is guaranteed Unplugged – Photo byevents. Popular event domains include social, com- that there will be at least one. Dominique Schreckling.mercial, athletic, cultural, religious, musical, theatri-cal, political, scientific, athletic, artistic and many What are some of the activities thatother types of occasions. Today the expectations are I would be handling?high and gone are the days of party throwing whenyou just called a caterer and a few suppliers and Leonard H. Hoyle, Jr. provides a partial list of areasdid-it-yourself. In addition to being highly profes- requiring knowledge 2:sional events are, of course, punctual, which neces- –– Group dynamics,sitates absolute perfection in organization and imple- –– Marketing, promotion, publicitymentation. In other words, no mistakes and no –– Financial management and accountingsecond chances. –– Politics and leadership management –– Food and beverage managementIs this a new field? –– Law and liabilities Martin Jondo Band Zermatt –– Site inspection and selection Unplugged – PhotoWe all agree that events have been around since the –– Transportation by Dominique Schreckling.beginning of human life. Nomadic pagans during –– Facilities managementthe Palaeolithic Age in Europe were organizing fes- –– Housing and reservationstivals 12’000 years ago, some of which still being –– Registration proceduresorganized today. The 500 years of Roman rule had –– Contracts and insurancesome memorable events. The most famous of all –– Liaison with program participantsevents are the Olympic Games which began in Olym- –– Logistics, function rooms, meeting spaces (VIPs)pia, Greece in 776 BD and lasted 12 centuries before –– Shipping and transporting goodsdying out and then being revived again in 1896. Other –– Audiovisual, IT, other technologiesmajor historical events include the Exposition Uni‑ –– “Show flow” and schedulingverselle of 1889 in Paris never dismantled GustaveEiffel’s temporary tower. 1 Hoyle, L. H. (2002). Event marketing: How to Success- Zermatt Unplugged concert One type of event that has been universally popu- fully Promote Events, Festivals, Conventions, and Expo- under the largest marquee sitions. New York: John Wiley Sons, Inc. Preface xii. in Switzerland – Photolar throughout history is the music festival, especially by Dominique Schreckling.in the 1960’s with the (in)famous Woodstock which 2 Op. cit. Preface xvi. inside-out 39 EN
  2. 2. –– Master accounts and gratuities are big business and with the radical change in the –– Staging and decoration music industry worldwide, there is a greater number –– Exhibit management and marketing of available musicians because live concerts are now –– Program planning the way they make their money. Just last year alone, –– Evaluation and analysis techniques there were 700 music festivals in the UK of various sizes and in different destinations. For the festival- I will add Risk Assessment since as we all know, goers, it’s still a very good value compared to buying festivals are neither weather-proof nor volcanic ash tickets to sports matches and individual concerts. proof, etc. and entertainers and keynote speakers as Furthermore, according to one UK organiser, “the well as suppliers, just like all of us, are people who live music experience isn’t something that can be can have problems on that particular day or days. recreated digitally” and there are never two festivals that are the same.6 They are each very unique experi- Are there growing opportunities in this ences for all involved; spectators, suppliers and or- field? ganisers and you have to be there to understand. Switzerland is legendary for its love of festivals Despite what we’ve seen in the last couple years with and probably has more festivals per capita than any- cancelled events, slashed corporate and affinity where in the world. Music festival promoter, Stefan events budgets as well as lower attendance, the Matthey of Free  Virgin says that “the strange thing Events Management Industry is about a 500 billion is that there are more and more every year but none dollar industry worldwide.3 For the tourism sector, of them are disappearing.” 7 Although there has been events are a becoming a critical component for des- a fractional decrease in festival-goers, revenues last tination promotion, especially due to increasing year increased 5.5% for Swiss music festivals.8 competition between destinations. What is referred to by some scholars as “Event Tourism” has seen Could I have some examples of people’s “subsequent growth” in this sector and “can only be personal experiences working in EventSonja Holverson described as spectacular.” 4 Some destinations are Management?MBA, HEC University of Lau‑ reviving or reworking traditional festivals and eventssanne, faculty member at Ecolehôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) along with adding new events which are all part of The Zermatt Unplugged Music Festival was an ideateaching hospitality marketing, a worldwide momentum of event development in conceived in 2007 by Zurich businessman, Thomasbegan her two-decade long career recent years.5 Sterchi, who is working in films, music and hospital-in hospitality and tourism at the Research has shown that there is usually a favour- ity (owns a restaurant in Zermatt) along with com-University of Hawaii where she able result due to the event which will not only con- poser friend Chris von Rohr who suggested the di-obtained her BA. Her diversebackground in Hawaii, California tribute to the economic welfare of the community mension “Unplugged”. This is referring to acousticand Switzerland in sales and but also develop community solidarity, local quality only music; something rare in the world music fes-marketing, included positions of life, as well as improve the image of the destina- tival circuits. When the festival materialized in 2008with hotels, restaurants, tour tion and put in on the tourism map.6 This does not the world was experiencing an economic creditoperators, travel agencies, incen‑ exclude possible negative impacts depending on the crunch and we saw the beginnings of a financial crisistive travel companies and cruiselines. In cooperation with Lau‑ nature of the event such as environmental damage, that continues today in many countries. Despite allsanne Hospitality Research, she increasing traffic congestion, social discontent and of this, Zermatt Unplugged Music Festival is in itshas presented research on hotel an increase in security costs. However, these are 4th year and is now one of the most important acous-branding at conferences in Swit‑ manageable problems that events professionals have tic music festivals in Europe with about 15’000 seri-zerland and the US and has been working on to be sustainable such as engaging ous music lovers attending.taught executive courses on hotelbranding in China and at EHL. local suppliers in event-related contracts and mini- Unlike all other music festivals, Zermatt Un- mizing ecological impacts. plugged has for its “stage” the ancient alpine wooden Music festivals, in particular are a favoured choice chalet-covered, traffic-free village centre as well as of festivals for tourist destinations. In the UK festivals the ski slopes of Zermatt  nestled at the foot of the iconic Matterhorn (14,692 feet) and the Monte Rosa 3 Gordon, A. (2008, April 14). Understanding Business (15,203 feet), the highest peak in Switzerland. some Development Ideas for Event Management Industry. of the world’s best known singers, songwriters and Events Secrets. Retrieved May 19, 2011 from http://event- bands as well as some brilliant ‘new talent’ who are secrets.com/articles/business-resources/understanding- business-development-ideas-for-event-management- invited to play with the masters in a laid-back au- industry/ thentic musical ambience. 4 Getz, D. (2008, June). Event tourism: definition, evolution, Sonja Holverson and research. Tourism Management. (29)3. 403‑428. 5 Felsenstein, D. and Fleischer, A. (2003, May). Local Festivals and Tourism Promotion: The Role of Public Assistance and 7 Woods, A. (2011, May). Switzerland: Leading the fields. Visitor Expenditure. Journal of Travel Research, (41) 385‑392. IQ Magazine. p. 61. 6 Ibid. 8 Ibid. 40 inside-out EN
  3. 3. Meet Sebastian Metry, graduate Within Switzerland:of Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne in 2009 –– Presswho began as Event Manager for Zermatt –– TVUnplugged music festival in charge –– Cinemaof Marketing and Hospitality in December –– Poster and screen advertising in the largest trainof 2010 in preparation for the festival stationsheld 12‑16 April 2011. Now plans –– Advertising in all cinemasare under way for the 5th edition –– Radio broadcasting with our partner DRS 317‑21 April 2012 (http://www.zermatt- –– Collaboration with our media partner (Sonntags­unplugged.ch). Zeitung) –– Cross communication through our partners (especially Raiffeisen and Parmigiani)How does Zermatt Unplugged music festival dif- –– Online Marketing on event sites and related webferentiate from the other music festivals in Europe? pagesSebastian Metry: In addition to the fact that itis an acoustic music festival of which there are not Within Zermatt :many, our unique selling proposition is the inti- –– 3 branded taxis with the festival logo and the Sebastian Metry, Zermattmate, authentic, uncomplicated and friendly atmo- programme which drive around during the win- Unplugged Music Festivalsphere that makes everyone feel like they belong. ter season Marketing and HospitalityPeople come who really love music and everyone –– 6 branded gondolas and a lot of visibility in the Manager‑crop.is touched by it. There is a compatible mingling of ski regionfamous musicians with young talented unknowns –– Billboards on the way to Zermattwhich creates an ambience found nowhere else. –– Branded Give-Aways given out on the weekends before the event startedWere their specific classes at EHL that you now –– 30 hotels, 10 restaurants and 5 bars communi-find particularly useful for this position as Event cated the event to their guests and put out ourManager at the Zermatt Unplugged music festival? logo flags just prior to the event that could beYes, Marketing, a little bit from Strategy, FB Cost- seen by anyone coming to Zermatting, Rooms Division, Accounting, Excel…and be-lieve it not, Interpersonal Communication! What different type of organizations and agencies do you deal with in your job?Had it occurred to you in advance that you would –– A marketing partner and a PR partner, bothlike to do this type of work? based in ZurichNo, not really…After my graduation I was planning –– A booking agency based in Lausanneto work in different hotels in order to get experience –– An event agency based in Zurich which is main-and take over our family hotel’s business, The ly supporting us during the festival itselfSchoenegg in Zermatt one day. That’s why I wentto the States and worked there as a trainee in FB For the rest of the Marketing and Hospitalitymanagement for a hotel in Washington D.C. organization we are basically 2  people working more or less all year round for the festival. For theWere you specifically interested in Events Manage- preparation time (From December to the event inment before you took this position? April), there are 3 people that assist us.All in all, I felt that I was not advancing in my learningprocess while working in the U.S. I always liked to What are some of the changes and challenges todayorganize little events. During my time at EHL I orga- in Events Management?nized 2 big excursions to Zermatt. We were about I don’t have a lot to compare with since I’ve only60 people and spent memorable weekends in Zermatt worked there for one year, but in the matter of spon-together. I was also on the committee for the Fête soring I confronted a lot of difficulties that wereFinale Autumn 2008 as well as on the Student Social apparently easier in the past. Nowadays, since ev-Space committee and ran the D-bar for a semester. ery single small event contacts every brand for a sponsoring fee, it is very difficult to reach sponsors.What are some of the different Marketing and com- Furthermore, the global financial crisis created amunication activities that you do for the festival? big change in sponsoring behaviour. Years agoI am not working alone as we are working with a sponsoring investments were looked at like market-Marketing company based in Zurich and cooperate ing costs. Now all sponsors say no at the first re-on these activities: quest because they have so many events asking inside-out 41 EN
  4. 4. them for money. This year our main sponsors were onwards I’m working very close with our Marketing Raiffeisen andParmigiani. Zermatt Tourism is sup- company in order to coordinate the Marketing in porting us financially as well. SonntagsZeltung is Zermatt with all the other Marketing actions for our media partner. Switzerland. Starting in Winter my assistant and I take care of the organization of the hospitality. We What do you believe to be the best qualities to look have to ensure over 800 bookings in Zermatt for for in a candidate for your type of position as the guests, artists, volunteers, VIPs, the press and Marketing and Hospitality Manager of these types other people. In addition I have to take care of the of events? entire FB offer. The main FB location is the tent You have to be detail-oriented and to be able to where everybody can come in for free. In addition, determine all the things one has to do and when; there are 6 food stands and 3 bars. I have to nego- to order, and to organize. In addition it is very im- tiate agreements with the stands and arrange for portant to be team player. Since our organization the beverage offer for the entire festival in accor- committee is very small, each person has to col- dance with our beverage partner. laborate with the others and help everywhere if help is needed. For example, at the 2008 festival it What surprised you most about your job? started to snow and the whole team had to clear Not everything is as easy as it sounded to me at the snow off the marquee tent. Therefore, I would the beginning… add you have to be physically and mentally strong as it is a tough period and everybody gets close to What are the less enjoyable aspects of your job? their limits. I think also, that it is very important to The bills and the clearance after the event. I’m nor- have knowledge about Zermatt and to know the mally very tired and then I have to do the unloved people in the village. work by myself…similar to cleaning up after the Fête Finale! Having worked both in hotels and now in Events Management, which would you consider the most What could you tell EHL students about your work stressful for which to work? that might be helpful if they are interested in this In events, it is punctual. There is no soft opening. type of job? Hotels have time to do trial runs before the grand It is really exciting work, but it is not always easy opening. For Events, there is no second chance to because you have to work a lot!! No overtime or get it right. related activities are counted. Sometimes it is hard to organise the entire event in advance, the whole With no room for error in the organization of the year round and then, when the actual event starts, festival, were there any close calls or incidents that you are too busy and stressed to enjoy it. But there happened that increased your levels of adrenaline? were some great moments when I could take some Yes, I  had ordered 2 large refrigerated trucks in pleasure after hours in the venues when big name which we fill our beverages which arrived Friday entertainers would get together spontaneously before the festival which began on Tuesday. The and jam. It was during those times, I could feel same Friday we received our order for all of the the authentic ambience of what our festival-goers beverages. While filling the drinks in one of the were experiencing and that made it very worth- trucks we realised that the refrigeration was not while. working and we had to order a new truck which “Event Tourism” is being used more and more wouldn’t arrive until the first day of the festival and to promote competitive destinations and to con- which was going to have difficulty manoeuvring tribute to the local economy which can create within the traffic-free village. When it did arrive we positive community spirit in the long term. Zermatt had to move all the drinks from one truck to other, Tourism works very closely with Zermatt Unplugged no small task during the opening of the festival. Music Festival and has a long term strategic view Another close call was when we invited one of the of the famous destination and the impact of “Event musicians to take a helicopter up the slopes to go Tourism.” skiing and he injured himself. After a bit of worry, fortunately it was minor and all ended well. What do you like most about your job? The flexibility. Each time of the year I have a differ- Local Zermatt Chefs Prepare ent field that I’m working on. During the summerfor the Festival-Goers – Photo period I  have to find sponsors. From Autumn by Dominique Schreckling.42 inside-outEN
  5. 5. Meet Marc Scheurer, Marketing Zermatt Unplugged is part of the long term strat-Director for Zermatt Tourism who will egy of the destination and is widely supported bygive us some insight into the other major the locals. Zermatt Tourism focuses almost all ofpartners’ involvement in an event. its Winter communication on this event which helps enable us to extend our season toward the end of April when no other ski destination can offerHow many events does Zermatt organize each such good snow conditions at that time.year? What are your most attended events?Marc Scheurer: We have around 20  events Are there socio-economic impacts on the villageevery year. The most attended are: of Zermatt and its residents due to events? Do re-–– Horu Trophy (Curling) ceive any complaints from the residents? Compli­–– Zermatt Unplugged (Music) ments?–– Zermatt Marathon There are always some issues with the residents.–– Matterhorn Eagle Cup (Golf) Some want to keep their quiet life and others want–– International Matterhorn Run to animate the resort. Of course, sometimes it–– Folklore Festival, Zermatt Festival (classical causes some friction. But Zermatt is clearly a hol- Music) iday destination and most residents are aware that Marc Scheurer, Zermatt Tourism we have to keep on being innovative for our guests. Marketing Manager.How do you measure the impact of the events on Compliments are rare in our job, but critical com-tourism in Zermatt? ments are taken as a chance to improve our service We measure the impact with the metrics of hotel or as a communication platform with our residentsovernights generated by the event, the amount of and guests.people attended, the number of package deals sold,etc. Every year the events’ organiser can ask for a Does Zermatt Tourism hire staff that is experiencedsponsorship from Zermatt Tourism. Then, they in working events? You mentioned that you hadhave to give us some facts and figures about the 3 in-house event coordinators.event that help us evaluate the importance and Destination Tourism is a good platform to start aimpact of it on our destination. career. The job is extremely interesting and brings you in contact with a lot of variety in all fields. OfWhat percentage of your marketing budget do you course if someone has already some working ex-allocate for events? perience (trainee in event management or someIt’s about 18% of our budget out of CHF 2’800’000.–. years of working experience), it definitely helps. To join the management team, you definitely have toDo you think that events are playing larger roles in bring a solid background with you.marketing tourism than in the past?It helps with the communication about a destina- Do you have any advice to give our students ortion. It also shows the dynamism of a destination. alumni who may be considering working at a tour-But first of all the quality of the event must be de- ist destination in Events Management?livered and the product/offer of a destination is Besides the school (theoretical part), use all op-still more important. An event has to be fully inte- portunities to gain some working experience in thisgrated into a destination’s strategy and follow their field. The school also always offers platforms, suchpositioning.  Since Switzerland offers such a large as fairs, exhibitions or activities abroad. By usingnumber of events, it’s more and more difficult to them, you gain working experience and it gives youbuild up new events. some advantage over other applicants.Zermatt Unplugged is a relatively new event. Could What can we conclude about Events Management?you tell us how this event has evolved vis-à-vis the Events are highly valued for tourism destinationscommunity and how it has or has not helped with to attract both business and leisure categories.Zermatt tourism in the long term? Destination Management Organisations have highIt always takes time for a population to accept stakes in the success of the event and work close-changes or new offers. In Switzerland people are ly with the Event Management organizations. How- Zermatt Unplugged Musicmostly very critical about it. But Zermatt Unplugged ever, in general, although closely collaborating, the Festival photo credits:proved that it was not only able to bring a high Destination Management Organisations leave the Dominique Schrecklingquality animation to Zermatt, but also to attract biggest part of the event organization to the ex- (http://www.pbase.com/new interesting guests to the destination. Today, perts; those persons who really know how to throw tcom/zermattun‑and this already after only the 4th edition, the a party. plugged2011 ) inside-out 43 EN

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