By Chris Munz, Concept3D
As usual, this year’s VenueConnect Conference and Trade Show was incredibly valuable. I’ve been going for several years now, and I always enjoy coming out from behind the computer for several days, putting faces with names, and reconnecting with all the professionals that make the event and meetings industry so fun and dynamic. A quick and gratuitous “thank you” to IAVM, the City of Toronto, and the Metropolitan Toronto Convention Centre for making it all happen.
Without fail I leave VenueConnect with a host of new ideas and thoughts, having heard the keynotes, participated in side events and been lucky enough to chat with a multitude of professionals from facilities, events management, marketing – you name it.
As a provider of immersive technology for convention centers, event venues, stadiums, and many other locations, I think along these lines, and came up with three primary trends that really struck me at the conference.
From a tech standpoint, automation came up many, many times. How can we better automate the physical movement and tracking of inventory to make things run more smoothly and efficiently? Marketing and event management automation was also top of mind, with companies like Ungerboeck making strides, creating a more seamless approach to event management like event bookings, floor planning, event registration, and management. Making use of the data and the systems improves the experience for the event planner, attendee, and exhibitor. There’s no shortage of ways that automation can improve how we plan, implement and evaluate what we do day in and day out.
Visualizing Data, Workflow, and Systems
When I tell people what we do at Concept3D, a light bulb often goes off: “Wow! Right now that’s all in a massive spreadsheet!” There’s huge potential to visualize workflows, systems, and to make the data that’s pouring in (and will pour in even more as event venues further integrate connected systems and devices (IoT). I find this incredibly exciting, because the ability to take data out of a spreadsheet and be able to see it and interact with it in a visual layout will improve decision making, create new business opportunities for event spaces, and – perhaps most important – better support event management pros and ultimately the guests they are hosting at an event.
New, Unique Event Spaces
There’s a massive push across the industry to make their spaces more fun and memorable. The Long Beach Convention Center (the location of VenueConnect 2020), for example, is doing a fantastic job of thinking outside the box with their space, from hosting events by the fountains to creating one-of-a-kind experiences with light-up ping-pong tables and using a pedestrian bridge as event space. They really put on a show! People get excited about this and share these experiences with friends. More outdoor spaces (and indoor spaces with tons of natural light to mimic being outdoors) are happening across the industry. In my humble opinion, these are the event spaces that will be the real draw because people want to be part of these fun, atypical events.
These are just three of many takeaways I enjoyed hearing more about at VenueConnect. I would love to hear yours!
Hope to see you at VenueConnect 2019 at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago – I’ll be there for sure!
Chris Munz is Vice President of Business Development at Concept3D – http://www.concept3D.com
The 128th OC Fair in Costa Mesa, California, welcomed a record 1,470,636 guests who enjoyed 35 sold-out shows, ate hundreds of thousands of chocolate chip cookies and freed their inner farmers by greeting 11 new piglets at Centennial Farm.
“2018 was a banner year for the OC Fair in so many ways,” said OC Fair & Event Center CEO Kathy Kramer, CMP, CVE. “We want to thank the community for coming out in record-breaking numbers to enjoy the best celebration of the summer. We’re proud that 87% of guests surveyed said they increased their knowledge of agriculture and gave us a 4.62 overall enjoyment rating (out of 5).”
Through its community programs, the OC Fair collected 11,055 children’s books, 10,769 items of clothing, 8,849 cans of food, and 8,229 school supplies for local charities through the We Care Wednesday program during which guests received free admission with their donation.
The Friends of the Fair program welcomed 4,501 guests with special needs for a free VIP experience while the OC Fair Kids Club brought 1,150 children from local Title 1 programs to the Fair for a special experience that included free admission and rides, a gift card, and bus service.
The final audited attendance figures show an increase of increase 10% from the 2017 number of 1,334,753. Final revenue numbers will be released in October.
“The annual Fair funds our community give-back programs, agriculture education, and supports Centennial Farm and Heroes Hall, so a great year for the Fair pays dividends all year long,” Kramer said.
This year the OC Fair offered more discounts and promotions than ever before to help make the event more accessible. New in 2018 was Overalls Day and 3,140 fairgoers received free admission on Thursdays when they wore the denim classics. And a new carnival wristband deal was added to Sundays.
The most popular one-time promotion was the opening day “Free Till 3” admission and parking deal and 38,091 guests arrived early on July 13 to get the party started. Half-price early-bird weekend admission attracted 73,091 fairgoers. Some 16,610 veterans and active members of the military received free admission during the run of the fair and their family members purchased 22,647 discounted tickets.
On Thursdays, 25,158 children received free admission for Kids Day and more than 13,000 free carnival rides were provided to children who participated in the Read and Ride program.
The previous attendance record for the 23-day event was set in 2011 when 1,400,280 fairgoers turned out for the “Let’s Eat” theme and watched sold-out concerts by Bob Dylan, Selena Gomez, Blake Shelton, Weezer, Chicago, and more in Pacific Amphitheatre.
The 2018 OC Fair also broke the previous single-day attendance record when 86,334 fairgoers arrived on Saturday, July 28. That turnout bested the record of 84,986 guests who visited the Fair on July 21, 2001, to see the Orange Crush Demolition Derby debut, the “I Love Lucy” 50th-anniversary exhibit and to ride La Grande Wheel and the Euroslide for the first time at the OC Fair.
The OC Fair is currently the second-largest Fair in California by attendance, behind only the San Diego County Fair which runs three days longer. Nationally, the OC Fair ranks seventh by attendance.
BSE Global and AEG Facilities have identified new leaders for Barclays Center and NYCB LIVE, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The internal promotions name Matthew Felker as the general manager of Barclays Center and Joe Zino as the general manager of NYCB LIVE. Both promotions take effect October 1.
The announcement comes on the heels of the upcoming departure of Regional General Manager Steve Rosebrook, who will be overseeing the transition for AEG Facilities.
“Steve and his AEG Facilities colleagues have done a tremendous job building world-class arena operations teams at both venues.We thank Steve for his years of service and wish him all the best in his next chapter,” said Brett Yormark, CEO of BSE Global, which oversees both venues. “We’re excited about the future with Matt and Joe and congratulate them on their well-deserved promotions. They have been integral leaders in the operation of Barclays Center and NYCB LIVE.”
“We were very fortunate to have an experienced executive like Steve operating these two venues for us. His leadership has prepared Matt and Joe for assuming bigger roles,” said Senior Vice President of AEG Facilities, Richard Krezwick, who both general managers will report into.
Felker, who currently serves as general manager of NYCB LIVE, will lead operations for Barclays Center as general manager. Felker was a key member of the operations team that opened Barclays Center in 2012 and was promoted a number of times, eventually to the role of assistant general manager. In 2016, he transitioned to his current role on Long Island. Felker has accumulated more than 25 years of experience in sports and entertainment venues, including at XL Center in Hartford, CT, and Toyota Center in Houston.
In the transition from his current role as assistant general manager to general manager, Zino will become the head of operations for NYCB LIVE. Zino, a Long Island native, has been with the venue since 2008 when he was hired as an operations manager, and during its renovation served as a director of event services at Barclays Center. He played an integral role in the reopening of NYCB LIVE following its $180 million renovation.
Spectra, the providers of venue management and food services and hospitality to the Owensboro (KY) Convention Center and the Owensboro Sportscenter, announced some promotions and welcome a new member to their Owensboro team.
Executive Chef Matthew Dewalt joins the Owensboro team from another Spectra Venue, Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, PA. A graduate of the Pennsylvania Institute of Culinary Arts in Pittsburgh, PA, he has over 18 years of experience, including country clubs, restaurants and the Ritz Carlton. “His menu planning skills, management style, and teaching abilities will be a great asset,” said Spectra Food and Beverage Director Mark Pruett. “We look forward to his ideas, creativeness, and cooking techniques to help elevate the Convention Center and Sportscenter to a higher level.”
Natalie Russell has been promoted to sales manager. A graduate of the University of Kentucky, she has been with Spectra since 2015. Most recently as the sales and marketing coordinator, she became the event producer for the two largest signature self-promoted expos the convention center produces – Kraftucky in November and the Your Perfect Day Wedding Show in January. Her new role will also include booking consumer and trade shows.
Mallori Betz joined the Spectra team as an event manager in July of 2017 and has been promoted to wedding sales coordinator. A graduate of IUPUI, Betz has five years of event experience, most of which has been driven by the wedding industry. She previously worked as a Day of Wedding Coordinator in Indianapolis, IN. “It is truly an honor to be part of a couple’s wedding day!” she said.
AEG Presents, the live music division of global entertainment company, AEG, announced the appointment of Simon Jones in the newly created position of Senior Vice President Live Music International.
The creation of the role further builds on AEG Presents’ global presence and follows the opening of their Paris office at the start of 2018. Jones will report directly to the CEOs of AEG Presents London, Steve Homer and Toby Leighton-Pope.
Jones will head up the international promoting operations for AEG Presents UK, expanding the companies’ international touring footprint, working closely with the AEG offices in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. With AEG Presents ever-growing network of partners across the world, he will promote a broad range of artists from intimate club gigs through to stadium shows.
Since entering the UK market more than a decade ago, AEG Presents has built a strong presence across concert touring, festivals, and venues. In 2017 alone, AEG promoted over 800 live events in the UK. Through festivals such as Barclaycard Presents British Summer Time Hyde Park and the newly created All Points East, AEG has brought a new level of world-class talent and outstanding customer experiences.
Jones currently has a series of major shows taking place this year and into 2019 including Shawn Mendes European tour, the Ed Sheeran South Africa Stadium tour, Asian tours for Khalid and Calum Scott, Rodriguez across Australia and New Zealand and UK tours for Anne-Marie, Jess Glynne, Tom Odell, and The Vamps.
Jones began his promoting career early. From the age of 20 he was running gigs across his native Kent and while he was a student at Greenwich University he answered an advertisement for interns to work at a brand new arena – The O2 – which was in the process of being built and was part of the small team that launched the venue. Since that time Jones has risen through the ranks as a promoter and senior executive, taking him to his current role.
“I’ve enjoyed building the international touring arm of our UK office in recent years,” Jones said. “It’s a major passion of mine and I’m excited to continue and expand on this even further, with some incredible shows and tours to announce soon. What we have achieved since AEG Presents launched in the UK has been phenomenal and I’m certain we can keep upping the ante both here and around the world. The artists that work with us are always at the core of our thinking when planning tours and shows and that is reflected in the caliber of artists and their teams that we work with.”