Some of you may know I was employed at a venue before coming to work at IAVM Headquarters. I worked at the Dallas Museum of Art as the Senior Marketing Manager for almost 12 years.
The museum and its small staff hosted up to a million visitors in a year, and presented exhibitions like King Tut, Van Gogh and Matisse. Then mix in large outdoor concerts drawing up to 30,000 concert-goers; weekly indoor jazz and monthly Late Nights, which drew from 3,000 up to 15,000 guests to the Museum. While these numbers pale in comparison to a stadium during a single game, for a museum with expertise in watching people watch art – these events presented many “all hands on deck” situations with most of us becoming guest services, venue safety and operations team members.
One of my favorite pieces of advice came from the then Museum’s Director, Bonnie Pitman, during the first Late Night when the museum stayed open for 100 consecutive hours to celebrate its centennial. As all of us pitched in, working to welcome the crowd cueing up in lines stretching the entire length of the museum, Bonnie shared her now famous line: “Be a duck.”
“Be a duck” describes the perfect guest service manager. Like a duck that seemingly floats effortlessly across a lake, while under the water the duck paddles furiously propelling itself forward – above, there is little apparent to divulge the efforts occurring beneath the surface.
No matter the size of your venue, the customer’s experience is a make or break part of every venue’s game. Today’s guest service professionals and crowd management staff play an integral role not only in welcoming guests, but keeping fans safe, keeping the facility running smoothly, making unhappy fans happy, increasing revenue and encouraging return customers. With all these tasks to accomplish, guest services professionals still need to project a sense of calm and ease as they accomplish their jobs – much like ducks crossing a pond.
IAVM’s International Crowd Management Conference, taking place Nov. 10-13 in San Antonio, TX will bring together some of the industry’s top experts on guest service to help venue professionals learn and gather resources in both customer service and crowd management.
Our experts will share what they’ve learned from studying guest experience leaders like Disney, Ritz-Carlton, and others; and share suggestions and experiences for applying those techniques in a manner that will work for your venue and provide a return on the investment you make in doing so. These are techniques that become the foundation for patron behavior and proactive crowd management.
A two-part session, Guest Service Program/ Plan Development: Building the Plan and Program at Your Venue will span several hours during this year’s conference. With venue managers from Venue Works, Met Life Stadium, AT&T Stadium, Staples Arena and small venues such as Starlight Theater (IAVM’s 2013 Venue Excellence Award winner) and the Mesa Arts Center (2012 Venue Excellence Award winner) planning the session there is certainly a great scope of expertise being used to develop this year’s content.
Learn how you can provide an extraordinary Guest Experience without spending an extraordinary amount of money. It would be great if every venue could bring in world-class Guest Services teams into your venue. It’s one thing to attend a conference and get up to speed on the state-of-the art in venue management; it’s quite another to implement what you’ve learned back at your own facility and be able to measure its success. In this session, our panel of seasoned venue managers will share the pitfalls, challenges, and ultimately, successes they’ve experienced in bringing high-level Guest Experience principles to venues of all sizes and in all markets, without spending tens of thousands of dollars. Staff training, customer expectations, techniques for implementation and metrics for measuring your venue’s success will all be discussed.
Register for ICMC Today. Hotel cut-off is Friday, Oct. 18.