Sports Facilities and the Law is the one-stop publication for news, case summaries, articles, and strategies to understand legal concerns and help create strategies to successfully deal with the challenges facing arenas, stadiums, recreation, and fitness facilities, whether at the professional, collegiate, high school, and amateur levels. The newsletter’s goal is not just to inform, but to help share solutions.
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Gil Fried, J.D., professor – chair in the College of Business Sport Management Department at the University of New Haven and co-author of Facility Manager magazine’s The Facility Doctors’ column, serves as editor-in-chief of the publication and brings his expertise in sport law, finance, and facility management to the newsletter.
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has awarded LEED Gold certification to the 3.9-million-square-foot Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC), the largest convention center in the world to achieve this status. LEED, an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally-recognized green building certification awarded to facilities that employ sustainability strategies, including indoor air quality, energy and atmosphere, sustainable sites, water efficiency, material, and resources.
The GWCC initially earned LEED Silver certification in 2014, becoming the largest LEED certified convention center in the world. “Improving our performance from LEED Silver to Gold reflects our commitment to having better buildings, being better neighbors, and hosting better events,” said Tim Trefzer, LEED Accredited Professional and the GWCCA’s Corporate Social Responsibility Manager. “It’s a testament to our leadership’s vision to anchor the greenest convention, sports, and entertainment destination in the world.”
The GWCCA’s 220-acre downtown Atlanta campus strategically integrates solar power, electric vehicle charging stations, sustainable procurement practices, green cleaning, and a comprehensive waste diversion focus that includes food donation, composting, and recycling. An industry leader in sustainability, the Authority’s campus is the ideal setting to host the USGBC’s annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in 2019.
The Savannah International Trade & Convention Center (SITCC), managed by the GWCCA, recently obtained LEED Gold certification; also Mercedes-Benz Stadium, located on the GWCCA campus, recently announced its LEED Platinum certification.
“Stewardship, for our team, our community and the environment, is central to our business’ success and why we targeted taking our LEED certification from Silver to Gold two years before recertification was required,” said GWCCA Chief Operating Officer Kevin Duvall. “LEED isn’t the end of our journey. The GWCCA will continue to strategically drive sustainability into all aspects of our business, not only to mitigate risk and demonstrate leadership, but because it creates value for our employees and clients.”
The Authority’s sustainability highlights include:
• The GWCCA campus has diverted more than 14 million pounds of material from landfills since 2010 through recycling, composting, donations, and reuse.
• Energy-efficiency upgrades to the campus have resulted in a minimum of 39 percent savings on utilities.
• Plumbing fixture upgrades have resulted in saving 32 percent more water than required by building code.
• The 1.6 megawatts of solar panels on the GWCCA campus generate enough electricity to power 160 homes in Georgia annually.
• GWCCA staff has experienced a 48 percent reduction in traditional commuting through options such as public transportation, carpooling, walking/biking, and driving low-emitting, fuel-efficient vehicles.
“The Georgia World Congress Center achieving LEED Gold certification is more than simply the culmination of implementing sustainable practices. It represents a commitment by GWCCA towards making Atlanta a more resilient place to live work and play,” said Stephanie Stuckey, Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Atlanta. “Given the extraordinary importance of climate protection and the major impact of the building industry in that effort, GWCCA is leading our city by example.”
IAVM is honored to have Chris Bryant, Chief Experience Officer and Business Performance Expert of the Bryant Group in Los Angeles, to serve as the featured speaker at the 2018 GuestX from February 20-22 in Minneapolis.
In speaking on the subject of Energizing the Guest Experience, Bryant is beyond qualified with a background that includes serving as Training Director with the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and NBA award-winner in the fine art of premium service. Bryant has inspired more than 35 professional sports franchises and venues by providing unique tools on how to provide the ultimate guest experience.
Bryant was gracious to take some time out of a busy schedule to talk about his skill set and how he expects attendees to benefit from attending his presentation at GuestX.
I have to ask first what is the definition of a Business Performance Expert?
A Business Performance Expert specializes in elevating the performance of an individual or organization in a specific area of focus to gain a competitive advantage. My passion and expertise relates to the delivery of a superior guest experience to improve retention, relationships, referrals, and revenue.
How does your work with a premier customer service organization like the Ritz-Carlton transfer to the public assembly venue industry to which you will be speaking?
There are many similarities with the luxury hotel industry and public venues as it relates to delivering a high-quality guest experience at every touch-point. In the hotel business, you are constantly striving to hire the right people, then train and keep them motivated; when many are part-time employees and only work a certain number of events. The similar challenge is to foster total buy-in and ensure every staff member is a brand ambassador that embodies the service commitment with every guest.
What are your thoughts or keys to customer retention and fan loyalty, two areas that are shown on your website and very important to any business. How do the successful ones do it and, conversely, what might be a couple of no-no’s for any industry in this area?
I strongly believe that customer retention and fan loyalty are absolutely critical to remaining relevant and ensuring sustainable success. Best-in-class organizations and venues understand that people become loyal to memorable experiences that evoke positive emotion and not just a transaction. You cannot control what happens on the stage, court or field, but you can and must control how guests are engaged and the bonds that are built. I think the biggest opportunity and mistake today in most industries is inconsistency. It is nearly impossible to create loyalty when the experience varies from one staff member to the next, and when the customer experience feels like a roller coaster ride. Mixed messages will always get mixed results.
How have expectations changed over the years, not only from guests who stay at premier hotels but for our industry those individuals who come to a game, a concert, a trade show, a ballet, a convention, etc.?
Both high-end hotels and elite venues play host to an increasingly sophisticated and savvy consumer. As options increase and ticket prices rise, so does the expectation of guests, fans, members, and clients. It has never been more important for providers of premium services to offer experiences that are more personalized, anticipatory, distinctive, consistent, and memorable.
What message or takeaway do you hope to provide our attendees when your session wraps up?
I know that running a venue or overseeing the guest experience can sometimes be a challenging responsibility with long hours and little credit for the enormous work done. My goal is to celebrate these amazing professionals and gift them with some helpful tips, tools, and techniques to lighten their load and lift their efforts. I hope to equip, inspire, and keep the magic flowing at every venue and with every event, game, or meeting.
The Kentucky State Fair Board, operator of the downtown Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, announced the appointment of Stacey Church as the venue’s new general manager.
Church most recently served as assistant director of the Fort Worth (TX) Convention Center and Will Rogers Memorial Center. She is a native of Elkhart, IN and a 1997 graduate of the University of Kentucky. Her experience in venue management includes executive positions with Spectra Venue Management facilities in Springfield, MA and South Bend, IN. Church will be responsible for day-to-day operations of the convention center.
“Stacey’s management experience, skill set in finance, and commitment to innovation are tremendous assets to Kentucky’s tourism industry as the center prepares to reopen in August 2018,” said Don Parkinson, Secretary of Kentucky’s Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.
“This is an exciting time for the meeting and convention industry for this community and especially the Kentucky International Convention Center,” said Dr. Mark Lynn, Kentucky State Fair Board Chairman and Interim CEO. “Our new general manager brings exceptional experience to provide leadership and develop new business for the new center.”
The convention center is slated to re-open August, 2018 following a $207 million expansion and renovation project.
UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, has launched a new education programme in China. The inaugural UFI-VMA Venue Management School kicked off on November 20.
The three-day program was hosted by the Shanghai New International Exhibition Centre (SNIEC), a long-time UFI member and strong supporter of UFI’s activities in China. The program was oversubscribed with 34 students from 15 different venues across China.
The program offered participants an unmatched learning environment. The curriculum included three days of lectures delivered in Mandarin by experienced senior-level managers from leading venues in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Shenyang, to name just a few.
Kai Hattendorf, UFI’s Managing Director/CEO, commented: “In recent years, additional venue space has become available in almost all regions of the world, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. Venue investments are long-term investments – they require the necessary infrastructure as well as qualified staff. UFI’s new Venue Management School offers programm aimed at qualifying venue managers to handle the needs of the international exhibition organisers that are bringing business to these venues.”
The lectures included group work, case studies, best practices, and more. The program covered core areas of venue management including customer care, safety & security, back of house operations, venue marketing, leadership skills, human resources management, and many others. The program was delivered under the terms of a partnership between UFI and the Venue Management Association (Asia and Pacific) Limited based in Australia.
Nancy Wang, from Shenyang New World Expo, was the top performing student at this year’s program. “It is a great honor for me to attend the inaugural education program launched by UFI-VMA Venue Management School in China and I am very happy to be awarded as the outstanding student,” she said. “My sincere thanks to UFI and VMA for preparing this comprehensive and practical arrangements and curriculums and inviting the great venue management experts as instructors to share their knowledge and experiences. As Chinese venue managers, we are very inspired by our industry peers and instructors of this program, and will apply the knowledge we learned to our daily work and enhance our professionalism.”
The program also included a mandatory final exam, a gala dinner, and a city tour for students from outside Shanghai. This program was supported by the generous sponsorship of Ungerboeck Software. Following the success of this year’s program, UFI will announce the dates and location of the 2018 edition of the program early next year.
The lack of qualified staff managing exhibition venues internationally is based on massive growth of exhibition space available. UFI’s recently published “World Map of Exhibition Venues” shows that in recent years, additional venue space has become available in all regions of the world. Some 1,221 exhibition venues currently serve the industry. Venue investments are long-term investments – so these trends underline the positive outlook for the exhibition industry mid- to long-term.
The exhibition market in Asia continues to grow at an impressive pace and over the past decade, Asia’s venue infrastructure has also rapidly expanded. Asia now offers more exhibition venue space than North America.