By John Platillero
Our first week on the Road to VenueConnect was hilariously described by my colleagues as “The Griswolds Meet The Office” road trip. I must admit, covering 6,000-plus miles in three weeks and visiting as many venues as possible on our way to the IAVM VenueConnect conference is a bit crazy. We’re meeting with venue professionals in multiple cities to ask, “How can venue technology evolve to make your job easier?” Then we listen.
When I started EventBooking in 1997, no one had heard of “web-based software” or “software as a service.” Google calendar didn’t exist and a few lucky venue employees had an AOL dial-up account. A lot has changed since then and expectations are high for venue tech companies to be in touch with the needs of the industry, if not ahead of the game. Fortunately, speaking with event professionals face-to-face is a great way to do just that.
Our first workshop was just down the road from our office, graciously hosted by the Knoxville Convention Center. From there, we’ve made our way to Chicago, Davenport, Des Moines, Lincoln, and Topeka. The venues represented in each discussion always vary in size and type, but face similar challenges and seem to enjoy learning a few tips from each other.
One of the interesting unknowns in all of this is whether or not we will actually make it to Nashville. You see, I borrowed a 10-year-old RV that has seen better days. In our first week, we have already pulled some incredible MacGyver moves—complete with three small nails, duct tape, and some prayerful pleas. There was also span of time which convinced us that the AC and electricity was indefinitely broken, but thanks to a mysterious, unlabeled button we pressed as a last-ditch effort, we are back in business.
If we make it, we will be excited to present our findings at this year’s VenueConnect annual conference. Hope to see you along the way!
View EventBooking’s Week 1 video experience here.
To join us at one of our stops, click here.
John Platillero is founder & CEO of EventBooking
Venue Coalition announced that it has promoted Andrew Saunders to Director of Booking. In his expanded role, Saunders will focus on business development while continuing to service new and existing Venue Coalition arena clients.
Saunders started his career with Venue Coalition in 2012 after graduating from USC’s Music Industry and Business Entrepreneurship programs. After working at Venue Coalition for two years, he was recruited by Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman, one of the industry’s most prestigious business management firms, to work in their tour accounting office. While at the firm, Saunders worked on a number of projects, including North American and European tours for James Taylor. In 2015, Saunders returned to Venue Coalition as the company’s Booking Manager.
“I’m looking forward to this opportunity to service both new and existing clients and to book and develop incremental content for our arena members” Saunders said.
“Andrew has a thorough understanding of our client’s needs and he has done an outstanding job of servicing our members,” added Jeff Apregan, President. “He has accomplished so much in such a short time. Wwe are excited for this new chapter to begin.”
Venue Coalition is a live entertainment consulting company that provides strategic planning, project management and talent booking services for arenas, theaters and public assembly venues. On behalf of their venue clients, Venue Coalition actively reaches out to key decision makers in the live entertainment and touring industries to influence routing decisions and ultimately increase event days in each of its participating member arenas.
We have all had that moment when an Instagram post or a Snapchat story of our friend makes us feel like we are not quite as cool or included as we should be. FoMO, or the Fear of Missing Out, refers to the feeling of “fear of not being included in something (such as an interesting or enjoyable activity) that others are experiencing.” It was added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary in 2016. Following this current trend, millennials and people in general prefer to spend money on experiences instead of goods, and this new emphasis on experiences is changing the role of the modern-day arena.
The Tacoma (WA) City Council has approved an amended agreement with Yareton Investment and Management (Washington) L.L.C., as well as property conveyance for a hotel project for the Greater Tacoma Convention Center. Conducted without public subsidy, the development represents one of the first major foreign direct investments in a commercial project on publicly-owned land in Tacoma. It is also the largest privately funded development downtown in the city’s history.
The project, estimated to cost approximately $150 million, will be completed in two phases.
The first phase, projected to cost at least $85 million, will involve the construction of a 4-star, 300-room hotel with a 10,000 square foot grand ballroom, retail and other function rooms. The hotel operator is Interstate Hotels & Resorts in Alexandria, VA, the leading U.S.-based global hotel management company, operating branded full- and select-service hotels and resorts, convention centers and independent hotels worldwide. The brand is Marriott International in Bethesda, MD, which encompasses a portfolio of more than 6,100 properties in 30 leading hotel brands spanning 124 countries and territories.
The second phase, estimated to cost approximately $65 million, will involve the construction of approximately 200 apartments/condominiums based on market demand, with retail, after the hotel is operational.
The development is projected to boost utilization of the Greater Tacoma Convention Center, and generate substantial revenue through property, sales, B&O, utility and hotel-motel taxes. It is also projected to create approximately 1,000 construction jobs and 200 full-time hotel-related jobs.
The development is scheduled to break ground on August 8, 2017.
Julie Bunker has joined Portland’5 Centers for the Arts as the new director of operations.
Bunker has 20 years of experience in increasingly responsible roles within operational management at various companies. In her most recent position, Bunker was the director of design and construction at Pinnacle Entertainment, a Las Vegas-based casino entertainment company, where she managed projects in the Midwest.
She has also previously been the director of design for Ameristar Casinos and the vice president for facilities and operations at the Omaha Performing Arts Center.
Bunker’s experience is enhanced by her Masters degree in Management from Bellevue University and her Bachelors of Arts from the University of Arizona. She has also taught venue management at her alma mater. Bunker is passionate about continuous improvement and being a part of a winning team.
“We are so excited to have Julie on our team,” said Robyn Williams, CFE, executive director at Portland’5 Centers for the Arts. “Julie brings a wealth of experience and a unique perspective that will allow P’5 to continue to serve our community by offering a home for the finest performing arts experiences for many years to come.”
As the director of operations, Bunker is responsible for the overall leadership of operations. Specifically, she will lead efforts in these areas:
• The daily operations of building maintenance
• Stage-related services
• Grounds maintenance
• Custodial services
• Security and capital projects
• Oversee event and performance load-in and load-out, setup and teardown
• Develops and implements appropriate policies, programs and services to ensure effective utilization of resources and regulatory compliance
• Serves as a member of the management team
“At Portland’5 Centers for the Arts, we hire a workforce representative of the communities we serve, understanding that a diverse workforce strengthens our organization,” Williams added. “We value diversity and support a positive and welcoming environment where all of our employees can thrive.”
“I am very excited about joining Portland’5 Centers for the Arts. The performing arts has always been my first love and returning to it by way of Portland’5 is particularly exciting given the organization’s stellar nationwide reputation,” Bunker said of her new position.