Full–Service Venue Success
In an era where people want all-inclusive packages and the highest level of customer service, venues have quite a lot of expectations to live up to. As we’ve mentioned previously, there are 4 different ways venues deliver exhibitor services. Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin is an example of the delivered services model where the venue owns and provides all services necessary for an event. In this case, it provides us a great example of what full-service venue success looks like.
“We are a full-service rental agency so pretty much everything a show could need we provide in-house.” - Bill Franz, AEC
The delivered services model is not something feasible (or right) for every venue. The venues that employ this concept are typically larger in size and host a larger number of events in order to generate the revenue that’s necessary to support the inventory and operations of the services provided.
The Alliant Energy Center (AEC) sits on a 164-acre campus and is made up of five unique and versatile facilities: the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Exhibition Hall, Willow Island, the Arena, and the New Holland Pavilions. Each venue is host to a variety of events ranging from concerts, banquets, traveling shows, conventions, exhibitions, tradeshows, sporting events, picnics, charity events, and more! Also located on the grounds of the Alliant Energy Center is a hotel and campground. And, with 5,800 paved parking stalls, they are more than ready to handle a high influx of visitors. The separate facilities ensure that the AEC has the ability to host multiple events congruently.
We had the opportunity to speak with Bill Franz from AEC and discussed the incredible amount of service offerings and what’s essential to making it a success. “This coming weekend we have six events running at the same time. Even with everything that’s currently being held here, our inventory is so vast that we rarely have an issue with being shorthanded,” Bill commented.
Every Service you Need, All in One Place
With increasing business, there has been a significant number of renovations and additions to the complex. To support their growth, they provide nearly any service an attendee, planner, or exhibitor could need to plan and execute successful events. Bill stated, “We are a full-service rental agency so pretty much everything a show could need we provide in-house.”
They are able to provide clients with a seamless experience from the initial planning stages through the entire process of the event including, but not limited to: catering, internet, audio-visual services, ticketing, décor, booth equipment, and even labor services. Combining all of these elements through one contact source, they can ensure that the event is memorable to guests and a success for the client.
Using inventory to make an impact
We’ve mentioned that the model of delivered services is not something that every venue can practice due to the need for higher revenues and support staff. This is also something that is not an easy offering as there must be a robust foundation of established processes and back-end support. When providing a one-stop-shop approach, the need for an accurate source of inventory, communications, and scheduling is exceedingly important.
Another key to their success in this model is having the ability to keep all of this information in one, easily accessible place. By having a single source for contacts, spaces, contracts, accounting, and reporting, the likelihood of booking errors or miscommunications minimizes.
Bill addressed the biggest advantage of having inventory information readily available. “With the ability to track inventory, we can see which items are not being ordered as frequently. With a constant need for additional real-estate to store the items on-site, being able to manage our inventory efficiently helps us to keep and maintain only what is actively used. And in another regard, it helps us determine if the current technologies we’re offering are obsolete and need to be updated.”
Ahead of the Game
Recently, we’ve been talking about a lot about technology standards in the events industry. A recent poll by the Event Manager Blog stated that reliable Wi-Fi, projection screens, a/v technicians, changeable lighting, and stage availability are the top 5 services that planners expect to be provided. All these services are offered by the Alliant Energy Center giving them a leg up over competitors who don’t or can’t provide these services. Being a full-service rental agency with attentive customer service AND a venue is no easy feat.