What does “staying ahead of future industry trends” mean? What kind of investments should venues envision to prepare for the future? What benefits do you expect from the investment in digitalization? These and many other questions were discussed at the 11th AIPC Facility Operations Summit that took place from November 25-26, 2018 in Barcelona. Operation managers from the international event industry came together to discuss various venue-related topics and challenges. It turned out that digitization still is one of the “hottest” topics in the industry.
If you have a plan on how to manage the digital transformation of your venue and even know exactly how you will serve your clients in 3 years from now, you are one of the few venues with a good digital strategy in place. If you don’t, you are not alone and you should keep on reading to get inspired by the great discussion results and thoughts I have brought back from the AIPC Facility Operations Summit.
Starting with a general approach on simplifying tasks and saving time, the discussion became quite detailed with a focus on operational processes, finally finding its way to centralized data and unified platforms which are considered key to efficiency gains.
Digitization and change need to be coordinated across teams. This industry allows to connect with peers like no other industry, as competition is often limited or regional only. Use your network, ask and learn about best practices and case studies. Don’t hesitate to include experienced partners, benefit from their knowledge and exchange with them – don’t try to re-invent the wheel.
Focus on what makes a difference:
Today, digitization can still be your USP and an advantage on the market. Tomorrow, if you don’t have a strategic plan in place to manage the digitization of your venue, you will have to invest even more to keep up with competition, and to meet market standards. Not reacting to digital change might results in losing business.
Today we have the possibility to manage all relevant data in one central place and make it accessible to every department within the organization. This can change everything in your venue business. The Digital Age puts us into the lucky position of achieving valuable time savings with the help of IT.
Digitization creates new ways of customer service. I would even go as far as saying your business will undergo a heavy decline within the next 10 years if you ignore this area. It is not only about the service you provide today – think about the changing service expectations of new generations, for example self-service portals. An example: I was stunned to see my 3-year-old boy being able to use an iPad to swipe through photos, completely intuitively! Just think about his expectations and his idea of customer service once he is 20 years old and starting his job as an event planner.
Digitization offers a lot of different ways to improve staff happiness and increase staff retention. It’s all about time savings: Streamlining processes often results in significant time gains so staff may feel more relaxed about their job, experience less stress and thus perform better. As internal communication improves, the teams can cooperate efficiently which may prevent misunderstandings and mistakes. Venues that have different systems in place (CRM, accounting & finance, etc.), will quickly notice the great benefit of one system requiring less administrative work and IT maintenance than multiple systems.
Financials & Reporting
Digitization can also be very beneficial for operational and financial transparency. This is not only about Sales Dashboards, or Dashboards as a MIS (Management-Information-System) for Executives. This is about how you manage your day to day activities. As an employee who is on site and using a mobile, as a department head or as a member of the board. One source, one truth, real time. Having seen this in excellence, it requires a well thought-through process and a definition of the right KPIs.
In part 2 of this blog series, Silke Hoersch will write about the ideal event management platform, covering the operational side of event management to further illustrate how digitization can increase your venue efficiency with streamlined processes.
Did you attend the Facility Operations Summit? Would you like to add your ideas to this topic? Feel free to leave a comment below!