Happy Friday event and venue management folks!
Seems like Fall is in the air which I know is a busy time for sports event venues… This is also true for us at Stylehawk Events. We’ve had conversations with a bunch of new and different event promoters… professional basketball, powerlifting, boxing, jiu jitsu, bocce ball and even another cannabis event are all looking for great event venues in Southern California.
One of the business concepts I have been wracking my brain with lately is how to manage the perception people have of brokers. Stylehawk is, in essence, a brokerage house. We develop and maintain relationships with amazing sports event venues in San Diego, Orange County and beyond. These relationships are mutually beneficial as they streamline the vetting process (on both sides). There may be a direct financial benefit of working with a broker, but there is definitely an indirect financial benefit. Time is the most valuable resource for any of us and our business model is designed to make sure your limited time is spent in the ways that are most beneficial to your events business. I think there is often a negative perception of brokers because we are considered to be middle men… maybe taking a piece of something that we didn’t create or earn.
At one point, I believed this… but it is wrong. I learned this first- hand in my early career as a mortgage broker. Perception and reality were different and this experience shaped the way I do business today.
Does perception change if we don’t refer to ourselves as brokers, but rather as affiliate marketers? Isn’t this what Amazon is? A resource that consolidates multiple vendors into a centralized location for an improved consumer experience..? Venue sourcing and event operations is difficult work. Our single objective is to make things simpler for our clients.
We are admittedly, still tinkering. I am confident the venue directory and educational materials we are creating is valuable. I also believe that our powerful event services network and venue management expertise leads to better events. With that said, we are definitely interested in learning more about the specific challenges venue operators and event promoters are dealing with.
Let us know any of your specific pain points. We have also created a survey for venue managers to learn more about their third party rental event business to ensure we are providing legitimate benefit to our venue partners… if you haven’t already, please take 5 minutes to participate in the survey.
Now for the reading suggestions…
Earlier this month, University of Utah heptathlete Lauren McCluskey was shot and killed by her ex- boyfriend. This is an incredibly sad story of a young woman who was manipulated by a bad dude. Rather than get into the nitty gritty of this case (much of which is still under investigation), I think it is important for event and venue managers to be reminded of a couple of concepts.
Many of us (specifically those working in public facilities) are mandatory reporters [reference CSU Mandatory Reporter Memo]. That is we “are required to make a report of suspected abuse when [we] have reasonable cause.” The law is written to protect minors. On college campuses, administrators must also comply with the Clery Act and Title IX. The Clery Act is “a consumer protection law that aims to provide transparency around campus crime policy and statistics.” Title IX requires colleges and universities to ‘take immediate and effective steps to end sexual harassment and sexual violence.’… Under both laws, certain individuals have reporting responsibilities when they become aware that sexual violence has occurred.”
In this case, McCluskey apparently did report that her murderer had been harassing her to campus police; so the question the courts will need to decide is if the campus took sufficient action to protect McCluskey. The article also reported that McCluskey’s friends learned that her ex- boyfriend had lied about his identity and was in fact a convicted sex offender. The article doesn’t go this far, but were coaches or athletics administrators aware of the situation and of the harassment? If they were, did they report anything? As mandatory reporters we have a personal responsibility to report (i.e. personally liable).
See Something. Say Something.
This is not a legal requirement per se, and maybe not directly relevant to the situation in Utah but we all need to do our part to be situationally aware. Safety is a collective responsibility and we have a moral and ethical duty to monitor our surroundings and report suspicious behavior. McCluskey was abducted after class. On campus. Might someone have observed her murderer behaving suspiciously? Hard to say in hindsight, but important to think about.
Disneyland is a magical place. Disney tells us this and the collective agrees. There is something different about the Disney experience from other theme parks. That “something different” is a service centered approach that focuses on creating exceptional experiences for their guests at every opportunity. Disney is so in touch with their formula for success, that they have created the Disney Institute to teach other businesses how to implement a Disney- inspired, experiential approach to business. As event venue operators, the tact Disney implements is often directly transferable to our event facilities. I am fortunate to have been through 2 different Disney Institute trainings and think you will find a lot of their teachings in my guest services philosophy. In this article, the Disney Institute highlights a simple lost & found case. A little boy lost his Slinky Dog toy in the park. In most parks or venues, the best case scenario for a lost item is that it has been turned in and that the operations staff has a mechanism for finding and returning the lost item. In this case, the park staff went well beyond that best case scenario. They actually turned it into a unique a memorable experience the family will never forget.
As much as training and culture is critical to creating powerful, experience- centered guest services policy. It is important to make sure the organization hires the right people, capable of delivering on that service promise.
One of the common themes I write about is effectiveness versus efficiency. Event professionals are so time constrained, it is important to spend time and energy on the activities that directly relate to our desired objectives. To a large degree, it is why Stylehawk exists.
In the Streamer posts, I chose to highlight efficiency because it is one of the operational criteria used in my guest services decision matrix. Efficiency is a critical element to effective event planning and venue management. With that being said, before we can prioritize efficiency we need to make sure our actions are effective. In this article. The author identifies two steps to improved effectiveness.
- Sharpen the focus. Make sure “that the goals and objectives are clear, they have been communicated and are understood by everyone.”
- Boost accountability and ownership of the outcomes. “This is achieved by having clear roles and responsibilities, and ensuring that everyone has the tools, skill, and support needed to carry them out.
The author goes on to say that people are not afraid of hard work. Rather, they are afraid of failure. To improve effectiveness then, we need to set our teams up for success.
I believe in transparency. Stylehawk is a very capable event service provider and we bring a lot of value to our relationship with our clients. We are a small business and still very much in startup mode and this is part of our story. I recognized an opportunity during my time as an institutional venue manager and have set about solving those pain points for venue operators and event promoters. We are not an out of the box business model however. There are comparables when looking at wedding venues, hotels or film location managers, but not a lot with the specific focus on sports event venues. This entrepreneurial pursuit is really exciting, but can also be scary. Staying on task, motivated and focused on my personal and business goals rather than retreating to the safety of my known past is a real challenge. This post from my personal blog discusses my lifelong acceptance of “good rather than great” and reviews my propensity to make risk- averse decisions to disguise a fear of failure.
The Walter Pyramid is near and dear to my heart. It is the most important building in my career as it is where I became a venue manager. The Walter Pyramid is really an amazing sports event venue. It is truly iconic to Long Beach and Southern California. The ‘Mid is a tremendous venue for martial arts, jiu jitsu, taekwondo, basketball, volleyball and more. The 17 story open structure, cantilevered bleachers system, 40k square foot floor and immediately identifiable true pyramid structure distinguishes The Pyramid in so many ways.