The venues business is a complicated one. No two venues work the same way. What’s more, each must serve a multitude of purposes. One day a room might be needed for a corporate function, with video conferencing needs, broadband and wi-fi connections, flipcharts and a screen. The next day the same room might be used for a wedding reception, with all the catering needs that such an event entails.
Flexibility is the name of the game, together with strong organisation, a clear and well organised diary – and staff who know how to juggle all the aspects in a clear-headed way without taking their eyes off the many balls that need to be kept in the air at one time.
Luckily, much of that work is handled today by technology, and the system that so many venue operators turn to is Rendezvous Events conference management software from NFS.
Designed with commercial and unique venues in mind, Rendezvous is fully integrated event scheduling software for conference management, meeting management, catering and resources.
To see how it is put into practice, listen to Alexandra McIlquham-Jones. She is Conference and Events Manager for Cardiff City Hall and Cardiff Castle, where Rendezvous went live in March, effectively cutting administration by two-thirds.
“With Rendezvous, there is less need for paperwork and no more duplication of information,” says Alexandra. “Once we take a booking, all the information we need from a client is stored for future use. Before Rendezvous we were constantly asking clients for more details throughout the booking process. Now there is less onus on customers to supply information. Everything we need is stored in the Rendezvous database.”
“This is a business in which it pays to be proactive, and with Rendezvous behind us, our staff are freed up to spend less time on paperwork and more time with customers.”
Cardiff Castle and Cardiff City Hall are places steeped in history. The castle is one of Wales’ leading heritage attractions, dating back 2,000 years to Roman times. City Hall is a magnificent Edwardian building standing in one of the world’s finest civic centres.
Many of the Castle’s stunning rooms are available for private functions, ranging from weddings, corporate presentations and gala dinners to smaller meetings. City Hall houses elegant rooms of all sizes to meet any conference, event or function requirement from large-scale events to smaller rooms for more intimate gatherings and syndicate sessions. The spacious Assembly Room can host conferences for 600 delegates, often for several days at a time, and the elegant Marble Hall is perfect for presentations and receptions.
And behind the scenes, ancient meets modern as NFS’ Rendezvous suite of software runs the venue needs for both sites. It works for both external customers and internal staff and automatically differentiates between the needs of each.
“With so much going on across the two venues, what pleases me most about Rendezvous is the way its activities aspect allows us to keep our diary clean and clear,” says Alexandra. “We can take a booking and then forget about it. The software does all the thinking and remembering for us, prompting us into action at exactly the right time. It keeps us on top of the whole customer management scenario.”
“Rendezvous enables us to convert enquires into business, prompting us when we need to move forward on any project. It prevents us from double-booking rooms, and keeps us on top of all booking and enquiries. Efficiency like this becomes a revenue generator in itself.”
Equally impressive for Alexandra is the support she received from the NFS helpdesk when the system was installed and which she continues to get when needed. “I really appreciate the way they give technical advice in simple, non-technical terms,” she says.
“To be honest, I can’t remember what it was like before we had Rendezvous. I don’t know how we ever managed without it.“