Financial pressures are being felt at venues all over Britain, no matter whether they are large or small, indoor or outdoors. To help meet these challenges a new organisation, the UK Venue Managers Association, has been established to provide a forum where potential solutions in a cash-strapped industry can be discussed.
The UKVMA is committed to knowledge sharing based on collective peer support, and information gathering between its members to get the best return, without wasting time and money seeking solutions that others have already found.
Association Director Neil Levett says that the all-encompassing membership criteria are key reasons why the Association is already a success story in the making.
“We have estimated that there are roughly 500 venues in the UK who have a venue manager of the profile that we are seeking to serve and they are all, in general, working alone and in a ‘business vacuum’. What we are aiming for is a shared portal of information so that the purchasing advantages of the biggest organisations can be immediately available at the click of a computer mouse to the smallest venue where the manager is responsible for hosting a wide range of different events throughout the year.
“The range of shared interests extends much further than purchasing, cost-control and the environment. We could be looking at specific educational standards as well as targeted courses, cross-venue collaboration over licensing and legislation, and sharing knowledge of what worked and what didn’t,” he says.
Two of the founding members of the Association are Peter Weymes and Eddie Rutherford. Peter, who is Manager at Sunderland FC’s Stadium of Light, says: “One of the aims of the Association is to establish the same start point for the managers of smaller venues and to provide them with the advantages of managers of larger venues. They will be able to tap into the purchasing benefits of the larger buyer.
“Questions and enquiries can be posted on the website with a prompt sent from the UKVMA administrator to all the members, and I am sure that there will be an abundance of answers and advice offered in response.”
And Eddie, venue manager at Newcastle United’s St James’ Park, added: “Within the confines of this “closed” and member-driven forum we are now able to openly discuss topics of shared interest, such as how to reduce carbon footprints and share experiences, without the influence of commercial organisations who have their own agenda.”
At the heart of the new Association is a dedicated, professionally-designed, attractive and welcoming web site that is password-protected and for members only. This allows an open forum where members can share their views and experiences on an easy to use, interactive Bulletin Board. It is professionally managed and frequently up-dated: with, as one of the first steps, a weekly round-up of new items that affect and involve venue managers in the UK.
“These items of news are aggregated and filtered, diligently researched and from carefully selected data banks – both print and digital – so that we can present to our members news that is specific and relevant to their industry. They do not need to trawl through page after page of data that is, at best, peripheral to their work – it’s provided by us – straight to their inbox right there in front of them,” Neil Levett adds. “Also, as a member-driven Association, as and when we get a steer that certain subjects or elements need covering, we have the capacity and expertise to source that information.
“We want the UKVMA web site to encourage discussion amongst members on issues that affect us all. That could be training and education, and the establishment of standards of service across the venue management industry. Another area of shared concern is licensing and legislation for the myriad of services offered by venues, including opening hours and serving alcohol. We would look to establish localised, cross-venue collaboration to the mutual benefit of the licensing authorities, police forces and the venues. It may also include on-line discussions on such matters as legislative lobbying, consultative services and product testing.”
While commercial interests, such as suppliers to the industry, will not be able to use the web site to enter discussions among members, they will be able to advertise on the site and present profiles – for a modest fee. These fees will be reinvested back to the Association and provide improved service for members.
For further information please contact:
Richard Cox – UKVMA Press Office Tel: 0116 287 5495 Email: Richard@crown-pr.com