EXHIBITION NEWS July 2017 - Page 39

COLUMN Special Ops Caroline Lissaman, head of event management at the Ricoh Arena, asks how venues can stand out in a competitive events market Standing out W inning new events is a competitive business, but retaining them shouldn’t be underestimated either. This got me thinking, what are the key attributes venues need to have to be able to thrive in the modern-day events industry? It’s rare that I get time to stop and refl ect on the current state of the events industry, but when I take a step back and look at what the Ricoh Arena has achieved over the past couple of years, the venue feels like a good example to use. In 2016 the venue hosted a record 777 events made up of exhibitions, conferences, meetings and live music and sport, and this year we are set to top that. Equally, 77 per cent of last year’s exhibitors are tracked as returning to the venue the following year. When I look at the reasons behind this, two key yet basic points stick out in my mind: acting upon customer feedback and providing a one-stop shop. Customer feedback was instrumental behind our decision to introduce a full range of services for event organisers in- house. After talking to a number of our regular customers, it became apparent that they were receiving different levels of service from outside contractors. From here, Arena Event Services was born a year ago, and offers everything required to design, organise, install, manage and run an event. In my opinion, this is a game-changer for us as we can check that every event organiser is receiving a consistent service. One of the other great attributes a venue needs is a fl exible space. Last year a couple of shows expressed concern that they were outgrowing the venue. So, to meet increasing demand for exhibition space