Venues and rights holders have been hit hard by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the last 18 months, with revenue diminished and much uncertainty over when and how fans and income streams can return.

With important decisions made and sticking to tight budgets vital, it’s essential that operations are streamlined and efficient as possible. One company helping venues achieve their objectives is VenuePro, the event and venue management software that counts Wembley Stadium among its partners.

We spoke to Neil Berry, VenuePro’s chief executive, about how his company is assisting venues in enhancing their service for visitors as well as finding efficiencies and reducing costs…

How can technology help venue operators whose budgets have been squeezed as we emerge out of the pandemic?

Neil Berry: Venues and events have clearly been hit hard by the pandemic and many operators are looking at ways in which they can reduce costs and maximise return on investment, without impacting on guest experiences.

The right software solution can be a game-changer for venue and events operators by helping them automate and streamline many of the existing day to day processes and activities that go into operating their venue and making the overall operation more efficient.

Given the focus on spectator flow and wayfinding within venues, how important is it to embrace innovations as fans return?

NB: With the ongoing requirement to maintain as much social distancing as possible it will be important to manage traffic, reduce bottlenecks and minimise the concentration of large crowds in specific areas of a venue.

Technologies like VenuePro allow visitor flows to be monitored in real time so that any potential over-crowding can be identified before it even happens, team members alerted and measures put in place to prevent problems occurring.

Do you have any examples of stadiums that have improved efficiencies and/or reduced costs as fans return?

NB: Wembley Stadium adopted VenuePro technology in 2020 and has been using it for the post lockdown events that have been taking place over the last six months. Before the implementation of VenuePro, a lot of Wembley’s processes still involved manual methods of operation, which

were paper based or required verbal one-to-one communication, making it very labour and resource intensive. VenuePro digitised and automated much of Wembley’s existing methods and manual processes, which meant a reduction in manpower requirements across multiple teams and a significant reduction of time spent on tasks.

As operators focus on efficiencies, what are the key benefits of using tech like VenuePro?

NB: VenuePro is an innovative and highly flexible global technology platform that simplifies the management and operation of venues and helps to deliver world class experiences for visitors. It’s a one-stop shop offering everything a venue needs to manage the operation and is made up of 14 distinct modules, with more in the pipeline, which can be selected to create a tailored solution. This means you can pick and choose the features and functionalities that fit your requirement and only pay for what you need, plus it’s flexible enough to fit in seamlessly with a client’s existing infrastructure.

VenuePro aims to help clients with all aspects of venue and space management and we make operations and events work better, free up time and save our clients money by delivering operational efficiency, productivity and automation.

To what extent has the pandemic created an opportunity for venues to become leaner and more efficient?

NB: Many of the venue operators we have spoken to have used the last 18 months to reassess how they do things and have taken a step back to look at every aspect of their operation so see how they can work in a more efficient and effective manner.  Of course, cost savings is always a key part of the conversation as everyone is trying to work smarter and save money where they can, whilst still ensuring a safe and positive experience for visitors and guests.

From conversations you’re having with operators, what are the main pain points and most important things you’re looking at right now?

NB: It’s been a difficult time for venue operators in managing the ever-changing rules and regulations surrounding social distancing and contactless environments and maintaining elements of this is something that will continue into the future. Also, to balance the books, many venue and event operators have had to make difficult decisions with regards to resources and staffing. As we emerge out of the pandemic and get back to normality, it is certainly worth looking at how technology can take the place of increasing headcount to deliver greater cost savings and profitability into the future.

In a year’s time, what do you think things will look like from the perspective of venue operators?

NB: From the conversations we are having, most venue operators are positive and optimistic about the future.  As normality returns globally and the crowds come back, many operators have been forced to run a more effective and efficient operation to keep costs to a minimum, but all of them are passionate about ensuring visitor experiences continue to advance and improve. The vast majority of operators recognise the importance and benefits of embedding the latest technologies into their day to day operations to not only automate and streamline their internal processes and systems but also improve and enhance the working lives of their team members.

Why should venues contact VenuePro now?

NB: We recognise that venues and events have been hit hard by the pandemic, so we’re working closely with clients to provide flexible solutions that fit with their specific requirements and budgets. We’d be keen to understand their current circumstances and work with them to provide a fully tailored solution that delivers a clear return on investment.

We’re also more than happy to provide a free demo of the VenuePro solution and explain the efficiency and cost saving benefits for venue and event operators.