Venue management

Madame Tussauds and the Showdome head of events Michael Aldridge believes venues must listen to clients and guests to remain innovative

Visiting Gordon Ramsay's new restaurant Maze recently, and having seen Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares on television, brought home to me just how important it is for the creative events industry to listen to its customers. That is if we truly want to make the most of our opportunities and succeed in maintaining a continuous flow of business throughout the year. And this, as we all know, can be tricky, as there will always be two or three months when the only thing happening is Christmas parties.

Although it may seem obvious, listening to clients and guests really is the key to ensuring the longevity of any venue. Ramsay practises what he preaches at Maze and the result is an elevating experience. This is something that we have learned to employ at Madame Tussauds and the Showdome. We now make a point of asking our clients if their needs have been met and find out if they have any requests we can accommodate into the fabric of the venues. For the past three years we have been incorporating a range of new facilities in response to these comments, which makes our jobs easier and the events even more impressive.

Examples of the changes we have made include plasma screens in each area for corporate branding, effect lighting in situ, non-standard hire tables and chairs on site, state of the art audio-visual equipment plus hostesses to guide guests around the venues. With this taken care of, the base of any event is already in place and event organisers can get on with making their parties beautiful creations.

It also gives the venue time to source new suppliers and products to ensure that it remains a desirable space. Chelsea Football Club is another venue that seems to have followed this mantra. You can hold any type of event there, from a creative party to a wedding, and the club has most of the essential suppliers on site.

It's all about making life as uncomplicated as possible, listening to clients and constantly evolving product fashions and concepts. If venues genuinely want to be major players in the corporate market they should take a leaf out of Ramsay's book.

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