Palmerston North City Council

Palmerston North City Council upgrades to cloud technology leading to optimised event management across all its venues including Palmerston North Convention Centre and Arena Manawatū

 Introduction

Palmerston North City Council in the North Island runs and manages a huge and diverse range of event spaces that encompasses Palmerston North Convention Centre, Arena Manawatū and a large group of community centres across the city.

The Palmerston North Convention Centre is New Zealand’s first purpose built Conference facility, with sophisticated audio-visual communications and information technology which helps organisers produce professional events such as conferences, tradeshows, exhibitions, weddings and dinner functions with support for between 6 and 600 guests.

Set within an 18 hectare site, Arena Manawatū has the reputation of being both the busiest and the most versatile events and activities complex in New Zealand. Handling around 3,000 individual event/venue bookings annually, it has 36 different sporting codes being conducted regularly as well as a diverse range of events from trade shows through to multiple outdoor and indoor leisure uses Including football, futsal, tennis, volleyball, badminton and netball. The FMG stadium is the feature winter sports ground in the Central Districts of the North Island and is home to the Manawatū Rugby Football Union. In the summer months the stadium is used predominantly for International Speedway. Supplementing the oval are three first class playing fields and a corporate lounge boasting 360 degree views of the ranges and Central North Island Mountains.

Key Challenge – Centralising venue management and moving technology into 21st century

Manager of Venues for Palmerston North, David Walsh who has worked in the events business for over 42 years explains why the Council decided to review how they managed their venues and events, “We wanted to bring the management of our extensive collection of venues at different sites under one umbrella. Our two principal venues Arena Manawatū and the Convention Centre are only 2kms away from each other but were using different methods of managing events. The Convention Centre was still reliant on a pencil and diary system and the Arena was using the Events Perfect (EP) software which was coming to end of life. We therefore felt it made sense to have all spaces managed by the same system, and technology-wise bring all our venue spaces into the 21st century.”

“The team has adapted very, very well to the new technology and everyone finds Priava much easier and quicker to use, you can see all information about an event at-a-glance”

Palmerston North

David Walsh

Manager of Venues

Palmerston North

The Solution – Secure, dynamic, cloud-based technology that “would enable us to do more”

David continues, “We reviewed a number of systems on the market and finally narrowed it down to three options. We went with Priava because we were already familiar and happy with EP and could see that the attributes of a cloud-based system would enable us to do more. We could see that it would be quicker and more efficient, more dynamic and would reduce training levels.  The fact that we would also be able to integrate with other systems such as finance was also important. It was critical that our auditors felt that it was secure and our IT department assured them of that. The transition to the new solution went smoothly and Priava took care of migrating over all our data from our last financial year. The majority of the installation was done remotely and via the phone and the level of training was minimal” The Council has 10 users altogether with half having full access to the system.

The Results – Fast reporting for strategic Council planning, analysis of booking trends and substantial time-savings

Although as David Walsh acknowledges Palmerston North is still in its infancy in its use of Priava, after just three months they are seeing some significant improvements.  David comments, “Not only do we have a vast number of spaces and facilities, we also have a large volume of bookings for each space. For example for Table Tennis we may have three different sessions daily and then at the other end of the scale we have more comprehensive and detailed annual events such as ‘The Home Show’, or ‘The Super 15 Tournament’, all of which can require extensive planning and logistics. Of course, for the Convention Centre we have seen the greatest improvement in efficiencies by moving from a manual to an automated system. The team has adapted very, very well to the new technology and everyone finds Priava much easier and quicker to use, you can see all information about an event at-a-glance, whether it’s for the catering or any specific equipment that’s necessary.  On the whole, Priava is introducing substantial time-savings for the team.”

Summary

The benefits that the North Palmerston City Council has achieved through the use of the Priava cloud-based venue management solution so far include:

  • Save time creating reports e.g. ‘top hirers’, ‘confirmed bookings’, ‘year to year comparisons’
  • Intelligence supports future planning and budgeting for Council
  • Ease of use improves efficiency and reduces level of training
  • Supports remote and flexible working
  • Encourages proactive follow up of opportunities
  • Clear visibility of individual requirements ensures events run smoothly
  • Facilitates up-sell opportunities e.g. tea and coffee on arrival
  • Compliance with auditor’s requirements – security of data
  • Identify usage to promote use of facilities by underprivileged members of the community

Final comment from David Walsh, “Priava gives us all the information we need to plan ahead”

After 43 years in the Venue industry this was one of David’s final projects; the Priava team wish you all the best in your retirement David.

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