An enterprise-grade venue & event management solution
Merewether Surfhouse upgrades to Priava Cloud eliminating onsite server reducing dependence on external IT support saving 150 hours in one year.

Introduction

Situated on Merewether Beach within the City of Newcastle in New South Wales, Merewether Surfhouse is a quintessential beachfront venue boasting 270-degree views over the East Coast. Spanning across three levels, Merewether Surfhouse is comprised of a cocktail bar, restaurant, café, pizza shop & a dedicated events space, making it a truly multi-functional and highly sought after venue for all types of events and functions.
Merewether Surfhouse’s column-free event space occupies the entire second level of the venue overlooking Merewether Beach. With capacity for up to 350 guests, the event space caters for a wide range of events including weddings, private bookings and corporate functions – on average the venue hosts approximately 20 events per week. The versatile space can be sectioned off using soundproof mobile walls to cater for more intimate events or to create breakout areas and the extensive private balcony and covered terrace areas allow event planners the flexibility to take advantage of the picturesque location.
Merewether Surfhouse

Key Challenge

Existing venue and events management system was coming to end of life
Merewether Surfhouse

When the announcement was made about Priava’s legacy system Events Perfect coming to end of life, the management team at Merewether Surfhouse were initially reluctant to want to move as the existing system was working well for them and they were unsure about the cloud. Office Manager at Merewether Surfhouse, Megan Baird comments on the initial perceptions about the cloud, “We were a little bit tentative with it at first, not knowing what it was all about and how the information was going to be stored. We wanted to know whether our information was going to be safe, because up until that point we had everything saved on a remote server, which was quite contained. Initially the thought of moving to the cloud was more scary than exciting but when looked into it, we realised that it made a lot more sense for our business. Being able to access the system from anywhere, even at home, and the ability to have lots of different people working from the same system at the same time was far more suited to our needs.”

Once the decision to move to the cloud was made, the management team looked into a number of different cloud-based providers and in the end it was decided that Priava was the best fit for their business, not only because of the functionality but also because of their existing relationship with the team. Megan explains, “The advantage of going with Priava was that they already had our information and understood what we needed from a venue management solution. Being able to transfer some of the information that we had in Events Perfect across to Priava was much easier than it would have been if we were starting from scratch with an alternative provider. Furthermore, being able to speak to people that understood our business was a big advantage.”

“You can open multiple screens, so that you can work on more than one thing at the same time.”

Megan Baird

Senior Manager
Merewether Surfhouse

Merewether Surfhouse

The Results

Reduced dependence on IT resources, greater mobility, minimal training, greater efficiencies and intelligent reporting
Why cloud? – Eliminating need for a server and IT support
During the implementation process and in the early stages of adoption, it was evident that Priava would provide a lot of benefits from a user perspective, however, the management team could not predict the impact that a cloud-based system would have on their dependence on both internal and external IT resources. General Manager, Marc Allardice explains, “Having Priava has negated the need for the specific events server. This has saved over 150 man hours of tech support in the last financial year.”
Accessible anytime, anywhere – Encourages team collaboration and allows management team to provide support remotely
According to Megan, one of the biggest challenges with the previous system was that it prevented the team from working together because only one person could access the system at any one time. Using Priava, the team are able to work collaboratively which in turn results in a better experience for their customers. She explains, “If a customer calls wanting to discuss details or make changes to their event, pretty much anyone can answer their questions even if the specific event coordinator is unavailable because all of the information is easily accessible. Plus we have the ability to add more information, like notes so that all of our interactions with the client are logged which prevents anything from being missed. Ultimately this makes it a lot better for the client, because they are not having to wait on an event coordinator to help with their query.” In her role as a senior manager, Megan also appreciates the flexibility of being able to access the system away from her office as it allows her the freedom to provide remote support to her team when necessary. Megan says, “If needs be, I can access the system at anytime without having to rely on a remote desktop connection. Instead, I can just log directly into Priava using my own administrator account and see exactly what the team are working on. So if anyone needs support when I am at home or away from my desk, then I can make changes on the fly.”
Easier to train new staff
The management team at Merewether Surfhouse agree that one of the major benefits of Priava is the fact that it is so easy to use, which in turn has meant that it is also easy to train new staff. Marc concurs, “Priava is a user friendly system which has enabled new staff to easily transition into the team and confidently use the system without a lot of training.” This is reflected in the fact that only one person – Megan – was ever trained on how to use the system during the implementation stage and she then relayed everything she had learned back to the team. Megan comments, “It was only ever me that received any training and then I was able to show everyone else how to use it and they picked it up straight away because it was so easy. You only have to look at it and you know what you need to do.” When asked why she felt that the system was so easy to learn and train new users, Megan explains, “With Priava I can just talk someone through the system without even looking at it because it all flows, following a step-by-step pattern which works together to create the whole event. So I only need to show someone how to do something once and then they can follow the system.” She continues, “It even looks like it should from a user perspective and you can customise colours and text to represent different things which makes it not only very easy to understand and use, but also relevant for your business.”
Greater efficiency
Not only was the system easy to learn, once they were up and running, Priava enabled the events team to work more efficiently. Aside from the ability to work across multiple tabs, Megan believes that the Chart is central to their day-to-day operations as it enables them to access up-to-date information about their availability. Megan explains, “The Chart gives a great snapshot of everything that’s happening – it’s right in front of you.If you hover over an event on the chart you can see exactly what it’s about so that you can quickly access the information that you need.” She continues, “Using the Chart allows us to see holes or gaps in our availability which is really helpful for our team when they are trying to respond to questions over the phone, because you can quickly see what is available and what’s not at a glance.” As an administrator, Megan is responsible for configuring all catalogue items in Priava for their team to use. Megan believes on of the most significant benefits of the system is that using the Packages module she is able to build set packages and distribute the revenue correctly across multiple items so that it will automatically calculate for her team. She gives an example, “In our wedding packages everything is included; room hire, AV, food, drinks, chair covers and other items. So I built a wedding package in the admin section of Priava, so that when a member of the team is selling a wedding they simply enter in the number of guests and then the system automatically calculates the rest for them. This means that the revenue for all of the items included in the package is assigned correctly for them so there’s no manual calculation which eliminates the possibility or error.” Megan continues, “This is the same for all of the items that we sell in Priava – like catering. Everything is built in the backend, so when someone adds one main meal to an event booking, then all of the information and prices are there and can be printed on a contract or an event sheet for a client to select from.”
Easy to produce business intelligence reports
Priava’s sophisticated report designer has allowed Merewether Surfhouse the flexibility to create meaningful reports that demonstrate how their business is tracking. Marc explains, “Using Priava we can produce detailed reports that have been very helpful in organizing budgets, targets and other financial aspects of the business.” Megan agrees that Priava’s reporting feature has had a significant impact on the business. She explains, “Just being able to manipulate the existing report templates and pull out the numbers that we want has saved us massive amount of time and gives us more insight into our business. Plus, we can tailor our own reports to display any information we need. From how many events we have booked, to how many events have been booked by a particular company, to how many confirmed bookings we have managed to convert from enquiries, the reporting capabilities are endless.” Merewether Surfhouse have also used the reporting feature to customise templates such booking contracts, invoices, event sheets and other critical documents including key information such as their terms and conditions, which has helped to streamline their event booking processes. Megan believes that this has improved consistency and eliminated discrepancies in the sales and event coordination process. She explains, “Everything is the same, everything is streamlined, every client gets the same information and nothing is missed.“

Summary

The benefits that Merewether Surfhouse has achieved through the use of the Priava cloud-based venue management solution so far include:
  • Reduced investment in IT capital equipment and cost-savings through diminished dependence on IT support
  • Centralised system encourages team collaboration
  • Mobility – Staff can access system away from their desk
  • Intuitive system that is easy to use and train new staff
  • Greater efficiencies and time saved
  • Real-time availability enables staff to identify opportunities for increased venue occupancy
  • Customisable system allows administrators to build catalogue items and packages to ensure all revenue is allocated correctly
  • Easy to create meaningful reports for senior management team
  • Streamlined booking processes by creating templates for contracts, quotations, invoices and more

Final comment from Megan

“They have always understood where I’m coming from and what I am trying to achieve. When I need help with something specific like creating invoice an template, it has always been done quickly and the team are always open to considering suggestions for future developments.”

Favourite Feature

Aside from all of the functionality in the system, Megan believes that the most impressive feature of the system is the fact that it updates in real-time. She explains, “One thing that we didn’t fully understand until we were up and running was the fact that the system would update instantly. So when something is updated or changed by a particular user, everyone can see it straight away. We were told that this was going to happen during the demonstration and our trial, but we when we actually started using the system we were still so surprised that it was so instantaneous – you don’t even need to log out and log back in which is what we were used to doing with the Events Perfect program. It seems simple, but it makes a big difference.”

Get in touch if you’d like to learn more about how you can introduce live availability and instant bookings at your venue using Priava.

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