An enterprise-grade venue & event management solution
Greater flexibility, operational efficiencies and future proofing for busy hospitality & events team. Impressive venues & services for the many different communities across the Borough.

Introduction

With a potential capacity of up to 100 events per week and operating 362 days per year, the events team for the London Borough of Ealing manages almost 3,000 events a year on average and growing. All are hosted by the Council in a total of 14 halls and meeting rooms across two locations in the Borough including the historic Town Hall, a spectacular Grade II listed Victorian building from 1887 and still serving the local community over 125 years later.
The team’s portfolio provides a diverse range of facilities for 10 to 500 guests, including a beautiful hall seating 450 people theatre style, with an impressive stage for live performance. With the Registry Office on-site at the Town Hall, the team provides an attractive one stop shop for civil ceremonies, weddings, and receptions in addition to dinners, conferences, meetings, training days, and private parties. There is even a fully equipped dance studio.
London Borough of Ealing

Easy and rapid migration to the Cloud

The Priava Cloud venue and event management solution now provides the busy hospitality and events team at the London Borough of Ealing with greater flexibility and adaptability. In combination with its genuine ease of use and first class support from Priava’s experts, Hospitality & Events Manager, Jane Coughlan, says that, as they approach their first anniversary of the system, “We are witnessing improved customer service and value for money. At the same time, the team is finding more opportunities to optimise the management of its business for the benefit of the community as a whole.” Bookings by phone or email are now managed by the team of 8 event managers, coordinators and assistants all using Priava Cloud. In addition, access is provided to the Town Hall’s receptionist and porters as required. The entire team take their duties providing important services to the community extremely seriously and customer service is at the top of their list of priorities.

Operational benefits and future-proofing

Since 2006, the Borough’s hospitality and events team had been users of the on-premise system, Events Perfect. The team was very familiar with the features and functionality and it had served their demanding and diversified hospitality and events activities well. When Priava announced the launch of its new cloud-based system, however, the concept immediately attracted interest from the team. “We could see the operational benefits of the new system” says Jane “and that it could provide a significant level of future-proofing.” New features and functionality are now introduced as they become available. This is in distinct contrast to the team relying on itscontracted out ICT service provider to schedule updates into its own busy programme, thereby constraining the team’s ability to take advantage of new releases quickly.In addition, of course, upgrades to the team’s original server hardware and operating system software, typically requiring capital expenditure approvals, have become a thing of the past. “Migration was fairly easy” says Jane “and the new system is proving particularly easy to use. This has been especially beneficial for the events team over the past year as we have experienced a number of staff changes. New starters have been able to get going with Priava quickly with little training and so quickly become productive members of the team.” The basics of the system are genuinely intuitive and just a one day training course completes the induction of new users.

Great Service

As an early adopter of Priava Cloud, the team at Ealing experienced excellent customer service and support from the company’s UK-based people. “The team were new to cloud computing and Priava’s experts held our hand throughout the transition process. This was very much appreciated by each and every member of the Ealing team and, in fact, essential since the Council’s contracted out ICT services organisation were no longer involved in the provisioning of the application” says Jane. “Priava’s support team were brilliant and their exceptional customer service has continued with regular updates to the system throughout the past year. We have also been very happy with the communications regarding the release of new features and functionality of the system.” The support team at Priava has always found solutions to any unforeseen problems encountered by Ealing or particular operations required by the Team. “Good support has been vital”, says Jane. “As one of the first users of Priava Cloud in the UK, we experienced some initial teething problems. For instance we had to wait quite a while for some functions to appear in the new system, however the local support people provided us with a work around whenever they could.” In addition to prompt support in person and over the phone, Priava provided online support enabling its experts to login to a test version of Ealing’s system to check new features and functions and any customised facilities before going live.
“We are witnessing improved customer service and value for money. At the same time, the team is finding more opportunities to optimize the management of its business for the benefit of the community as a whole.”

Jane Coughlan

Head of FM Performance & Events London Borough of Ealing
London Borough of Ealing

The Results

Significant benefits, some anticipated and some unexpected.
“Greater flexibility was anticipated and has proved a real benefit in that members of the team can now provide significantly higher levels of cover for each other as staff may work on the system from any location including from home in exactly the same way as they do in the office. These benefits for the team have translated directly into improved levels of service for our clients” says Jane. Jane acknowledges the investment of both the Council and Priava working together to tailor a sophisticated, flexible, and adaptable tool fit for purpose for the long term. “An unforeseen benefit of switching” adds Jane “is that there is now a very clear line of demarcation between the Council’s standard desktop PC and associated communication services and the provision of Priava’s application as a service, making problem resolution far more straightforward and effective.” Availability of the Priava application service is very high with built-in redundancy within the cloud invisible to Ealing’s users.
New time saving features
Doing more with less and providing even better customer service. A new feature that is proving particularly beneficial to Jane’s team is the ability to quickly and easily block book venues for regular hirers. Ealing has over 40 regular clients amongst its local communities, including church groups and dance groups for example. Many book weekly, fortnightly or monthly throughout the year. “Priava’s block booking feature was a long time coming but is now proving extremely popular with team members, saving hours of work when compared with booking each event individually as we previously had to do. A further positive outcome of block booking is a notable reduction in input errors, resulting in less rework and further improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the team” says Jane.
Multi-tasking has improved
David believes that one of the most impressive parts of the system is the reporting feature. Priava’s core system includes a suite of more than 35 report templates that can be tailored by system administrators to determine what information is displayed on reports and how it appears. He explains, “Reporting is definitely more sophisticated than it was in our old system. From what I have experienced, there’s a huge scope of information that we can get out of Priava. We have really benefited from working with the Priava support team to understand what each of the reports are and how we can use them to access key information.”
Flexible Invoicing
Some of Ealing’s rooms are also booked by Council staff or councilors, particularly when they involve the participation of external organizations or members of the public or when larger training facilities are required. “We use flexible invoicing facilities to export internal (cross) charges to the Council’s finance department simply via standard CSV files. The new reporting system is already proving its worth in terms of flexibility. Standard reports are easily customizable and new special purpose built reports have been produced by Priava” says Jane. These are used by the team to identify all charges internal to the Council, including the identification of the correct cost centres, complete with a self-checking process to identify any missing information before it is transferred. For invoicing clients in the community, Priava’s built-in invoicing function is used to enable comprehensive full or part invoicing as required.

Summary

The benefits that Ealing has achieved through the use of the Priava cloud-based venue management software solution so far include:
  • Multi-tasking between duties – can open different tabs/windows simultaneously;
  • Improved customer service and value for money to the public;
  • Future-proofed solutions – new features introduced when available;
  • No ongoing capital investments are required;
  • Support for ‘Repeat Events’ saves hours of work;
  • Better staff cover with support for remote working;
  • Less training required as system is both intuitive and user-friendly;
  • High availability and redundancy of system;
  • Excellent vendor support.

Final comment from Jane

“We now have a highly flexible system that helps the team to optimize our complex business needs, offering value for money for the citizens of the London Borough of Ealing in support of its “One Council” world-class, customer-centric approach.”

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