Since opening its doors in 1981, Geelong Performing Arts Centre (GPAC) has become the creative hub not only for the city of Geelong, but also for regional Victoria. Part of a group of state-owned cultural agencies including Victorian Arts Centre, Museum Victoria, National Gallery of Victoria, State Library of Victoria, Australian Centre for Moving Image and Film Victoria; GPAC was designed to benefit artists and audiences alike.
By providing high quality facilities that encourage participation in the performing arts, GPAC is committed to ensuring an exciting and bright future for the arts in Victoria, in order to enrich the cultural fabric of the community.
Spanning across two locations, GPAC is comprised of 2 theatres, a gallery, foyer, Costa Hall, Alcoa Studio, a VIP lounge, rehearsal room and 12 dressing rooms. With capacity for up to 1500 guests, GPAC’s facilities are highly sought after not only for performances, but also for conference and functions – on average, they host approximately 40 events per month. The combination of quirky spaces like the proscenium arch style theatre and a church that has been converted into a hall, matched with state-of-the-art audio-visual facilities, make the venue ultimately versatile and an event planners dream.
Geelong Performing Arts Centre had been using the Priava Software legacy system, Events Perfect, for more than 15 years when the announcement was made that it coming to end of life. While they were initially worried about moving away from their existing performing arts center software which was working effectively, the management team saw this as an opportunity to review alternative providers in order to see what options were available on the market.
Given that they were already using cloud-based applications across other areas of their business, the management team were also excited by the prospect of adopting more cloud-based systems in order to move another aspect of their business online. Customer Services Manager at Geelong Performing Arts Centre, Tina Rettke explains about Priava Software: “Perhaps this decision would have been slightly more scary if we hadn’t used cloud-based applications before and this was our first attempt, however, given that we were already using cloud-based systems for our ticketing and rosters, we knew what to expect.” Tina expounds that the primary factor in their decision making process was the speed of the system, “This was mainly because we had previously implemented another cloud-based system to manage another area of our business and it just wasn’t very quick, so we needed to make sure that any new system that we chose would be fast enough for what we needed.”
In the end it was decided that Priava was the most sensible choice as they had an existing relationship with the Priava team, which would translate into a smooth implementation process. Tina Rettke comments “While we had a brief look into other providers on the market, at the time we made the decision to move to Priava because we already had an existing relationship with their support team and they understand how we work.” Since implementing Priava in January 2016, Tina affirms that the system has delivered the speed that they needed from a cloud-based application, “Since we started using the system, we have been happy with the reliability and speed delivered by Priava. As long as the Internet connection is stable, then you can access the most up-to-date version of the system.”
Customer Services Manager
Geelong Performing Arts Centre
No more manual updates
One of the most immediate benefits experienced by GPAC following the implementation of Priava’s cloud-based system is that all updates are administered remotely. This means that users no longer have to rely on IT departments to install updates on local servers and computers. This not only reduces outages and other issues resulting from delayed or incomplete system updates, but it also saves a substantial amount of time. Tina affirms the impact of this benefit based on her first-hand experience, “I was the person who was responsible for administering all of the system updates so this benefit alone has had a significant impact on me personally as it has saved me hours of time. Furthermore, it has saved time for our users who no longer have to wait for system updates and they do not impact on their ability to access the system during business hours. With Priava, all updates are done outside of business hours, so our users just come into work the next day and get started using the latest version of the Priava – there’s nothing else that needs to be done.”
Accessible anytime, anywhere – even from home
Another benefit that the team at GPAC experienced instantaneously was the increased accessibility of the system compared with that of an on-premise solution. Using Priava, the GPAC team have been afforded the flexibility to work away from their desk – even from home. Tina explains, “I love that being cloud-based, I can access the system from home using my iPad. It just makes things so much easier, because if I need to check something quickly then I can do it away from my desk.”
Intuitive interface is more efficient for users
With such a large volume of events being hosted across multiple venues each month, GPAC require a system that is both intuitive and efficient. Venue Operations Coordinator at GPAC, Angelique Helman, is largely responsible for coordinating all of the events hosted within the venue and has found a number of features within Priava that deliver significant time-saving benefits. Angelique explains, “I really like working with the chart. It is so easy to look at, which means I can quickly check availability, get a snapshot of our upcoming bookings and add new bookings.” Angelique also believes that the actions tab is another great time saving feature. She explains, “The actions tab is very handy because it means I can produce reports or invoices from within the relevant event record.“
Above and beyond all, Angelique loves that she can work across multiple tabs while using the system, “Using Priava I am able to have multiple tabs open, so that I can work on a number of things at the same time which is something our previous system couldn’t do. I find this particularly helpful, because if I am working on one event and need to quickly open another event record – for example if a client calls, or another staff member has a query – then I can simply open another tab without having to close the event that I was already working on. This not only saves time in closing and reopening event records, it also limits the interruptions to my work – I can simply navigate back to the other tab and continue working where I left off.”
Easy-to-train new users
Despite having 15 users licenses, only 4 users participated in the initial training sessions. These same users were then able to share what they had learnt in order to train the rest of the team. Tina comments, “We haven’t required any additional training since the initial implementation. Only four of our users were in attendance at the initial training sessions and we were then able to train the other staff in the venue. For example, our front of house department, our box office department, stage door, cleaners and the technicians have been trained by members of our team and have found Priava very easy to use.”
As part of a subscription to Priava’s Core Software & CRM module, users have access to more than 35 standard report templates which can be used to extract critical information about things like venue occupancy, details about upcoming bookings and outstanding enquiries, and can also be used to produce invoices and booking contracts. Venue Operations Coordinator at GPAC, Angela Blackney, explains the impact that these core reports have had on her ability to access key data, “Using Priava’s report feature, we can get more out of the system than we could with our previous system. It is intuitive and easy-to-use and we can personalise templates with our own logos etc. and create customised filters to restrict any unnecessary data from appearing on reports. Furthermore, we can also create completely tailored reports based on the existing templates.”
Subscription basis means you only pay for what you need
The benefits that GPAC has achieved through the use of Priava’s cloud-based performing arts center software solution so far include:
- All updates are administered remotely by system providers – eliminates wasted time spent installing manual updates on local computers and ensures all users have access to the latest version of the system;
- Accessibility – Staff can access the system anytime, anywhere and have the flexibility to work away from the office when necessary;
- Up-to-date availability at a glance – Interactive venue chart allows users to check availability and add new bookings on the fly;
- Multi-tabs, allows for multi-tasking – Increases efficiency by allowing users to work across multiple records simultaneously;
- Intuitive system reduces need for training – Because the system has been designed following best practice standards, it is simple for users to navigate the system;
- Detailed reports – Users can extract key information that can be linked back to accounting packages using General Ledger codes. Report templates can also be personalised and customised by system administrators;
- Subscription – Flexibility to pick and choose which modules are relevant for your business, prevents paying for software that you don’t need.