The SEC is home to some of the UK’s largest and most successful exhibitions.
A wee chat with...SEC Event Management
In our blog series “A wee chat with…” the SEC has a quick fire Q&A with an event industry professional to get an insight into their working life and their event, plus getting their views on Glasgow and the venue.
For our latest blog, we spoke with Sandra Lynch, Head of Event Management and Jill Wadge, Team Manager – Event Management Conferences & Exhibitions, to find out what it's like working in a multipurpose venue, which hosts over 200 events annually.
How do you manage the days when there are many events happening at one time?
Sandra: Ultimately, it comes down to communication and collaboration. The nature of our venue means that we can be going from a full-standing Prodigy gig to a political party conference in the same hall, literally overnight. This means exceptionally tight collaboration between all teams – not just the venue team. I mean between our contractors, promoters, partners and all other stakeholders!
What about having very different audiences on site?
Jill: We could have MCM Comic Con and an international life sciences conference in adjacent spaces. One of the most important things is managing client and visitor experience and expectations simultaneously. We’ll manage this from the beginning, so that every client knows exactly what’s going on at the same time at the SEC. That can only be achieved successfully with frequent conversations and forward planning.
Similarly, we know that when it comes down to it, all our clients want the same thing – good visitor experience. Ensuring that excellent wayfinding provisions are in place (using our digital screens) and using various channels to provide great pre, during and post-event information are just some of the things that we do to create the best experience.
How do you create the best working team?
Jill: For every show, we create an “Event Team”. This means that there’s a set group of experts from each department dedicated to each client, from enquiry through to breakdown. It ensures that everyone who is involved in the delivery is involved from the start and we can work on the whole event.
How does this help the client?
Sandra: The team will meet regularly in the run up to an event, so no stone is left unturned when it comes to planning. The team will sometimes include external agencies, too, such as Police Scotland and Glasgow Convention Bureau. This team approach leads to well executed events.
What steps are you taking to ensure your team are experts at what they do?
Sandra: We’re in the process of upskilling the team so every member is trained to NVQ Level 4 in public safety. Safety is at the absolute core of what we do – to run a venue of this scale means we need an exceptionally high standard of safety and security and the event management team need to be skilled in planning these aspects. With so many people coming and going, the more knowledge, the better. Effectively, it means our event managers are running events with the detailed understanding as of qualified safety officers.
What are the main benefits to clients of a multipurpose venue?
Jill: Having multiple events on site at one time creates a fantastic buzz in the venue. We’ll sometimes find that audiences drop into different events, we’ve had conference delegates visit consumer shows running parallel if they have the time. Equally, there can be mutually beneficial co-locations or people visiting a show then staying for a gig in the evening.
The SEC also has a dedicated customer experience team who can help organisers manage their visitor experience whilst on campus. The team will help organisers work on their customer journey from the initial enquiry stage, so everything is covered – from digital signage and queue management to during-event customer care.
Above it all, at the SEC, we’re here for our clients to deliver the best event possible. Whilst there are obvious challenges to having such a large venue, the opportunities for both ourselves and our clients are endless. We’ve space for events to grow year on year and the teams, experience and expertise to help make that happen safely.