With conference and event organisers relying more-and-more on cutting edge technology to enhance delegate experience, we catch up with Deborah Jones, AV/IT Sales Manager, on the changing nature of her role.
Deborah, how long have you worked at the QEII?
I started working at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre approximately 20 years ago but it has gone by in a flash! I began as a Presentation Facilities Manager and progressed to AV/IT Sales Manager (my current position). I really love the face-to-face contact with clients that my current role allows.
How do you feel about the new refurbishments?
The new refurbishment has had an enormous effect on both clients and on the staff. It feels good when repeat clients return to the building and are amazed at the transformation. New clients are equally thrilled, so it's a great start to the customer journey.
We are proud of the new look and this has changed the way we feel about the venue. The new digital signage provides a quality, flexible registration system (high definition) at less than half the price of print. The 'quad-definition' video wall has been enormously successful in advertising our clients' and their partners' presence during their events here.
How has your role changed since you started?
My role and responsibilities have completely changed over the years. Technical revenues have become increasingly important as an additional income stream and my job is to attract clients to the Centre, using AV as an integral part of their hire package.
We provide creative communications for our clients, delivering their message in a professional and concise manner while creating a wow factor.
Ultimately though, we still function as we always did: more like a production company and less like technical 'caretakers' as is the case in many conference centres. It’s why over 70% of our clients come back…
What challenges are you and/or the team faced with most frequently and what is your solution?
The QEII Centre and our clients repeatedly face the same challenges – providing event solutions at reasonable cost and on time. We become part of their team and assist them in the process.
Our competitive advantage in the venue market place is our building infrastructure and the quality and experience of our people. We constantly modernise our infrastructure and I am encouraged to maintain and improve my technical and business qualifications.
We have recently upgraded our bandwidth and our Audio-Visual systems are under constant scrutiny to ensure we have the most up-to-date solutions for our clients. We have recently purchased new high definition cameras with a vision mix, live-stream and record facility, as well as state-of-the-art IPTV.
What do you think going above and beyond entails at QEII?
I think it is a combination of attention to detail, creative thinking and sheer hard work that goes towards making every client feel special, and at the same time producing a highly successful event within their remit. The venue is a home to hundreds of successful shows a year and it would be easy to go through the motions.
By really listening to each client, we can use our experience and knowledge to suggest truly considered solutions; ultimately producing what the client wants and, very often, more than they expected.