What you learn at School

The VMS and LI delivers an immersive experience that covers all the topics that a professional venue managers needs to know.
Out of sight and one of the departments that works the longest hours, BOH operations present many challenges to the modern venue manager. A well run BOH substantially contributes to customer/client satisfaction and ultimately a positive financial result and repeat business. It is essential all venue managers have a working knowledge of this vital area and are cognisant of the risks and the opportunities that exist from the loading dock to the public areas.
Booking and scheduling is a critical aspect of venue management. Achieving the right mix of events can significantly increase venue profitability. This session ensures students are aware of the many variables which have a bearing on event mix in different venue types and the role the booking scheduler plays in attempting to secure the ideal range of events. It covers terminology in this area and current examples to maximise yield.

The purpose of this session is to gain a greater understanding of the key elements of the characteristics of a fully functioning team and how to go about building one. An enhanced understanding of these elements enables students to create a significant impact within team environments.

Managers at all levels in the organisational hierarchy are responsible for researching and evaluating data and providing well written, objective reports so operational and strategic decisions can be made. This session takes students through a common approach that enables them to prepare and present a report in a well-structured, concise writing style so the conclusions or recommendations are clearly understood.
Catering in the venue industry is a fundamental for both customer experience and a significant income stream for the venue. This session is fully interactive relying on student experiences to demonstrate the application of catering principles and demonstrate current catering practices in student venues.
The purpose of this session is to gain a greater understanding of the sales process in relation to planning for and securing sponsorship. Understanding the key objectives of sponsors, the benefits provided in return, as well as clear steps to follow when securing sponsorship allows participants to approach the procurement process in a strategic way.
All venue managers are involved in preparing, negotiating and managing contracts and contract disputes with a broad range of third parties, including hirers, promoters, service providers, contractors, sponsors, ticketing companies, etc. Most venue managers have little or no formal training in the legal concepts underpinning contracts and often adopt a “bush lawyer” approach to contracts. Moreover, it is unrealistic to expect managers to constantly refer all contract issues to internal or external lawyers and it is a necessary part of their skillset to manage contracts to some degree. This session is designed to arm venue managers with the skills to understand basic contractual principles and manage contracts with some degree of confidence.

Customer relations is a broad term used to describe customer service and the general interactions between an organisation and the people or businesses it deals with as part of day to day operations. Venues have many customers with varying needs and expectations.  The range of customers and how we interact with them has a significant impact on the success of our venues. In this session, students workshop the needs and expectations of their customers, identify customer pain points within their venue and identify specific strategies for reducing or eliminating pain points as well as identifying some simple customer relations strategies relevant to their organisation.

This session takes theoretical human resources models and applies them to the students’ ‘real’ experiences. Topics workshopped include culture, values and commitments, recruitment and selection, training, development and performance management, industrial relations, managing generations X & Y and work/life balance.
There is no template for the perfect event plan; in fact, it will vary considerably from one event to the next, taking into account the size and nature of the event and venue. The extent of planning for an Olympic Games will take years, while the planning of a film shoot for an advertisement may take days. A systematic approach to event management is essential. The need to be accountable to various stakeholders, legislation, rules and regulations affecting events and the financial impacts of a poor event are some of the reasons that make it mandatory to carefully plan events. The purpose of this session is for students to understand event planning methodologies. A practical activity will require students to work through an event planning task in groups.
Venue managers require a sound knowledge and understanding of financial management as it is fundamental to running a successful business. It is the process by which the financial performance is controlled and guided. This session examines the issues of financial management and its importance to the venue management industry.
This session provides students with insights on how marketing applies to the day-to-day operations of a venue. With the marketing planning process used as a framework, the session touches on how marketing permeates all aspects of a business. It provide insights into building and maintaining a consistent brand and it covers some of the latest marketing techniques and channels to engage customers.
Project management and tendering are both integral and substantial components of the venue and event management industries. This session is designed to give participants a broad overview of the critical components of project management and tendering. Although the overview of these areas is by no reason meant to be all inclusive, it gives a guide for future project management efforts.
It is the responsibility of every venue manager to provide a safe and secure environment for patrons, performers, staff and contractors. The aim of this session is to introduce appropriate measures of safety and security deemed essential to the event and venue environment.
Whilst it is easy to become pre-occupied with the primary task at hand in the sales and marketing events at venues, it is vital all opportunities are taken advantage of to maximise the bottom line financial result of the organisation. For many venues, a primary area of income is derived from purchases made by patrons whilst attending events and in some case beforehand. As well as the obvious income to be derived from food and beverages, the sale (and hire) of ‘merchandise’ can make a strong contribution to annual results.  The aim of this session is for students to analyse the various aspects of successfully engaging in the sale or hire of merchandise products.
Risk management is good management. There are risks in every job in every business and every venue. They can be risks to the health, safety and security of staff and public, or threats to achieving business objectives. They can be business continuity related or event risk related. This session looks at some of the basic concepts of risk management as outlined under the Australian Standard AS/NZS ISO31000:2009 Risk Management Principles and Guidelines.
Technology is the backbone of any modern venue and reliable and well-structured information is the lifeblood of a successful venue manager. Modern managers are expected to have sound systems knowledge, develop Information Strategies (IT) appropriate to their organisation and lead teams in the specification, selection and implementation of new information systems and technology.  Using a case study, this session will take students through the steps of determining an IT strategy and the approach to specifying, selecting and developing an implementation plan for a new information system.
The box office and ticketing operation of a venue is not only a major source of revenue but is also subject to legislation and codes of conduct, therefore, it is imperative it is managed in a professional manner. The aim of this session is to introduce the functions related to ticketing events at venues and the relevance of the ticketing function across all aspects of the organization including operations, sales and marketing, finance, information systems and customer service.
Excellence in management of public venue assets is more important than ever in difficult economic times and in an increasingly competitive environment. This session provides an understanding of how competent asset management fits with a venue business plan and assists the venue manager in understanding obligations to landlords, government bodies and other stakeholders.
The purpose of this session is to provide a broad overview of the importance and key elements of event procurement and business development. Events are the lifeblood of the venue management industry and the course examines ways in which venue operators can protect existing business levels and further grow the event activity essential to the financial success of our venues. There is focus on ensuring venues are as multi-purpose as possible and an emphasis on the creation of new events by way of risk taking via in-house and co-promotions. The session also examines methods to create new and maximise existing revenue streams.
Following on from Risk Management Year 1, students have a basic overview of the principles of this discipline. This session builds on these principles focusing on the interrelated disciplines of business continuity and crisis management, event risk management, enterprise-wide risk management and more.
Corporate Social Responsibility is a moving feast and with changes coming at us daily, it is often hard to know where exactly to position your business. The purpose of this session is to help you stay ahead of the game. There are some exciting initiatives at play in venues and green field spaces across the country and during this session, we will closely examine some of these new ideas. We will discuss the three pillars of corporate sustainability while also addressing many of the environmental issues that surround us every day!
Many public venues are owned and/or operated by Government organisations, or organisations reporting to a Board of Directors. This course is structured to give participants an insight, understanding and some helpful hints for dealing with Boards and Government organisations. Many venues are influenced daily by decisions, reactions and political influences of elected officials or corporate Board members. Using real examples and case studies, this course is designed to enable participants to further understand the dynamics of these organisations and how to operate effectively within them.
In our digital world, marketing and marketing measurement are merging. The digital activities marketers encourage consumers to engage in also spawn a torrent of data that can become metrics of brand success. However, few venues have a comprehensive digital data insights strategy which means we are under-leveraging the largest online research panel in the world – digital humanity. This session discusses the need to create a digital data insights strategy, challenges facing digital marketers today, the keys to digital marketing success and various methods used to build social communities.
Construction is a complex and difficult operation with potential risks at every turn. Albeit, there is great personal and professional satisfaction in being part of a major venue building program. If carefully planned and executed, there is no reason why the process of programming, design, construction, occupancy and maintaining a new or remodeled facility cannot be effective and efficient so facility planners can enjoy the journey and take pride in knowing they have been part of creating history that will be around for many years to come. The aim of this session is for students to identify and understand each of the phases in planning and designing public assembly facilities.
The public assembly venue industry has been awakened from complacency with the reality of terrorist acts that have now left their mark on public places and transportation sources with mass crowds in attendance within these places. More importantly, it is not just the extraordinary acts of terror that emergency preparedness should be planned around, rather, emergencies in general that can adversely impact life, property and event activity. Responsibility to minimise injury, damage, disruption, inconvenience, discomfort, liability, and of course, fatality, cannot be underestimated. From prior first-hand experiences in crisis management, this session has been developed to help those attending to realise they must think in advance and be well prepared to act more, as opposed to reacting so much, in true emergency and crisis situations.
Venues are more than just a place for an event to be held. Fans are coming for the experience, to be excited, included, and be part of something. Venues need to provide a complete customer service experience across every single touch point. Leveraging on a total experience in itself could become a distinctive competitive edge and advantage that may influence the buying behaviour of fans and create opportunities to attract and grow the business. It is not just about the event anymore, this session will look at a range of enhanced entertainment experiences both inside and outside of the venue, that will provide that competitive edge.
The key to conducting good and sound business comes from the foundation stone manufactured via the business planning process, a process whereby the unified resources of an organisation (both internal and external) are mustered together to format a roadmap by which the organisation can track down and monitor their progress together along the way. Throughout this session, students discuss the numerous elements that underpin the strategy for good business planning and gain insight on how these elements play a part in their everyday lives.
This session aims to provide an understanding of the current industrial relations system, how organisational processes can assist with minimising industrial relations conflict and unfair dismissal claims and other legislative considerations in the employment relationship.
It can be said traditional concepts of leadership no longer work. It may follow that transformation of an organisation may be inevitable to successfully compete and/or meet, and especially exceed, the expectations of its customers. Competition and customer demands dictate new innovative ways to operate and serve. Quality and depth of management are critical to an organisation’s effectiveness. Leaders and followers alike must share responsibility. A leader’s objective should be to build a team who feel as much responsibility for the company’s success as the leader. New leadership must have the courage to commit to a system that will be more open and more demanding on the leader as well as the followers. This session helps students realise the major challenges management must deal with regularly to assure more effective performance by the organization and better experiences for the customers.
Managing change entails thoughtful planning and sensitive implementation, and above all, consultation with and involvement of the people affected by the change. The aim of this session is to look at some modern-day principles and backed up by examples which underpin successful change.
Media relations is an essential course component for any venue manager. The ongoing challenge to be ‘seen’, ‘heard’ and ‘understood’ requires diligence and ongoing strategic planning. The success of any venue or organisation doesn’t only depend on just how well it does what it does; it also depends on how well this is communicated. Media relations is about putting some control measures into a venue’s communication plan to ensure a positive message is conveyed by the media about the organisation, venue or event. In this session, students learn about the media landscape and the specific requirements that relate to the venue/sports management industry. The session includes a mock media conference to enable students to apply skills in dealing with the media.
Negotiation is an everyday occurrence in the venue industry. Whether it be a high-level deal to secure event activity in a particular venue, negotiating contracted services to the venue, or just low-level discussion/negotiation between members of management and staff. This session is designed to cover a range of skills that can be used in any negotiation.
The purpose of this session is to gain a greater understanding of the key elements of communication and presentation skills. Understanding these basic elements will allow participants to prepare a presentation and deliver it with confidence in their workplace.
At its essence, a town hall meeting is exactly what it sounds like – members of a community coming together to discuss issues of common concern. The VMA’s town hall meetings are open to all students and they encourage participation from the audience. The session facilitators typically present and discuss the latest trends, issues and challenges which may impact specific venue sectors or discuss an emerging issue of concern.
These three concurrent sessions are specifically aimed at discussing the big issues in the very diverse venue sectors. Led and facilitated by venue sector experts, these concurrent sessions are a must for venue professionals who want to participate.
Students learn to identify the four basic behavioural styles, gain deeper insights into their own core style and learn how it differs from others. Students gain insights into how to apply the information learned to better lead projects and develop their team.
Additional teachings include:
– Learning to adapt individual leadership behavior styles to any
given situation utilising DiSC profiling
– Understanding how to effectively respond to all dimensions of
– Understanding and applying the concept of situational
– Leading teams or groups to work together more effectively

Being a problem solver is a mindset, driving a leader to bring out the best and to shape their world in a positive way. Problem solving or “opportunity thinking” allows the leader to take control of challenges, so the problem doesn’t take control of the leader.
Additional teachings include:
– Understanding how the problem-solving process works and how to use it to solve everyday business challenges
– How and when to apply creative problem-solving techniques to generate original solutions
– How to encourage open debate that promotes better decision making and successful implementation

“The best leader is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and the self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt
In this session, the links between the engagement of talent, motivation, empowerment of our people and the human elements associated with the delivery of outstanding customer service are explored to determine how to lead teams to the end goal.
Additional teachings include:
– How to be an “Employer of choice” and identify common leadership qualities
– How individual’s strengths can inspire and motivate others
– Effective methods for identifying and attracting talent
– The most effective engagement techniques
– Empowerment of people – understanding what it really means
– Management and staff expectations in a changing world
– The links between great people and great service delivery
Someone once said, “Failing to plan, is planning to fail”. Throughout this interactive and open session, students network and discuss the numerous elements that underpin the strategy for good business and life planning and gain insight on how these elements play a part in their everyday lives.
Additional teachings include:
– Strategic planning versus long-term planning
– Strategic positioning and building a brand
– Maximising strengths, reducing weaknesses and maintaining a competitive advantage
Good leaders must have the skills to continuously negotiate; great leaders are great negotiators. This session increases students’ skillset to diagnose problems to make effective decisions and in turn, influence and motivate others. Students actively participate in real venue negotiations.
Additional teachings include:
– Principles of effective negotiation
– Positive negotiation is always better than position bargaining
– Understanding that win-win is the best outcome
– Knowing when to say “no”
– Discovering how the negotiation process can be used to develop and improve relationships
“66% of changes initiated fail to achieve their desired business outcomes.” – 2006 study by Harvard Business Review
This session examines core change concepts and how to use them through practical case studies and discussion.
Additional teaching include:
– Understanding what it means to be a change leader and the attributes required to affect change including courage and inspiration
– Creating the team: ensuring team members understand the vision and culture and are adaptable to change
– Identifying systems and solutions, not just issues
– Understanding how to lead the charge and survive the change
– Understanding how to entwine the change into the culture
This session is a natural conclusion to The Leadership Institute as it essentially brings together the previous sessions to examine what it takes to be a good leader, what the key leadership traits are, and what specific skills and traits the student needs to develop or enhance to be a highly-effective leader.


Zan Lewarn | Education Manager | Venue Management Association

education@vma.org.au | 1300 001 862

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