Jessica Metcalfe: Understanding the bigger picture

It’s fair to say ops is not just about delivering shell scheme, carpet and registration desks anymore. Supercharged customer service, innovative onsite experiences and networking facilitated by state-of-the-art technology are just some of the new(ish) feathers to our hats.

 

The last five years at i2i Events Group have provided me with a multi-faceted learning environment. This has led to more involvement in different areas of the business than I originally expected; higher levels of collaboration have become the norm meaning the boundaries of my role have been pushed, and in a good way.

 

I’m a firm believer in proactively finding new projects and initiatives to get involved in – even if they are slightly outside your remit and/or comfort zone – jump into the unknown.

 

To be challenged in this way offers more opportunities to learn and also increases your levels of confidence. You’ll be surprised at how much you can take on and tackle whatever is thrown at you. This also puts you in a more powerful position by being a major team player and integral to the events you work on.

 

From three years as operations coordinator on Pure London/CWIEME Berlin to the launch of i2i Assist (the customer service team that supports 10,000 exhibitors across the business), I’ve taken every opportunity that has come my way, even if it has meant a sideways step here and there. This has enriched my skills and experiences and given me a wider understanding of operations/customer service/suppliers and the industry in general.

 

Other ongoing projects during this time included: a year-long project offering a dedicated focus on improving contractor delivery to our customers; a Mystery Shopper venture where the analysis helped prioritise changes within our business; managing onsite sponsorship delivery at Bett and various shadowing projects with other i2i operations teams, onsite staff (floor managers etc.) and suppliers.

 

In March I went back to my roots and became operations manager on Money20/20 Europe – the company’s biggest and most exciting launch. As the team has an entrepreneurial spirit, there is an ‘all hands on deck’ approach which has led to my involvement in marketing campaigns, comms plans and CRM & technology integration.

 

There are so many roles, projects and tasks that are relevant to operations that don’t necessarily fall into our day-to-day roles. Proactively seeking out collaboration with internal teams as well as other parts of the industry is a healthy thing - if we ‘change it up’ we remain agile and able to adapt to various situations and perspectives. It means that still with our ops ‘hat’ firmly on, we can maintain an understanding of the bigger picture.

 

Having said that, of course it’s important to make sure you don’t become a jack-of-all-trades, master of none.

 

It’s crucial to the success of an event for operations teams to fully understand the nature of the beast and the attention to detail that’s involved in top-notch operational delivery.

 

What I’m shouting about is the benefit of increasing the scope of experience relating to operations, and this is of course relevant to all departments; it’s just as important for sales and marketing to understand the logistical delivery of an event. It’s the responsibility of all teams to share best practices, ideas and insights.

 

Surely this collaborative and close working relationship must make for a better end result and all round experience for our customers. The more we can work together, the easier it becomes to reach the shared objective of making sure face-to-face networking remains a crucial part of doing business.

 

Ultimately, having a more holostic understanding of the industry means we can expect more event managers from a non-sales background in the future.

 

Obviously an event must be able to generate revenue but there also has to be importance placed on creating an invaluable experience for event stakeholders and I think candidates with a well-rounded operational background are well placed to achieve this.

 

This article was first published in the December issue of EN. Any comments? Email Annie Byrne

 

Jessica Metcalfe
Posted by Jessica Metcalfe
PopularComments
Twitter Facebook Google+ LinkedIn

Related Stories

AEV publishes Size and Scale Index of Events

The Size and Scale Index of Events (SASiE) has published its latest report analysing the data collected over 2015 from the participating venues and organisers.

QEII adds £100m to economy, finds report

The QEII Centre generated £218m of gross UK expenditure in 2015/16, creating a GVA (Gross Value Added) of £100m, according to a new economic impact study.

Major changes for London Boat Show 2018

British Marine Boat Shows, organiser of the London Boat Show, has unveiled plans for some significant changes to the event for 2018, including two all-new shows within the wider event.

Others on EN

Going all out

Going all out

Lee Moulson, regional head of sales at Cheltenham Racecourse and the South West region of The Jockey Club, says seeing a client’s beaming smile cannot be bettered.
In any event...

In any event...

In his regular column, David Chalmers, Cvent ’s senior marketing director – Europe, speculates on the fate of the large trade show.
Ticking all the boxes

Ticking all the boxes

Paul Edwards, operations director at deckle edge, examines the minefield that is health and safety.

Poken by GES

Most Read Stories

Fit for the 21st century

Fit for the 21st century

Andrew Harrison, ESSA director, says we should always fight to bring talent into the industry and encourage an appetite for success.
I'm a believer

I'm a believer

Sam Cande, group commercial director at Centaur Media, says no secret sales technique can compete with belief in a product.
Lourda Derry: Making the connection

Lourda Derry: Making the connection

Lourda Derry, director of Easyfairs UK addresses the science behind operations and the profile of our audiences.

Latest News

UFI and Explori sign three-year partnership

UFI and Explori sign three-year partnership

UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, has signed a three-year research partnership deal with London based insight specialists, Explori.
Media 10 summer party gives back to the community

Media 10 summer party gives back to the community

On 30 June, local pensioners were invited to a morning of live entertainment and high tea put on by Media10, with a fundraising initiative supporting charity War Child and a rare Spitfire performance.
Major new event campus coming to Newcastle Gateshead

Major new event campus coming to Newcastle Gateshead

A new multi million pound, state-of-the-art entertainment arena, and conference and exhibition centre is set for the North East, as plans by Gateshead Council push forward.

Latest Features

Ripping up the rule book

Ripping up the rule book

Automechanika is a well-known global brand, so what happened when it launched in the UK?
On the road

On the road

Ed Vickery head of drpexhibition, discusses driveable, portable, and innovative exhibitions.
Standing out from the crowd

Standing out from the crowd

EN meets the industry’s stand designers, who are helping change the face of exhibitions around the globe.

Latest Galleries

East of England Arena and Events Centre open day

East of England Arena and Events Centre open day

Following a refurbishment, rebrand and £4.4m investment, the East of England Arena and Events centre opened to event professionals on 21 June to explains developments at the venue and provide an insight into future plans. Guests were also treated to a once in a lifetime experience in various classic cars and more unusual vehicles.
London Dungeon Lates

London Dungeon Lates

The London Dungeons has launched a unique nighttime experience with the theme of the seven deadly sins. The adults only tour includes seven themed food offerings and a range of themed drinks.
This Morning Live

This Morning Live

Tens of thousands of fans descended on the NEC on 18-21 May for This Morning Live, to see talent from ITVs award-winning daytime programme arrive in style.