Auckland Museum has a range of unique venues which are available for corporate hospitality events, product launches, weddings and private events.

The venues include the impressive Grand Foyer, which seats 250 and is the perfect setting for a cocktail party, product launch, banquet, ball or wedding reception; Oceans Gallery, which features a magical sea display; Origins Gallery, which tells the story of continental creation and the beginning of prehistoric life on our planet; the Members Lounge, best suited to after hours small dinners or cocktail parties; and the nostalgic Centennial Street, with replica streets and houses from Auckland’s past.

In January 2007 the Museum dramatically increased its venue capacity with the completion of the three-year Grand Atrium project. This included the purpose-built Events Centre on the roof, which seats 450, the 200-seater Auditorium, and a few smaller function rooms. These new facilities are available during the day as well as in the evenings – adding to the Museum’s revenue potential.

Managing events in such a venue presents unique logistical challenges. Preparing an area like the Grand Foyer, which is open to the public all day, for a fully catered dinner event, takes careful planning and coordination. Timing is everything, and it’s vital for the Museum to be able to capture information and easily report to all concerned.

After looking at several alternatives, Auckland Museum chose the Rendezvous venue management solution from software reseller Savio Solutions.

Auckland Museum’s commercial manager, Scott Ashton, says Rendezvous more than meets the needs of the Museum. “It delivers all we want but is obviously capable of a whole lot more,” he says, referring to the extensive capability of Rendezvous to manage in-house catering, inventory control, marketing and all ancillary requirements for convention-type event centres.

Ashton says the Museum chose Rendezvous because there was no simpler venue management tool on the market, and customised software would be costly. “To have something custom-made was obviously going to be more expensive than buying something off the shelf and tinkering with it a little bit,” he says.

For less than the cost of a custom-built solution, the Museum has implemented a future-proofed system which will grow with its expanding requirements.

The Savio team customised Rendezvous to match the Museum’s existing venue management systems and practices for booking rooms, services and equipment. The software also generates invoices, online quotes and customised contracts for venue bookings, and can integrate with third-party accounting software.

Another possibility Rendezvous offers is the ability to create a graphical layout of room and floor space, ensuring clear understanding between venue and client.

The Museum’s events manager, Lucy O’Mahony, says the software has been simple and easy to use. Savio’s events solutions manager, Claire Webber, notes that the installation was seamless. “We were able to adapt the software to ensure a smooth transition, and Rendezvous slotted in nicely with existing systems and processes used by the Museum’s venue management team,” she says. “Scott and Lucy seemed to find the web-based interface simple to navigate, and learning the software was quick and easy.”

Another influencing factor in the Museum’s decision was Savio’s local support and service. “The other packages we looked at were serviced offshore,” says O’Mahony. “With Savio the support people were actually in NZ when we needed assistance.”

Savio provides 24/7 software support whenever required with a Savio Support Agreement, offering immediate assistance or problem research to keep vital systems running.

The browser-based nature of the software also means Savio’s team can fully customise reports and make enhancements remotely – effectively resolving any challenges while minimising disruption to the client.

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