The Secret Keeper

by Brandon Boyd, Communications Coordinator

I’ve never been one for keeping secrets.

I do try really, really hard. When people tell me things, I like to be a trusted confidant. If it’s serious and personal, I make sure to keep it on lock-down.

But when it’s something fun that other people might be interested in — yikes!

It’s my dilemma every time I receive word of a new show coming in. When I’m in a meeting and hear the buzz about Chris Stapleton choosing to come to Erie, or when rumored names discuss whether they can make Erie work in their schedule or not, I instantly want to go to everyone in Erie and say “HEY, GUESS WHAT!”

Top secret grunge retro isolated stampMy job doesn’t allow for that, though. While it is my job to promote events and provide a great experience for you at them, I can only talk about them when I’m allowed to. Show promoters typically have announce dates and a whole schedule on when the public can first learn of a show, when tickets go on sale, etc.

So it’s often me sitting on a secret like it’s attached to an airbag just waiting to go off. And when it finally goes public, BOOM! It’s all across our social media, on local radio stations, television, etc.

I chose this topic because, once again, I’m holding a secret that will be announced this Tuesday. There’s definitely a large crowd of people who will like this upcoming announcement! Stay tuned!

Tips and Secrets for Event Planning

by Danielle Steffan, Event Coordinator

There are many steps that go into a planning an event. I am sharing some tips and secrets to make your event as successful as it can be!

Develop Goals for the Event: It is important to establish realistic goals for the event. This should be one of the first things you do! Examples include: What is the goal of your event?  How many attendees would you like to have? Why are you organizing the event? What are your expectations of the event? Setting goals for the event will help to keep on track with the planning process.

Plan Ahead– Planning an event involves people, outsourcing, tasks and coordination. It takes a decent amount of time to get all of these items organized. It is really important to use your time management skills to keep on track.  Waiting until the last minute will only cause stress, and some details may be missed.

Event Planning Checklist! Creating a checklist will provide a step-by-step guide to keep details in order.  This way no details are missed (big or small) and you can double check your work. The checklist helps to keep yourself organized and will help to execute the event.  I believe it is one of the most important things you can do when you are planning an event.

Communicate with your Coordinator:  Always update your coordinator on any changes or updates that are happening with the event. This would include a change in number of attendees, special dietary requests, event start/end time, the list goes on! Keeping good communication will make the event more successful!

Expect the unexpected: We all expect our events to run perfect, and most of the time, they do! It always helps to expect that something may happen or come up that wasn’t planned or out of your control, such as weather conditions.

Have fun! – Make sure to have throughout the planning process! Whether you are planning a wedding, birthday party, fundraiser or corporate event, enjoy the process! Planning can be stressful, but if you have a positive outlook from the beginning, the event is sure to be more enjoyable and successful

 

These are just a few tips that I have found to be very helpful while planning!

Host Your Event on the Anchor Plaza!

by Erica Krystek, Event Coordinator

Anchor Plaza 3The Anchor Plaza is a fabulous outdoor space available to host your special event. Located between the Courtyard and the Bayfront Convention Center on the second floor. It is accessible from all three properties (Bayfront Convention Center, Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel and Courtyard Erie Bayfront Hotel) by a covered walkway, so guests essentially don’t have to go outside.

Whether it be an intimate wedding ceremony and reception, cocktail party, family gathering, bridal or baby shower, or even a corporate celebration, this space can be transformed for any occasion! It is 20,000 square feet of rooftop space that is protected with a large tent so you can keep your guests under cover while still enjoying an outdoor experience! There are many options for setup as well as food and beverage service provided by the Bayfront staff. Depending on the specific event requirements, the capacity varies from a 150 guest wedding reception to a 400 person cocktail party. Smaller gatherings less than 50 guests can booked through the sales manager at the Courtyard Hotel.anchor-plaza outside

Due to the Erie weather pattern, the Anchor Plaza is available to rent during the months of May through October. We encourage you to give us a call at the Bayfront Convention Center to schedule a tour of this unique space and plan your next event!

Let’s Talk About Groupon

by Ann Noble, Box Office Manager

rs_1024x759-180328103024-1024-grouponLooking to score a deal on tickets? Groupon might be the place to look.

It is becoming more common to have shows offer a discount through Groupon. Here’s how it works:

The show promoter or presenter strikes up a deal with Groupon to offer a discount on tickets for their show.  The show promoter dictates how many seats will be made available to Groupon and where the seats will be located.

They may not always be the best seats in the house, but the discount is usually generous enough to make you forget all about that!

Groupon sends out the offer and sells the show off of their  website.  The consumer receives a voucher to redeem at the box office for their tickets.  In the “fine print” section of the voucher  are the instructions on where and when the voucher can be redeemed.  This “fine print” is actually quite large and is located on the right hand side of the voucher. Vouchers can be printed and turned in at the box office, or can be redeemed right off of your smartphone.

It is important to keep in mind that these tickets were not sold by the box office in case there are any issues. You want to make sure that you have selected the correct performance if there are more than one.  If you did select an incorrect date you would contact Groupon to make the change. Often the box office does not receive the list of purchasers until the day before the event.  Also be sure to list the name of the person who will be redeeming the voucher, as we are required to ask for ID along with the voucher.

Inside Knowledge on Our Events

by Dawn Betza, Marketing Coordinator

First, I want to start off by saying thank you….thank you to each & every one of you for supporting our events over the years. Without you, our shows would not be successful. And 2018 proved no different! We had nearly 800,000 patrons attend our events at the Erie Insurance Arena, Warner Theatre, Bayfront Convention Center & UPMC Park.  National touring artists such as Brad Paisley, Impractical Jokers, Jerry Seinfeld, TobyMac, Gov’t Mule, Stomp, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, REO Speedwagon, and Disney On Ice Frozen were just a few of the shows that thrilled fans of all ages.

We are in the business of entertainment & entertainment brings happiness. It diverts people’s attention from their demanding lives and provides a way to break away from everyday humdrum activity. It aids in the health & well-being of us all. For almost 18 years, I’ve been fortunate enough to work in an environment that brings smiles to people’s faces!

There are times, though, that those smiles are turned upside down. While we do our best to make your experience a memorable one, there are certain things that we can’t control. Many factors are dictated by the show promoter, tour management or the artist. The following will help explain some of our policies & procedures.

GENRE OF SHOWS

We do not buy talent, ever. We rent our venues to show promoters who bring the acts to Erie. We frequently get suggestions from patrons who would like to see more rock, hip hop, oldies, etc…..so would we! But unfortunately, we have no say in the types of shows that perform in our buildings.

TICKET PRICES

Erie Events does not set ticket prices, the promoter does. Several factors determine a promoter’s decision on prices – artist fee, cost of venue, cost of security, ushers, box office, advertising, stage crew, sound, lights, etc. The promoter takes all the risk, so prices are carefully figured out.

DISCOUNTS  

This is another area that we don’t control. The promoter makes the decision to offer a discount, Groupon, etc.

DOORS

Doors typically open 60 to 90 minutes prior to the start of the event. If doors are delayed, the show is not ready. We must wait for show approval before we can allow the public to enter the building.

MEET & GREET PASSES

Erie Events does not issue meet and greet passes to events. Backstage access is strictly limited and is arranged by tour management.

CAMERAS

The camera policy is set by show management. If an usher taps you on the back & tells you to stop taking photos, please do not grumble at him/her. We must follow show rules.

CONTESTS

If you’ve won tickets through a giveaway on the Erie Events Facebook page, please be patient with us. They won’t be ready for pickup until we get approval from the show to print them….this could take a few days or a few weeks.

BROADWAY

Broadway shows typically require a seating hold that could last as long as 30 minutes. Even if the doors are open, we are not permitted to seat patrons until the stage is clear of both performers & crew.

BOX OFFICE

To avoid issues with counterfeit, stolen, or invalid tickets, tickets should only be purchased from www.erieevents.com or the Erie Insurance Arena box office at 809 French Street. M-F 10am-5pm, Sat 10am-2pm

You Want to Work Here: Here’s Why

by Danielle Weaver, HR Coordinator

5 Reasons why Erie Events is a great place to work!

  1. The Culture:

 Erie Events has a very team-oriented culture. We believe in our employee’s happiness and it is a top priority. Happy employees certainly make for happier customers. Whether you’re planning an event at the Bayfront Convention Center, in line for snacks at the Erie Insurance Arena, or needing help finding your seat at the Warner Theatre, you’re going to interact with a staff member who is attentive and happy to assist you.

  1. Employee Development:

We are big on promoting from within. Erie Events takes pride in developing our staff. We strive every day to make our staff successful. We’ve had part-timers become full-timers, and had members of our full-time staff get promoted. We value hard work, and we’re big on recognizing you when you’re doing an outstanding job.

  1. Team work and collaboration:

Whether you’re at the Warner Theatre, Erie Insurance Arena, UPMC Park, or the Bayfront Convention Center, we serve thousands of customers in the community yearly. The most amazing thing to is seeing all different levels of staff come together with such high energy the day of the event. We go above and beyond work as a team to make your experience the most enjoyable as possible! While it may seem like a seamless event when you attend, there are many people that have a hand in making it all possible.

  1. We are a family:

Erie Events employs over 800 employees which includes 53 full-time employees. You really get to know your co-workers well as you work alongside them to make each event special for our patrons. We make sure to laugh together and bond through helping others get the absolute best.

  1. Health and Insurance Benefits:

Erie Events provides a well thought out comprehensive benefit package. We strive to make out of pocket medical, dental and vision expenses for employees very reasonable. We provide additional benefits to make our employees feel whole. Some examples include: Prescription Reimbursement, Employee Assistance Program, Flexible Spending Account, and Short-Term Disability, Long Term Disability, and Life Insurance.

 

For a full listing of our open jobs, please visit https://www.erieevents.com/employment-opportunities/

Expos Offer Exceptional Experiences

by Brandon Boyd, Communications Coordinator

It’s Expo season at the Bayfront Convention Center, and it couldn’t be a better time.

I IMG_1784say that not only as an employee, but also as a consumer.

I’ve attended two events in the past two weeks at the Bayfront Convention Center as a visitor, andnot an employee, and enjoyed my time at both.

I first attended the Erie Kennel Club Dog Show. Despite the bad winter weather, my girlfriend and I drove down to the Bayfront Convention Center to check out the Show. Some people are fans of football teams. Others, baseball teams. We’re fans of dogs.

We found ourselves cheering for the dogs as they went by and commenting on just how cute each dog was. We got to meet some of our ‘favorite’ dogs after the event and pet each of them and tell them how good they are. What’s a more enjoyable time than that?

This week, my brother, my dad and I came to the Bayfront Convention Center for the Erie County Automobile Association Auto Show. We looked at all kinds of cars – a 1967 car just like the one my Dad used to own back in the day, cars we wanted to get one day, cars we could never afford, cars with new gadgets and gizmos and gearshifts – but perhaps the most important thing we did was spend time with each other.

I know, I know, cue up the sappy music and start the Hallmark movie. But it was legitimately a nice time to spend with family.

I’m not a huge car guy. I drive a car, obviously, but I’m not a mechanical person. My dad and brother know more than I do, and I was able to ask them any questions I had. But these are the kinds of moments I’ll remember when I look back one day. Whether it’s petting puppies with my girlfriend, hearing my dad talk about how he sold his 1967 Corvette for $1,700 in the 70’s and thinking he got a steal, or getting into the driver’s seat of trucks and sports cars with my brother and commenting on how they felt, they’re all good memories.

Those are the kinds of things offered at our venues. Not just events, but memories.

See you next week at the RV & Motorcycle Expo.

Notice Anything New?

by Martha Stickner, Sales Manager

img_1610Have you been to the Bayfront Landing area lately?  Notice anything different about us?  If you don’t already know, the Bayfront Convention Center facility is now over 10 years old. Even if I tried, I couldn’t begin to tell you how many people, cars, animals and equipment have been through our building!  I would guess millions of footprints walk the property each year!

With that said, new carpet was a must.  In July of 2017, the Ballroom carpet was replaced, and it’s funny how people are still commenting over a year later “Wow, I never knew it got changed!”  You may or may not say the same thing about our lobby, which recently received a carpet makeover, but to us it’s a big deal.  It’s not easy maintaining the wear and tear of such a massive building serving so many people daily!  Just this week, new chairs in the lobby were put into place to match the new carpet look.  We like to keep seating areas available for guests that may need to take a break from a meeting, have a beverage during cocktail hour, or just enjoy the view.   And we’re not done there: the most sought after space we host events at, the Sunset Terrace, has new furniture being reviewed as we speak so that we are ready for the summer season.  We host several outdoor cocktail receptions and our patio furniture is complimentary to use when renting the space.  Keep an eye out for another new upgrade!

It’s hard to not notice the newer connected hotel, Courtyard by Marriott, but did you know there is an indoor walkway to the BCC and then over to the Sheraton?  There are a set of stairs and elevator service that you can take from the 2nd floor of the Courtyard to the Convention Center 1st floor.  New signage has just been created in the walkway to help direct guests getting from one property to another.   Our goal is to make guests experience a breeze, even at 10 years old, and changes and upgrades are happening to keep up with all the activity!

There’s a lot happening on the water, so next time you’re in take an extra look around!

Lessons From An Event Coordinator

by Erica Krystek, Event Coordinator

While there are an abundance of lessons I’ve learned while employed at the Bayfront Convention Center, I’ve found that there are five that stand out in the event coordination world. While these traits are necessary in the work environment, they are also simply great life skills to have. Let’s take a look!

  1. Communication skills. This is essential! Communication is one of the most vital parts of being a successful event coordinator. One of the most effective ways of communication has proven to be picking up the phone and calling the clients directly, instead of text or email. Not only does a phone call add a personal touch, it also gives the customer a sense of ease when they speak to a person instead of a recording. Pay attention to what is being said and (sometimes more importantly) what is not said. Listening and evaluating your client’s needs throughout your planning process will help you stay one step ahead.
  2. Organization. In event planning, success is in the details… and there are so many! Multi-tasking is required for both smooth planning and a flawless execution of any event. Working in events requires the ability to focus on the big picture while keeping track of all the little details. Being highly organized is a must in event development.
  3. Passion. Timg_0010hey say, “It’s not work when you love what you do.” With all the pressure of the job, you have to really embrace every aspect of what you do. Passion helps you overcome bumps in the road and stay composed when things become trying. Things like time management and the proper use of industry jargon can be taught, but you can’t teach passion, and you’ll need it in order to develop true customer relationships and succeed in this business.
  4. Composure. All teams will look to you for answers to just about everything. In moments of stress, the last thing they need is a shaky leader who makes poor decisions (or none at all) because they’re cracking under the pressure. Successful event coordinators stay level-headed and continue to treat everyone with respect, no matter what. Cleaning up messes and putting out fires — quickly, quietly, and efficiently — is part of the job. Stay calm, get it done, and then get back to running the show.
  5. Decisiveness. Event coordinators need to be comfortable in their role and have the ability to make several executive decisions at once, and to make them quickly. More importantly, they need to be able to recognize when it’s too late to change those decisions. When clients are travelling from their home base to the Convention Center, they may not have time to answer their phone or an email about a last-minute question. It is our role to ensure that the requests and expectations have been communicated, and to take responsibility for necessary adjustments.

Reflecting on 35 years at Erie Events

by Patti Wigham, Administrative Assistant

pattiw

Patti waiting for the Hogwarts train! Patti is a big Harry Potter fan.

After working at the Erie Insurance Arena for 35 years, it’s time for me to retire and I would like to take this opportunity to say goodbye and thank you to all the wonderful patrons that I have talked to and assisted on the phones during this time.  It has been a real pleasure for me as the vast majority of these patrons have been courteous; appreciative of the help they’re given and just utterly delightful.

What started out as working a few hours a day for a few days a week as a phone clerk quickly turned into a full time job working forty hours per week as an administrative assistant/receptionist.  I love my job for a number of reasons and I have a lot of fond memories from years gone by.  It’s never the same day twice working at the Erie Insurance Arena and that’s what makes it enjoyable.  My immediate supervisors were flexible when I needed flexibility and the work environment was always pleasant.

I wonder how many people remember what it was like way back when the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus came to town.  The circus animals, including the elephants, would arrive by train.  A procession from the train station to the arena would follow.  People would line up along the parade route to catch a glimpse of these circus animals and the mood was always festive.   Long ago, the circus animals were housed in the “old Sears building” between performances and overnight.

I wonder how many people remember that the “old Sears building” once served as a meeting/exhibit hall.  Who remembers going to one of the Haunted Houses held there years ago?   If you did, I was there selling tickets.  I’m sure there are some people who would even remember going to the Haunted Houses that were hosted at the Warner Theatre with the proceeds benefitting the Warner Theatre restoration.

Many, many years ago, the Warner Theatre hosted a summer film festival featuring old-time movies.  It gave everyone a chance to see these movies on the big screen at very reasonable prices.  Does anyone remember going to any of these films?  I remember that on “Opening Night” of the summer film series, employees would dress up elegantly like the actors and actresses starring in the films and they would arrive in front of the Warner Theatre to walk ‘the red carpet’.  Fans would be assembled to take their pictures and then go inside to watch the film.

Another memorable event was watching the demolition of the “old Sears building” from our office window. This demolition was making way for the construction of the ballpark. We (my coworkers and I) also watched the entire construction of the ballpark from our office.  It was completed in May of 1995.  We attended the grand opening of the ballpark which was quite a great celebration.

Years and years ago, as an administrative assistant, I had a great deal of typing to do and this was before word processors.  I used a typewriter and carbon paper if I needed duplicates.  When typing purchase orders, there were three pages – one was white, one was yellow and one was pink.  I was lucky enough to have white, yellow and pink Wite Out for my typographical errors.  I was ecstatic when I received my computer.  The typewriter, carbon paper and Wite Out became obsolete.  I also remember that our first copier was called a Xerox machine.  Copies made were often referred to as carbon copies.

I fondly remember coming in to work the day after our first Elton John Concert (April 2000) to find a huge floral arrangement sitting on my desk.  After making a few inquiries, I learned that the show promoter for this concert arranged for me to receive these beautiful flowers that were in Elton John’s dressing room.  I was very touched by this kind gesture.

I remember there were two days during my employment where the mood in the office was extremely somber and not much work was accomplished.  The staff stayed glued to the small television set in the office all day trying to make sense of what was happening. The first disaster was when the Challenger exploded shortly after takeoff on January 28, 1986 with seven people killed.  The staff was heartbroken to hear about this.   They were even more distressed to watch what was occurring in our country on September 11, 2001.   We saw the devastation and destruction.  We learned about the loss of thousands of lives and we heard about the heroes who gave their lives helping others.

For quite some time, I served as swear police for our main office.  I was given a genuine certificate and a shiny badge to substantiate my appointment to this position.  I was in charge of the swear jar and I was very diligent in collecting $1.00 per offense.  Once, when the jar was full, we had enough money to buy dinner for all of us.  After that, the money collected was used to purchase clothing and toys for the homeless children we sponsored each year.

As my last day of work grows nearer, I’m asked more and more frequently what my plans are when I retire.  I’ll have been given the gift of time, which is the time to pursue all my hobbies and interests.  Birdwatching is my first love.  Photography is my second.  Two of my photos have appeared in wildlife calendars and I’ve won numerous ribbons for photos I’ve entered into contests.  I’m going to take some time when I retire to become more familiar with my fairly new camera and zoom lenses.  I need to learn how to use all the special features available to me.

I’m an avid reader of mostly non-fiction and mostly historical biographies.  I’m very interested in World War II, the Underground Railroad, the weather, birds & migration and life within the Arctic Circle.  I thoroughly enjoy coloring in my adult coloring books with my sparkle gel pens.   I’m also a “collector.”  I collect beach pottery and beach glass.  I collect Hallmark ornaments, focusing mainly on “The Beauty of Birds” and “Harry Potter”.   I collect some pop culture and movie dolls.  I have Barbie and Midge, Tris (Divergent/Insurgent), Katniss Everdeen (Hunger Games), Harry Potter dolls and Jacob (Twilight).  I’m a novice “cloud collector” and I’m looking forward to learning more and more about clouds as I go along.

I think I’ll be busier when I retire than when I worked here.  And that’s fine with me.

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