Guest Experience & Crowd Management Conference / March 14 - 16, 2017 / Dallas, TX

GuestX 2017 Schedule

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The GuestX Program Schedule is subject to change.
All meeting rooms are at the Dallas/Addison Marriott Quorum unless otherwise specified.
2:00pm - 6:00pm
5:00pm - 6:30pm
Session 1: ICE Breaker / Town Hall 1 
Be ready to meet, greet and get to know your fellow conference attendees in an engaging opening night activity to kick off the start of GuestX! 
We’ll then break into groups based on venue type for Town Hall 1.  Come with questions, come with answers, most importantly come to share your experiences to help understand your opportunities better along with helping others find solutions. 
6:30pm - 8:00pm
Opening Night Reception



Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The GuestX Program Schedule is subject to change.
All meeting rooms are at the Dallas/Addison Marriott Quorum unless otherwise specified.
7:30am - 4:00pm
9:00am - 10:00am
Session 2: Featured Speaker: Bryan Lansing, Generational Expert & Keynote Speaker, BridgeWorks, LLC

Four distinct generations are working together shoulder to shoulder, each with a unique set of attitudes, values and work styles. It used to be that older workers were bosses and younger ones took orders. Now, roles are all over the map and rules are being rewritten. Organizations are feeling the pain of genera-tions as they struggle to manage productivity and morale while maintaining high standards of quality and service in a challenging econo-my. Bryan’s GuestX session will give you the tools to convert this form of diversity from an obstacle into an opportunity.
10:30am - 11:30am
Session 3: Your Team Is Ready To S-H-I-N-E

Adonis “Sporty” Jeralds, CFE
, Clinical Instructor, University of South Carolina

Get ready to inspire your team.  Sporty Jeralds, an industry veteran with over 30 years’ experience in sports and entertainment will share his strategies for helping your guest services team SHINE.

His high energy interactive session will help you get the entire venue to embrace the concept of great guest services, re-energize seasoned employees and how to go from “me” to “we.”

His real life stories and engaging style will help you remember why you love this business.  Be ready for a fun filled and engaging session that will motivate you to lead your team to new heights.   You will be entertained and energized!

11:45am - 12:45pm   Lunch
1:00pm - 2:00pm  

Session 4a: Enhancing the Guest Experience Beyond the Event

Paul Turner, CFE CSSP, Senior Director of Event Operations, AT&T Stadium  |  Dallas Cowboys

Paul Turner, Senior Director of Event Operations at AT&T Stadium | Dallas Cowboys, leads a discussion focusing on creating memorable experiences for your guests excluding the event guests pay to see. Each person has a unique Guest Experience that can quickly make them love coming to your venue. How can we ensure our guests are having an unforgettable Guest Experience? Paul will explore concepts and ideas for all types and sizes of audiences, venues and budgets, pre- and post-event to increase attendance and enhance season ticket holder base and turn one-time attendees into life-long guests!

1:00pm - 2:00pm  

Session 4b: Guest Service Training: Comparing In-House vs Third Party

Paul Askin, Director of Security & Public Safety, Securitas Canada – Lansdowne and TD Place Stadium
Bob Potemski, Events Manager,  Carlsen Center, Johnson County Community College
Sarah Tarbett, Senior Manager of Fan Experience, Jacksonville Jaguars, LLC

We all want to provide the best possible training for our front line staff, but how do you make that happen when you are short on time and money?  If you have someone in your organization that is great at putting together trainings, it might be a no-brainer to stay in-house, but what if the training needed is outside of your comfort zone? 

During this session, we will talk with industry peers to discuss the pros and cons of keeping your training in-house or utilizing an outside company and how to make both options work for your organization.

2:15pm - 3:15pm  

Session 5: Alcohol Management and Guest Service

Russell Dyer,
 General Manager, Dallas City Performance Hall;
Jill Pepper, Executive Director, TEAM Coalition
Carolyn Speicher, Director of Guest Services, Schottenstein Center - The Ohio State University 

In today’s society, alcohol plays a huge role in the sport and event industry. While many agree that having a drink while enjoying the event is all part of the fun, as venue managers, we’ve all experienced guests doing something dangerous or harmful at an event due to the influence of alcohol.

During this session, respected professionals from across the country will discuss why it is important for you to understand the liability and risks associated with serving alcohol at a venue. We will learn how to educate staff to recognize signs of impairment, handle guests who appear to be impaired, and how to develop beneficial programs and stadium policies that help ensure all guests are safe.

3:45pm - 4:45pm   Session 6: Town Hall 2

Please join us for your second opportunity to spend some time discussing topics touching on all areas of our industry that are important to YOU! Town Hall 2 will be divide the attendees into discussion groups based on topics.  
5:45pm - 7:30pm   Dine Around on Own

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The GuestX Program Schedule is subject to change.
All meeting rooms are at the Dallas/Addison Marriott Quorum unless otherwise specified.
7:30am - 12:30pm
9:00am - 10:00am
Session 7: Work Life Balance
Erik Waldman, CFE, Senior Director of Logistics & GA Dome Events, Georgia World Congress Center Authority
When we all first had aspirations of working in the venue management industry, we knew the expectations that came with them.  Extra-long work weeks, late nights, early mornings, and several trips to the coffee pot. By nature, we’re engrained to give 110% effort in everything that we do in order to ensure that our venues are the very best in the industry.  Can that much dedication and effort towards our careers be a bad thing?  Do we spend too much time obsessing over events and deadlines that we neglect the important balance of work and personal time? Erik’s session will demonstrate the importance of work/life balance and give attendees the tools to establish their own plans for successful time management.
10:30am - 11:30am
Session 8a: Data Collection + Recognition + Bacon

Brittanie Boyd
, Director of Guest Services, Prudential Center; Scott Lasker, Senior Director of Guest and Event Services, Buffalo Bills

There is no doubt that Service is the NEW bacon… it goes well with everything: security, ticket sales, housekeeping, parking, event staff, and of course guest services. Everything is so much better with good crispy Service. But just how good is your bacon?

With service being a key driver to retention of customers, fulfillment of bottom lines, and other quantitative metrics to our success as entertainment venues, it is important that we develop ways to collect data and measure our service, hold our various teams accountable, and reinforce behaviors that are in alignment with the standards of service set forth by our organization.

10:30am - 11:30am  

Session 8b: Managing Tailgates & Receptions

Meredith Merritt, CMP, Director of Development, IAVM; 
Norman Vossschulte, Director of Fan Experience, Philadelphia Eagles

Tailgates and receptions play a large role in the experience of an event.  They are one of the first activities that guests will associate with their memory of event day. It is critical to ensure a positive experience for all guests by knowing how to work with the city, neighboring businesses, and/or independent lots to help enhance the guest experience while increasing revenue.

In this session, we will discuss how to ensure a safe, clean, and memorable experience that will continue to attract guests to your venue. Discussions will cover the challenges, benefits, and differences between public and venue sponsored tailgates and receptions. Specifically, we will discuss topics ranging from staffing, safety, facility upkeep, sales tactics, and city cooperation. To accommodate the variety of policies, laws, and limitations that different venues face, representatives from various facilities across the country will discuss the struggles they face and how they effectively respond to these issues to manage their tailgates and receptions.

11:45am - 12:45pm   Lunch
12:45pm - 1:45pm
Salons E-F

Session 9: Crowd Management: Deescalating a Guest’s Anger with Words

No matter what type of venue you’re employed at or what type of clientele you’re serving, all your Guests want (and deserve) the same thing: a positive, pleasant experience that allows them to enjoy the event they’re attending. Unfortunately, sometimes things go wrong: a visiting fan riles up the locals with trash talk; a concert-goer decides to sing along with every song the artist performs; the conference center caterer forgets the vegetarian entree for the VIP keynote speaker, or…

Any one of these situations could potentially be enough to send a Guest over the proverbial edge, resulting in a tense, angry situation you’ll need to defuse while keeping everybody involved safe and keeping disruption to a minimum.

In this important, practical session, you’ll learn verbal, non-verbal, and para-verbal techniques that will help you de-escalate an angry Guest under a variety of venue conditions and circumstances. You’ll also learn:

  • How to keep your own cool under difficult circumstances
  • Trigger words to avoid, and effective phrases to handle stressful situations
  • How to keep bystanders from turning on you and joining in the fray
  • How your speech rate, tone, and volume affect the message you’re sending
  • Special techniques to use in loud, crowded, or otherwise challenging environments
  • How to respond when alcohol and/or drugs may be involved
2:00pm - 3:00pm
Salons E-F
Session 10: How Venue Managers Recover and Rebuild After a Tragedy
Benjamin Jones, Singer / Songwriter
Joe Hight, Journalist/Media Expert, Colorado Springs Gazette
Mark Lang, SWAT Member, Dallas Police Department


In today’s complex threat environment, venue managers, front line staff and security personnel must be prepared for a wide array of man-made and natural hazards that can have significant consequences beyond the immediate facility impacts but also long-term venue, personnel and patron effects. This panel will explore some of the preparedness, recovery and resilience tools and considerations venue managers should factor into post-crisis operations, including how venues can work together prior to, during, and post crises to support re-building and business continuity. With insights from an expert panel including mental health, Media Expert, law enforcement professionals and the unique perspective of a professional entertainer.

3:00pm - 3:30pm   Refreshment Break
3:30pm - 4:00pm   Bus Transfer to The Star
4:00pm - 6:00pm
The Star
  Venue Tour
6:00pm - 6:30pm   Bus Transfer Back to Hotel
IAVM is grateful for
the support of our
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