Want to work in… venues?
Where on earth would events be without their venues? Nowhere, that’s where. We frequent a range of venues to listen, to eat, to celebrate, to socialise, to experience and to observe. And if you’re like me, you kind of take it for granted that when you arrive at the venue, you and your party will be taken care of and your event will run smoothly. But have you ever wondered what really goes on behind the scenes at a venue? Well, it’s time to find out. The next instalment of our ‘Want to work in…’ series focuses first hand on what it’s like to be an event coordinator in a venue, in this case one of the coolest and happening venues in Sydney: namely Ivy, the Merivale Group’s premier venue.
Bonnie Kelly, previously part of the CoEM family is a virtual authority on the comings and going of Ivy having worked there for a number of years in the role of coordinator for PACHA, that crazy nightclub event held at Ivy every Saturday night. Let’s hear from Bonnie about what it’s really like behind the dancing girls and DJ console…
Please give us a brief description of your role in a venue.
I was the PACHA Coordinator at the Merivale Group. PACHA is an international nightclub that originated in Ibiza and now operates at Ivy every Saturday night. It’s an event that takes over the entire complex. My role included booking and organising VIP Booth bookings.
Is it as glam as it all looks? Why?
Haha, it depends on the day! A lot goes into PACHA so from a guest experience the team tries to make it all as seamless as possible. It’s important for guests to feel feel like they’re VIP’s. Working for Merivale, you definitely do get to experience the glam too. Merivale hosts a lot of internal events for staff such as the Merivale’s annual staff awards. They go all out with red carpets made from fresh long stem roses and the media wall complete with photographers / videographers etc. It’s all VERY glam.
What’s your favourite event that you’ve ever worked on?
PACHA of course!
Has any job ever gone completely disastrously wrong?
Not so wrong that it’s unfixable… but there were a few occasions where I had forgotten to notify the chef of food orders. Then I had to put on the big puppy eyes on to get the food I need in and prepped.
What attributes would you have to work in a venue?
People skills! Every guest is a potential client so you need to have your game face on at all times.
What advice would you give someone trying to crack it in this particular part of the industry?
Network! Word of mouth is the best reference you can get; so keep in touch with anyone you know in industry.
What was the best thing about working in a venue?
Best thing? There is literally always something crazy happening at Merivale. One morning there’s a cocktail class taking place in the back of the office, the next day there’s a brand new Porsche in the lobby for a product launch. But my favourite Merivale events are definitely Melbourne Cup day and March Into Merivale. It’s when you really see what Merivale is capable of and how good they are at what they do.
Any major challenges when working in a venue?
To ensure the guest experience is seamless from beginning to end there is a lot of back end coordination between management, external suppliers, sponsors and stakeholders. Each member is concerned about their brand and their revenue (it’s pretty cut throat) so keeping each party happy and in the loop is probably the hardest part.
What path did you take to get to that particular role?
I studied at College of Event Management, and then I did a few unpaid internships with Fremantle Media which was amazing and such a good experience. I then got a job at the Arthouse Hotel as Reservations Manager taking care of small private events. I then took the job in the group bookings team at Merivale before being promoted to PACHA coordinator. It was a great time in my life and gave me such good experience to then go on to different sectors of the industry.
Bonnie is currently an event manager with one of our favourite industry partners One Fine Collective. Read more about our partnership with One Fine Collective HERE >>