In the week of April 6, the winners of the National Meeting Award (the independent award for the best meeting and event location in the Netherlands) were announced. Two of our partner locations won prizes in the “Large” category! The Carlton President Hotel (# 2) and Paushuize (# 3), both located in Utrecht, were successful in quality, hospitality and entrepreneurship. In connection with the tightened corona measures the presentation of course took place in a private online meeting.
ACS took the opportunity and spoke with Heirloom, responsible for the implementation of meetings in Paushuize, about how we, as an audiovisual supplier, best combine our technology with their monumental space.
The employees responsible for marketing within both organisations, Jurrien and Elize, were each given the opportunity to ask a number of questions to the other.
Jurrien van de Wiel (Marketing & Communications, ACS)
The jury of the National Meeting Award said the following about Paushuize Utrecht:
“A monumental building with lots of daylight. The location has classic and high-end style furnished rooms, offers a lot of diversity and has been beautifully restored. The contact is warm and customer-friendly.”
Elize: Paushuize is a 16th-century city palace, built for the only pope the Netherlands ever had. The building has 16 spaces, spread over four floors. Each floor has a different appearance, so there is always a space that is suitable for the meeting. Paushuize is located in the heart of the historic centre of Utrecht, with a view of the Dom Tower. Since the renovation in 2011, Paushuize has been one of the most sustainable monuments in the Netherlands. Our product and service is of the highest level at all our locations. Personal attention and customisation are the keywords, we want to ensure that every guest feels at home.
2. Jurrien: What role does AV play in that story?
Elize: A form of AV support is required for almost all meetings, be it an extensive presentation with image and sound at a large conference, or background music at a dinner. We would like to relieve our guests of this bother; we like to think along with them, regarding their wishes and how to best implement them.
3. Jurrien: What is the importance of good AV for your customers?
Elize: A meeting consists of many different aspects that determine its success. The location, service and personal care are very important for this. But that can all be undone if the sound is not right, the presentation falters or the screen is not clearly visible. Good AV is an absolute precondition for a successful meeting.
4. Jurrien: Your umbrella organisation Heirloom has a total of three locations; all monumental buildings, where we also work a lot in the Geertekerk. Are there things that an audiovisual supplier should pay extra attention to in a monumental building?
Elize: For Paushuize (but also for the Geertekerk and Huize Molenaar, our other locations), only very limited equipment can be integrated in the rooms, as this would greatly disturb the monumental appearance. This means that we make extensive use of mobile setups. We always look at how the space can be used optimally and how we can do this best. This is often a challenge because a monument is more vulnerable than contemporary locations. For example, you cannot lay rails for a camera on a wooden, monumental floor.
5. Jurrien: How do you think ACS handles this?
Elize: Our permanent contact person of your organisation, Jaap, is always on the same wavelength with us, is honest about the possibilities and looks at alternatives. The ACS employees who work in our properties are always careful and ensure that our guests feel well supported during their meeting.
Elize Aal (Marketing & Event Planner, heirloom)
1. Elize: What is the biggest challenge for ACS according to a monumental building?
Jurrien: Monumental buildings are often in special locations. As an AV supplier, this brings additional challenges when it comes to, for example, loading and unloading equipment and noise standards. Technology in monumental spaces therefore always requires customisation. Think of power outlets that are different, rigging points that are missing, so everything has to be airborne with truss, as cables running across the floor cannot be taped.
2. Elize: How do you prepare for an event in a monumental building? Is that different from an assignment in a new building or warehouse?
Jurrien: Basically no different from normal. It is important that we know in advance which preconditions we must take into account, so that we can give extra instructions to our staff prior to the event. Especially when it comes to caution that is required at the location concerned.
3. Elize: What is the most rememberable production that you have provided in a monumental building?
Jurrien: Our production for an international investment company in the Gashouder, Amsterdam last year really stands out in that aspect. It was also the biggest production ever in terms of turnover for our National Branches. Showcase>
4. Elize: What tips do you give our and other meeting locations for the future?
Jurrien: Keep innovating, keep training your staff in the field of AV. The only way that you as location can give the customer the best advice is if you are aware what is available in the market. Make use of the free sales and operations training that ACS has to offer to its partners.
We advise you to stick to your core values as much as possible. It is no coincidence that the jury has awarded you third place in the category of large meeting and event locations.
5. Elize: What will your work look like in 5 years? (what’s the biggest difference from now?)
Jurrien: ACS expects developments in online services to accelerate due to the corona crisis. Although live events will never disappear completely, digital solutions will be used more and more widely in five years’ time. This means that by that time we will increasingly advise and facilitate our customers in a different way. And that of course has an effect on all departments within the organisation, from investment to marketing.
In this uncertain period, we know one thing for sure: we hope to work with Heirloom and its various locations for a long time to come. Our wish is to increasingly introduce and facilitate customers at its locations in the future. And this award will only make it easier for us. Congratulations again, also to the other winners and nominees!