Yesterday was Katie Shorts last day with us. Katie was our Events Manager and she is moving on to work for the big kahuna down on the lakefront. Katie will certainly be missed and we wish her well. We are also confident that our in-house team of Whitney and Bethany will carry on what Katie has left in place. What follows is a recap of Katie’s year in 2012, in Katie’s own words (written at first for our annual report), and provides a glimpse at what Whitney and Bethany are getting themselves into.
This year I’m not going to bore you with the number of rentals at the museums for 2012. Rather, I am taking a look back on the year as a rollercoaster ride, so strap in and visit the highs and lows with me…
January got off to a very rough start with a pipe bursting in the Villa basement and soaking the phone/internet junction boxes, completely destroying them. My office is located at the Villa, so I had to camp out at the Allis where we improvised with a system of message taking corresponding with renters via email. Everything has been replaced and it was back to business as usual within a few weeks.
February and March are always slow with events, but it was filled with a whirlwind of phone calls, emails, appointments, and meetings in regards to rentals for the busy season.
April was a race against the clock with the reconstruction of the Terrace at the Villa and our first wedding to take place outdoors on said Terrace. It was completed just in time. Many renters noticed the improvements and were delighted with the results.
May faced a challenge with the Villa’s neighbor as the 2012 Wisconsin Breast Cancer Show House needing to tent Ivanhoe and Terrace for their kick-off gala hosting hundreds of people. There were many discussions and logistics to figure out how our wedding parties and guests of the museum would be able to access the Villa. With constant and thorough communication, there were no problems and all involved seem happy with the outcome.
June was very full of activity as one of the most popular months for private events and museum programming. We extended our public hours to be open at the same time as the 2012 Wisconsin Breast Cancer Show House. The attendance was lower than hoped for, but still worth the exposure to visitors of the WBCSH.
July was excellent. Several brides had emailed me shortly after their weddings to express their thanks for the staff’s service. These messages are always passed on to the appropriate staff members. The event staff’s attention to detail, care, and overall customer service is so important.
August was faced with the challenge of the Milwaukee Air Show during the second weekend (it never falls on the same date or weekend). This event takes place right in our backyard and creates traffic congestion, limited parking, and a lot of noise. With plenty of notice, we were able to alert our renters that weekend so that all timing and logistics could be figured out well in advance.
September had a media theme for the rental department. I met with the writers of the blog Married in Milwaukee. They wrote and posted these articles on their blog: http://www.marriedinmilwaukee.com/villa-terrace-wedding and http://www.marriedinmilwaukee.com/charles-allis-weddings
The second media happening was a styled photo shoot put together by photographer Jenna Leigh. This was a fun day, despite the rain and you can see the outcome here: http://photosbyjennaleigh.com/blog/villa-terrace-styled-wedding-shoot/ And also a video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lkxovbah9vE
October was officially the last month in our busy rental season. With the absence of our larger summer Event Staff, we were a little short-handed so I stepped in and worked the first 3 Saturdays. It reminded me of how much our Event Supervisors do. They are the face of the museums and the glue that holds these events together.
November is officially the start of the slow season, but was anything but slow. We had events every single weekend and a lot of people in the buildings during the week. There were a few repeat events from customers who host annual events. I consider repeat private rentals to be a great gauge for how we are doing. If they come back, then we must be doing something right!
December: We rolled out our new wedding brochure! It’s so lovely and I am proud to present it to brides and grooms.
If you know any newly engaged couples, corporate meeting planners, photo shoot scouts, tour groups and anyone else needing a space to host an event, send them my way!