Venuelife is a cloud based management application for conference and camp venues. A strategic investment in design has delivered unprecedented breadth, capability and ease of use. It is an “all-of-venue” application, with a class leading booking engine at the core and a suite of optional modules extending the feature set.
Venues are living, breathing organisms, characterised by activity, movement and lots of people. They are comprised of many parts, and every part needs to communicate with every other, particularly when there are last minute changes.
While most venue management packages focus on bookings, Venuelife goes much further. The core application is a very powerful and flexible booking engine, with features including a calendar tailored to venue operations, robust HR and financial tools, conflict checking and WH&S incident reporting.
The optional modules all raise the current benchmarks in catering, activity programming, event registrations and site management; and it’s all natively integrated into the one platform.
The people who actually use Venuelife spend many hours in front of their screens every day, so we have invested heavily in design, to create an application that is both highly functional and easy to use.
The original prototype was 7 years in development, at a very large venue near Sydney. It was designed to handle a vast array of complex tasks, and then refined to manage even more challenging exceptions and real-world conditions. When the decision was made to publish, it was re-engineered from the ground up, leveraging the latest technology and UI design protocols. This allowed us to take the practical learnings of 7 years and translate them into a modern user experience that is intuitive, fast and practical.
The modules in Venuelife are far more than simple plug-ins; they each have rich feature sets normally found only in stand-alone applications.
In many cases the software doesn’t even exist for this market, so these modules provide capabilities that venues are crying out for. The Activities module provides sophisticated activity programming and comprehensive rostering, which includes instructor assessment tracking.
The Events Portal module enables online registration and payments; both notoriously difficult. Site management (housekeeping and maintenance) and Catering round out the current suite of modules, providing new capabilities tailored to the venue market; all tightly integrated into the one application.
Management software for venues has historically been very expensive, and prices remain high even though the cost of delivery has dropped radically, making it unaffordable for many small and medium venues. By investing in a UI design that is easy to learn and use, we have slashed support costs.
A suite of other design decisions, along with a very low legacy burden has dropped our core operating costs even further. This has made it possible to offer Venuelife at a price that is at least half of what most venues would pay our competition. In addition to affordability, Venuelife helps smaller venues raise their business game with best practice workflow models, operational disciplines and WH&S compliance management.
“Life” is an integral part of the branding, and it’s carried through to every part of the project. Venues are living organisms, with their own character and spirit.
Venuelife is designed to work flexibly, in harmony with existing workflows, to form an integral part of the day to day. We’ve used a “spring” colour palette throughout, reflecting the “tree-change” character of many venues, and the graphic in the logo embodies the tagline “everything is connected”.
Because one of the business partners is a functioning venue, we are answerable at every stage to the individuals who have to use this as part of their work, so this software has been designed for real people, living and working in real venues.
Without effective control, the complexities and dynamics of venue management can quickly lead to inefficiencies and large amounts of wastage, in terms of resource usage, catering and staff time.
By providing an integrated management package that covers all departments, we offer a system that intrisically optimises resources, decreases errors and allows people to focus on their core responsibilities instead of crisis management. This impact is amplified by the fact that more venues are able to afford this software, improving efficiency (and staff morale) across a larger base.
For this software project, we have invested over 50% more time into design than we have into programming, and even the programming time includes a huge amount of information architecture and system design; intrinsically tied to the broader design principles.
With 7 years of prototype development, and a new wave of mature internet technologies and UI design protocols, we took the opportunity to make a big leap forward, carrying as little legacy as possible. We have re-imagined venue management, creating software that offers far more capability for much less cost, and helping venues of all sizes to lift performance, reduce wastage, improve morale and just make venue life better, every day.