Sean Wright Explain Venue Management

Sean Wright came to talk to Dr. Martin’s Principles of PR class recently. He is the Venue Manager at Samford University in Birmingham, AL. His main responsibility is to get events scheduled for the Wright Center and Pete Hanna Center on Samford’s campus.

With a staff of only 4 adults and 60 students, there is a lot to get done. He said that there are over 100 show dates on the calendar for the Wright Center this year. As a Venue Manager, it is his job to make sure that there is as little dead time, or unbooked dates, as possible on the Wright Center’s calendar. In his profession, he relayed to us that the calendar never ends and that clients are already booking dates at least two years in advance.

The key to success is being flexible and being prepared for changing plans. Also, it is a necessity to know the audience and market that you are catering to because without them, there will be a low turnout for the events that you are producing. He told us that one of the biggest changes that he has seen as of late has been using the ticketing system as a marketing tool. With venues being more public than ever and patrons being more demanding that ever, it is vital to stay on top of your game at all times.


Take-aways from Shaun Wright

  • a calendar never ends for a venue, there is no slow season
  • start planning about 18 months ahead of time
  • sometimes shows will drop dates last-minute and you will have to fill them quickly so there are no ‘dark weeks’
  • “If you’re standing still, something’s wrong.”
  • the product remains key-when planning events, you need to know your venue, market and patrons
  • know your social media platforms so you can use them to their full potential for your venue

Take-aways from Sean Wright

Sean Wright, not to be confused with Leslie Stephen Wright (though he may seem to have just as much control over the Wright center), has been at Samford University since 2007.  As the Venue Manger at Samford University, Sean works in a “never ending season” to book speakers, events, concerts, etc. to fill the calendar at Samford. Sean spoke to our Principles of PR class on March 16th, and provided the class with much insight into the booking seasons, marketing plans, and tips and tricks to working in the venue business.

Here are some specific points which I took away from Sean:

Grant Writing is very important in this business. Grant money continues to be a challenge, and if you want to make your application stand out in this field of work, and do your job well, learning how to grant write is very important.

Sean said, “If you’re standing still, something’s wrong”.  Sean informed us that this may be a stressful job as he always on the go, but from the sounds of it, Sean knows exactly what he’s doing from much experience and knowledge. I learned for instance, that in this business, the product is the key. Specifically in Sean’s case, the venues such as Pete Hannah and The Wright Center are the products.  And, Sean must know the venue well, as well as the market and the patrons.

Finally, it is important to develop the market strategy before you book an event.  The organization of the plan is truly important.  Venues are now more public and patrons are more demanding, so you must be prepared, knowledgeable and always ready.


Sean Wright

Sean Wright, director of venue management for the Wright Center and Pete Hannah Center, spoke in the special topics PR class recently. During his presentation Mr. Wright explained what he does as the director of venue management. He also gave us a few tips.

He explained that in his line of work there are a lot of things that happen on a daily basis. He ran us through one of his recent weekends. During his weekend there was a state basketball tournament and the final game was about to be cancelled and moved into the Pete Hannah Center. Mr. Wright had to check to see if it was open for the next day and handle all the business aspects by himself.

The major tip that he left us with was to always know your venue and audience. If you know your venue and audience you can get a nice projection of the turn out for your event. You can decide who you need to advertise to and how you are going to advetise.

Lessons From Sean Wright

Sean Wright director of venue management for the Wright center and the Pete Hannah center visited the class on Friday March 9. He spoke on his experience in managing the two venues and the difficulties of keeping a hetic schedule. There were three key takeaways from his presentation:

1. You need to know your venue, market, or patrons. This to falls in line with other presenters to the class who have all said research is key to any successful PR campaign.

2. Another useful tip Wright had was having a strong web presence and using the web to create conversations and getting feedback from customers.

3. The last piece of advice to the class was simply a question that no matter what business you’re in is useful. How do you respond to challenges?

Advice from Sean Wright

Sean Wright, director of venue management at Samford University, spoke to Principles of PR on Friday, March 9th. As director of venue management, Wright specifically works on events for the Pete Hanna Center and Leslie S. Wright Center. Wright was a very interesting speaker and shared a lot of valuable advice:

1. “Your product remains the key.” If the event is bad, it will be hard to sell. You must know your audience.

2. “Seek out partnerships.” Event management is easier when you have someone to share the risks with your company.

3. “Brand is important.” It is important to understand how your audience perceives you. The better you understand, the more profitable you are.

Sean Wright Visits Samford PR Class

Sean Wright is the director of venue management for the Wright Center and the Pete Hanna Center at Samford. He came to Samford University in 2007 to help create the Pete Hanna Center.

Wright discussed how busy his schedule is on an everyday basis. The Pete Hanna Center is continually growing and the Wright Center is always in demand as a venue. He has to be able to schedule and create a calendar two years in advance and has to be able to be flexible when things need to change at the last minute.

He gave the class some important tips about his job. He said that the product is still the key, even with all the advances in technology, advertising and marketing. It is important to know your venue, patrons and market. Social media has also become a very important part of any job in communications. Facebook has become a way for patrons to communicate with venues and they can respond to the experience as well. Ticketing systems are used to promote venues now and Twitter is used to create a buzz about upcoming events. Venues have become more public than ever before, and patrons are becoming more demanding with every passing year.