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APAP 2024 Conference Recap: What we learned connecting with Performing Art Centers

The Opendate team recently attended the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) conference in New York. It provided a great opportunity to connect with colleagues, engage with existing clients, and forge new relationships within the dynamic world of performing arts. Here's a recap of what we learned during our time at APAP.
Written by
Andrew Jensen
Published on
March 14, 2024

The Opendate crew just hit up the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) conference in the Big Apple. It was more than just a conference – it was a chance to mingle with our awesome colleagues, catch up with our clients, and spark up meaningful connections in the buzzing world of performing arts.

So what types of attendees were there? Imagine this: a blend of folks pumping up talent (you know, artists and agents) and the wizards making the magic come alive by booking talent (aka presenters). Our team was there to connect with the presenters to learn more about their technology workflows, challenges, and wants as far as venue management tools for their Performing Arts Centers (PACs). 🎤✨

PACs are heroes in the arts scene - non-profit gems, often tied to municipalities or universities. This setup gives them the superpower to bring in all sorts of performances. We're talking beyond the usual chart-topping tunes – think Broadway spectacles, interactive adventures, brainy educational features, and more.

Here's a recap of what we learned during our time at APAP:

Common Challenges Among PACs: Inherited technology tools & calendar management

Conversations with presenters at APAP revealed a common thread of challenges. Presenters find themselves tied to antiquated technology solutions due to the intricate nature of their work. While there are a handful of ticketing providers specifically focused on Performing Arts Centers, these solutions can be burdened with inefficiencies. Presenters are often bound to them because of the importance of built-in donor and subscription management.

And managing PACs is no walk in the park. A bunch of them host Broadway tours, most are big on rentals, and quite a few presenters juggle deals with multiple outside promoters. So, it's pretty obvious – there's a real need for a system to handle all the different offers and contracts these performing arts centers throw around.

It was also noted that some PACs use multiple calendars, simultaneously utilizing Outlook, Google, and paper calendars. This not only hinders the smooth orchestration of events but also emphasizes the pressing need for a holistic, all-encompassing solution capable of bringing the industry into the digital age.

We're no stranger to this conclusion - in our 2023 National Survey of Venue Management, while 46% of respondents believe their calendar management tool is purpose built for their needs, their responses were not without sharing what was on their wish list for a calendar tool:

Download the full survey results here, and learn more about Opendate's calendar features here.

Common Want in technology tools: Integrated task management

Considering that most PACs are sophisticated organizations with boards of directors and numerous staff members, task management seems to be at the top of the wish list. Many presenters are currently using off-the-shelf solutions but express a strong desire for these tools to be integrated into their venue management solutions.

Our 2023 National Survey of Venue Management revealed similar conclusions, with several venues wanting to implement processes and tools for increased internal efficiency. Take a look at the full data set from the survey here.

Overall, the Opendate team had a blast soaking in the world of performing arts centers and learning more about how they're managing their venues. We met some awesome people and already counting down the days until next year's conference! 🎭✨

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