CONEXUS ARTS CENTRE ADAPTING TO THE CHANGING BUSINESS WORLD
For most businesses in the food or entertainment industry, the pandemic has changed the landscape of how they do business. The Conexus Arts Centre, which offers catering, convention and entertainment services at its facility, has experienced this first-hand.
At different points in the pandemic the facility was closed to the public due to various mandates from the provincial government. During the most recent Omicron wave, many of the services have been restored but the situation has yet to reach what would be considered the industry norm.
“That’s sort of the weird thing about this wave, there are days where it feels like we are closed but we’re actually open there is really just not much business meetings or events happening right now,” explained Neil Donnelly, CEO of the Conexus Arts Centre. “Previous waves there was always some uncertainty of what we could or couldn’t do or when we would re-open. But now we’re still booking events and we’re still selling tickets to the upcoming events even though some are being rescheduled so it’s a bit of a different feeling this time around.
The facility’s meeting rooms have been outfitted with the technology for virtual or hybrid meetings in addition to what Donnelly described as a refresh – the rooms were painted, they got new lighting, sound and audio-visual equipment, video screens and computers.
It’s now up to Donnelly and his team to convince their clients that the facility can provide services to help them conduct business.
“That’s the process for right now, reconnecting with all of our clients and finding out where they’re at where they are at,” said Donnelly. “We are hopeful that with the refreshed look and the new technologies that we have in place that it will show that we’re still in business and ready to welcome them back in the new way that we have.”
While virtual meetings have become a staple for many companies, Donnelly is hopeful that in-person meetings will return in the near future. Although virtual meetings are helpful, Donnelly believes that in-person meetings are more beneficial.
“I sit on a number of volunteer boards and other organizations that have almost exclusively gone to Zoom or virtual type meetings and it’s just not the same as meeting in person,” said Donnelly. “The lack of interaction and dialogue and creativity, and even the sort of the post meeting conversations that go on that carry the ideas and the creativity forward, it’s just not the same.
“We want everyone to know that if they want to return to in-person meetings, we are prepared for them. If they would prefer meeting virtually, we can offer that option as well. It just depends on their comfort level.”