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Running a historic site the modern way at Insole Court


How Yesplans first cultural venue in the UK grew to be a reference to all

Someone always has to be the first. When Yesplan decided to make the cross-channel leap to the UK market, the team behind Insole Court was the first to believe in the potential of the software for cultural venues. One year later, Insole Court, a venue for movie viewings and cultural events in Cardiff, has grown to be the main reference site in the UK. They are strong advocates of Yesplan and the value it is adding to the smooth sailing of their organisation.

From mansion to hotspot for tourists and locals 

The impressive Insole Court is nestled in a fairy tale like park, as it should be in the rolling Welsh countryside. The site does not only harbour the Victorian mansion dedicated to cultural activities and an oasis of greenery, it also hosts a school in one of the building’s wings. 

After thirty years of campaigning for the abandoned venue to be accorded a second life, recent renovations have prepared the estate to be rediscovered by the public and locals of Cardiff: events, talks, readings, food festivals, wedding parties and historical tours are blowing new life into the location since having reopened in 2016. With that many acres, maintenance on the buildings and gardens and an ambitious programme, the small team has quite a challenge on its hands. “Without Yesplan, we would be just unable to deliver,” Gray Hill confirms. And what a shame this would be for a historical and enchanting setting as Insole Court. 

“Insole Court comes from a community background,” explains Gray Hill, marketing and business development manager. “This means we started out with a small group, a small budget and lots of volunteers. Now that we have grown into an organisation with seven paid members of staff and an ongoing agenda full of events, we are more determined than ever to fully organise the whole.” 

“Without Yesplan, we would be just unable to deliver.”

Things to buy: chairs, tables and Yesplan 

“The first purchase we made, right after we bought tables and chairs, was Yesplan,” Gray says. Having worked in another venue before, Gray had some experience using other management system for the cultural sector. But they proved not to be the most optimal – or economical – choice for Insole Court at that time. “We had to convince trustees that we needed an electronic booking system. A paper diary and a cashbox just wouldn’t do. We were looking at free online diaries and such because we had no budget.” 

Gray stumbled upon Yesplan and instantly felt that this way of working would benefit the entire organisation: “From the first demo on, we knew this was far beyond what we were trying to do on paper within Insole Court. Now we would have a pro level system.” 

Perfectly fitted to the organization and the British market

As the first and only user in the UK, Insole Court was able to provide useful input about Yesplans functions within the organisation. As Insole Court was a brand-new venue inside very old walls, there were some administrative perks about joining Yesplan in it’s UK launch, Hill explains. “As we had next to no marketing resources when we started, we didn’t have to migrate from spreadsheets to Yesplan, as most other organisations do. Because nothing had come before it, we were free to design our process entirely around the technology we were putting in place.” The platform was finetuned and incorporated the functionalities that were part of Insole Court’s identity which enabled Yesplan to simultaneously settle into the British market.

Renting rooms and tea through Yesplan

Today, Insole Court reaps the fruit of their hard labour. Yesplan now holds a prominent place in the daily routine of the Cardiff team. Looking back at those earlier days, Gray thinks Yesplan’s greatest asset is its people. “Thanks to the graphical interface, the fundamentals are quite intuitive. But being able to have a face-to-face meeting with the makers and being taken through the system in person, really makes all the difference.” 

So did the flexibility of Yesplan. Gray: “I kept changing my mind about how we were going to use Yesplan, changing profiles, colours, categories. Each time you find a new way of handling things and you keep on improving. I like that Yesplan is adaptable to different kinds of venues and events and sizes.” 

Today, Insole Court rents out all of its twelve rooms and organises its resources through Yesplan. In the future, more rooms will be opened to the public and the team is planning on taking on the hospitality part as well, providing guests with tea and biscuits wherever needed. “Yesplan has become our guideline. We put our trust in the system and the user-friendliness for our team.” 

“Yesplan has become our guideline. We put our trust in the system and the user-friendliness for our team.”

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