Luxemburg's Kulturfabrik runs a tight ship thanks to Yesplan

Imagine an old slaughterhouse turned into a magnificent cultural space. There’s a crowded bar, a line for the cinema, a concert in the main hall, a restaurant, a gallery — and that’s just the spaces. Kulturfabrik, located in the heart of Luxemburg, is home to artist residencies and rehearsal spaces for contemporary music. And the one thing that makes all the cogs in the machine run smoothly, is Yesplan.

Bye, bye, Excel 

All in all, Kulturfabrik hosts everything from literature to conferences and theatre shows in a 4500m2 venue. And while a concert space that seats 850 people seems very manageable, simultaneous events occur all the time, making things a lot more complex. “Thanks to our very broad vision of programming, we attract over 80.000 visitors per year”, says René Penning, Head of administration, finances and human resources.Before September, this multitude of events was coordinated by means of an Excel sheet and an avalanche of email. “Can you imagine running twenty spaces using Excel?”, René asks. “Things became harder and harder as we kept expanding, planning more events and adding people to the team. In the end, it was simply unmanageable.” 

Help from Holland

“About five years ago, our friends at De Melkweg in Amsterdam told us about Yesplan. Back then, making the switch would have been a bit too expensive for us”, René recalls. Yet the mails only became more abundant, with technical riders constantly being sent back and forth — whenever they weren’t just lost. “In the end, I went to look for a tool to help us out and remembered the earlier conversation I had with our colleagues in The Netherlands.” 

“I kind of fell in love with Yesplan because of the people who invented it.”

“I kind of fell in love with Yesplan”, René concedes. “It’s because of the people who invented it, really. They’ve worked at Vooruit, an alternative cultural centre in Belgium, for many years. I really felt like Vooruit was a mirror to our organisation. I told myself ‘If these people have run a cultural centre for so long, it’s just impossible that they’d forget anything paramount’. What we do is exactly what they deal with, day in, day out. They think and act just like we do.” 

Flipping the switch

Kulturfabrik is in phase one of switching to Yesplan, having implemented the software in September 2017. “It changes your life, a little bit at a time. It’s like going to work on an old bike every day for ages, and then suddenly switching to a futuristic, shiny new model. It’s quite a change”, René admits. In this first period, Kulturfabrik is focused on using the shared calendar feature and allowing access to anyone, anywhere. “I think you need to take the time to fully appreciate everything Yesplan is capable of.”Come September, the team will evaluate their first year using Yesplan. “We’ll look at what we’ve learned and decide which tools we’ll start using next.” This phased approach helps to have the whole team on board. While it’s often hard to break habits, René boasts of the team’s enthusiasm. “It seems the transition has got nothing but beneficial consequences. People have been very receptive to this big change.”

“It seems the transition has got nothing but beneficial consequences. People have been very receptive to this big change.”

Halfway through the first season, the results are already showing. According to René, “things have become much more professional. Communication has improved and there are definitely less emails. At last, we have a planning that’s easy to manage and a global overview of all our events. Another big advantage is that Yesplan’s viewing settings are easily customisable. That means if you only want to see the two spaces you’re interested in, you can give those priority.”

Sold on the spot 

 To get the most out of Yesplan, the key is to “take an interest in the software and discover all its features”, René says. The best way to do it? “Invite the Yesplan team over for a demo.” To René, that’s all you need to be sold on the spot. And who are we to disagree?

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