experiences, then we have to recognize the critical role of our house managers, not just this week, House Manager Appreciation Week, but every week. The smile and greeting upon entering the theater, the quick drink service during intermission, the cleanliness of the facilities, the well-orchestrated cab line, all of these little things make such a subtle yet pervasive impact on the theatre-going experience.
It's essential to have strong detail people on your house management staff and to empower these people to make every reasonable accommodation for your patrons. Your house managers should be like the maitre d' at a fine dining establishment with the ushers and other staff as the crack team of synchronized waiters, seeing to the comfort and welcome of the guests. Have you ever been to a restaurant that just made you feel like you were the center of the experience? That made you feel that your every need was taken care of so that you could enjoy your meal without a care? That's the aim here.
Put yourself in the shoes of your patrons. From the moment you prepare to leave the house to the time you step back, the house management team is at the helm. What is your impression as you approach the theater? Is it clean, inviting, maybe just a little glamorous? Who greets you as you step inside? Do they smile, hold the door for you, offer you coat service? Are you handed a program and left to your own devices or are you escorted to your seat with a smile? Is the bartender friendly or overwhelmed? Were you made aware of any lobby exhibits, talkbacks, or other opportunities to enhance your experience? What are the specific difficulties of attending your performance, and what was done to overcome those obstacles so that attending again is known to be easy and effortless?
These are the questions that need to be addressed, and if your house management team is truly exceptional, they've got this under control. They are handling problems mostly before they arise, and they respond to new situations with aplomb because they've been given the power to be the diplomats for your organization, making every patron and donor feel like a head of state.