The U.S. Military debriefs each operation with an After Action Report (AAR). Even though producing an event isn’t as stressful as a raid on a terrorist compound, we also implement a recap report for every event we produce at Traction.

In an earlier blog (4 Questions), I talked about the four magical questions that I ask each client during the discovery process, I also find these four questions to be the ideal way to honestly evaluate a job’s performance.

Here’s a look at the AAR from our recent project, the NASCAR Hub at Daytona International Speedway …

What did you like best:

Overall Layout

The layout and footprint of the NASCAR Hub was ideal given our logistical and budgetary constraints. By utilizing a customized Featherlite trailer, we were able to provide secure, functional spaces that stayed booked during all peak event times and delivered a quality experience for every guest.

Four separate & fully functional spaces

  1. Communal courtyard
  2. Catering area
  3. Living room
  4. Office space 

Crew

Jordan and Matt from Nineyards were ideal solution-oriented construction partners that demanded quality and didn’t cut corners. Angela from Kansas Speedway was a terrific hostess that was attentive to the needs of each guest with a welcoming smile. Curtis from Americrown was “Johnny-on –the-spot,” accommodating all of our last minute requests with prompt service, no matter the hour.

What did you like least:

Lack of air conditioned space

The communal space under the awning needed to be heated/air conditioned. It got cold each night, forcing us to close wall panels and conserve heat. During the afternoon it was uncomfortably hot without removing all exterior wall panels. 

Awning structure

Large awnings attached to trailers are common for mobile hospitality environments but it’s nearly impossible to hide the ugly parts of an awning. Noise, temperature and weather all have the ability to impact the guests experience in a negative way and as the event producer there is little you can do to fix it. 

Restroom

Every customer thinks a VIP restroom in or near your hospitality is a good idea. But as an event pro, I really hate them. The stress of worrying about holding tanks, managing the smells and finding a honey truck driver to serve the restroom is a headache I could live without.

Just suppose there were no boundaries, what would you do different:

Semi-permanent structure 

Constructing a semi-permanent structure would give my clients a much richer hospitality experience that would be more visually appealing and allow us to host a larger number of guests. 

Pour Over Coffee! 

I am a coffee lover that has been searching for a quality cup of racetrack coffee for years but have yet to find it. The need became glaringly apparent when Wyclef Jean stopped by the hub before he sang the National Anthem and asked for a cup of coffee. This would have been the perfect time to impress this A-level celebrity with a hipster cup of pour over coffee. 

More AV

I think most hospitality environments have a shortage of televisions broadcasting the nearby action with high quality audio. I also missed in this area and didn’t invest in the A/V department. If we get another opportunity to build a similar experience, I will fly speakers and televisions from the roof so all guests can clearly hear and see the on-track excitement they are missing inside the footprint.

What can never happen again:

Light on labor 

In an attempt to save my client money I told the trailer supplier that my crew and I would set up the trailer awning. In concept, this was a smart money saving maneuver until we were hit with storm warnings and 30 mph winds during setup.

Disclaimer: No one got hurt and we waited late into the evening of day two for the winds to die down long enough for us to safely get the canvas stretched out on to the awning frame.

Procrastinator

I have a tendency to procrastinate in securing the smaller items that make up a special event as I constantly think things will be easier than they actually turn out to be. For this event signage production came down to the wire, forcing me to make some quick friends at Speedi Signs in Holly Hill, Florida (thank you for the last minute save Carla). 

Advance Trip

A proper advance trip is a key contributor to success. Even though I have spent countless hours at Daytona International Speedway, we still needed a pre-event site visit. Luckily, we had reviewed aerial photos of the space and I had met with the keeper of all NASCAR garage spaces in Conover, NC to review my plan prior to heading to Daytona. We went with a solid plan but an advance trip might have shown us three nearby water valves that, if encroached upon, would have been a show stopper (we were within 6 inches of a problem that would have created an all-nighter for the crew).

For the last 15 years, I have spent the month of February celebrating the start of the NASCAR season in Daytona Beach but this was the first year that I have entered the tunnel at Daytona International Speedway with my company name on the credential. As you might imagine, this was the most physically demanding event that I have had to date but it was also the most emotionally rewarding. Thank you NASCAR for continuing to value quality and trusting Traction Event Labs to deliver it.

 Cheers,

Michael

I want to help you create your next event. Shoot me a note at michael@verlatti.com to see if there are opportunities for us to build something AWESOME together