"Quality through people" by USP Partner AG using the example of Art|Basel


Art|Basel is the most important trade fair within the international art market. Every summer the fair attracts the international art world to the Swiss town of Basel where the world's leading galleries show works by over 4,000 artists. Art Basel provides a platform for the galleries to show and sell their work to buyers. The world’s premier art fair connects collectors, galleries, and artists, and is a driving force in supporting the role that galleries play in nurturing the careers of artists. The fair also offers parallel exhibitions and events, produced in collaboration with the city’s cultural institutions, further enhancing the week long experience. 

The EFMP Swiss Partner, USP, have been an official partner of the fair since 2017 and have been solely responsible for providing the personnel required for the professional running of the event. Every year, USP provides over 100 highly trained hosts and hostesses to effectively manage their areas and ensure that everything runs smoothly. USP’s hosts and hostesses are responsible for managing more than 25 functions during the 13 days of the event. These functions include managing the information & VIP desks, the outdoor information points, entrance control, and supporting the Exhibitor's Office. Additional duties include selling of the Art|Basel Year Book, managing the welcome desks at several airports, and various assignments at special events.

USP manages the entire project and is responsible for the recruitment and training of all the staff as well as managing them during the event. Candidates are carefully selected according to specific criteria specified by the client and after a personal casting are placed in a role that is best suited to them. USP also prepares a detailed staff deployment plan for the entire duration of the trade fair which prepares them for operational challenges such as seamless break replacements at all stations as well as any shift variations.

USP attributes the successful management of this fair to their extensive preparation and direct on-site management. Before the fair, hosts and hostesses receive comprehensive training so that they are well prepared for the tasks at hand. Firstly, they receive a written briefing and are then tested on it using USP’s bespoke online e-learning tool. Secondly, they receive a comprehensive live training session shortly beforehand to learn about the trade fair and how to present and conduct themselves at an international trade fair of this magnitude. Hosts and hostesses are then individually briefed on their specific duties for the event.

The USP project team is on site during the entire 13 days of operation and they lead the host and hostess team directly. The team works more than 5,000 hours during the entire trade fair. From the selection and training, to the correct deployment planning, to the guided tour on site, USP thus ensures a smooth course of events for the entire trade fair via a service that covers everything from A to Z. The team is therefore responsible for the entire trade fair.

As the USP project management team is on site for the duration of the entire event, they closely monitor the host and hostess teams. This ensures that any issues are dealt with swiftly and don’t affect the smooth running of the show. USP maintain that people are their most important resource, and through a transparent recruitment process and close personnel management they ensure  that staff are well informed and given the tools to do the job properly.

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