In many ways choosing a suitable venue is more important than ever. The consequences of choosing a venue which isn’t following government guidelines have always been huge, imagine if you were responsible for exposing your whole company to a food poisoning outbreak, now with Coronavirus those consequences have just got larger.
Think about Hybrid Events.
Many delegates have to or want to attend virtually. If there attendance is important / adds to the event, then it’s easy to offer this. See our guide to hybrid events here and some suitable venues here.
Check the venue Covid safe protocols
The Health and safety of your delegates is always the first consideration of any event organiser. Ho w are they going to do contact tracing? Are they following the MIA guidelines in this respect see here Are they going to disinfect each room regularly during the day? Are they going to offer contactless check-in? Do they have thermal scanning? Do they have a dedicated triage area in case a delegate falls ill?
There is a whole range of safety measures that venues should put in place, see here for some of the many bodies which will now accredit venues to be covid safe.
Government advice is constantly changing in this respect, The Meetings Industry Association keeps an update directory of relevant information see here
Whilst the social distancing guidance has been reduced from 2m to 1m, it is still vital that venues are successfully enforcing social distancing measures. These measures include making sure each delegate is seated a suitable distance from one another, providing dedicated queue management staff to ensure socially distanced queueing, providing hand sanitising stations, devising a one-way system and offering contactless check-in.
Reduced capacities in venues will mean that the cost per head will likely increase. If you are looking to host a big event, we recommend looking for venues that are 1.5 – 2x bigger than your numbers to account for social distancing. For example, if you’re looking for a venue to fit 50 people theatre style, we suggest searching for venues that fit 75-100. Some venues like www.cavendishvenues.co.uk in London have invested in dedicated room planning software. They can work out room capacities in any layout with any combination of potential social distancing measures.
Gone are the days of buffets for 200 people. To limit the risk of transmission, it’s really important to ensure the venue you choose is putting the safety of your guests first. Asking the venue how they’ll serve food and beverages at your event is critical.
UKHospitality has released guidelines regarding catering going forward. Some of these guidelines include removing cutlery from tables, as well removing salt and pepper shakers, limiting the use of handheld menus and serving food in individual containers.
It’s worth making a note here about sustainability – if self-service stations for food and beverages are off-limits, then venues may suggest using disposable packaging/cups instead. This could negatively impact the sustainability of your event, so it’s worth trying to think of alternatives. The Venue booker specialises in booking sustainable venues see here
Check cancellation policies
Things change in events, that’s just the name of the game. When COVID-19 hit, most organisers and venues went through cancellation and postponement processes and for some, it was extremely difficult to navigate various policies and identify where the liability fell.
To avoid confusion and stress in case there’s another spike in cases, we advise thoroughly reading through each venue’s cancellation policies and making sure you are completely confident with every situation that may arise. Many venues have introduced revised cancellation clauses and Coronavirus cancellation clauses, see here
Because most event organisers are starting the process of moving their 2020 events calendar to 2021, availability is going to be scarce. If you’ve got an event planned for 2021, we recommend starting your search now so you can lock down the dates and venues you want.
Booking venues has got harder, contracts aren’t comparable, prices are varying massively, some venues no doubt will not survive this chaos. We are the venue booker are talking to venues and clients all day every day, we can and will save you time and money. If you are thinking of booking a venue now more than ever using a professional venue finding agency will pay dividends.
With over 20 years experience in the hospitality industry you can be confident that our expertise and extensive knowledge will ensure the success of your event.
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