In this article, Lesley Tyler, Head of Events Operations at Gray Dawes Group, reflects on the past 12 months, what corporate events will look like in a post-Covid world and how Gray Dawes Events can help your organisation create a memorable experience for your next event.
Well… what a very strange and unusual time its been for us all over the past 14 months!
The events industry, like many others, has been hit hard during the pandemic, but the Gray Dawes Events Team and I have kept going… meeting each new challenge with enthusiasm, determination and innovation.
As you can imagine, we’ve had to do things rather differently over the past year.
We’ve also had to deal with unusual requests:
- such as providing refrigerated vans for the transportation of blood
- ensuring the training of key workers went ahead smoothly whilst confirming Covid guidelines were adhered to
- organising extra supplies to put guests’ minds at ease when it comes to sanitisation and catering offerings.
- We’ve advised event delegates of the changes to hotel protocol and provided individual transport to and from the venue.
- As a consequence, we’ve even ensured enough parking was available for the individual to drive themselves – such is the level of detail we go to.
That’s for the events we have been able to run. Of course, we’ve also had to postpone and move many events to later in the year and into 2022. In almost every instance, we’ve been able to achieve this at no additional cost to our clients – such is our negotiating skills and the support of our suppliers who understand what a predicament we’ve all been in.
But now, as Lockdown restrictions continue to ease, I’m thrilled to finally see some meaningful light at the end of the tunnel… though, yes, for corporate events it is still a pretty long tunnel!
Recently we have seen outdoor hospitality areas and attractions open up, along with the much needed hairdressers and gyms! And the great news is that as of 17 May further lockdown restrictions have now been lifted, but what does that mean for Meetings and Events?
Well, you can hold events inside for up to 1000 people, with a full food and beverage option available. So your conferences, staff or client meetings can go ahead.
All being well, there will be a complete lifting of all limits on social distancing on 21 June.
I, for one, cannot wait!
So, what does this mean for the events industry and what can we do at Gray Dawes Events to help you, your staff, your guests and your clients ensure you are well looked after within a safe and legal environment at your next corporate event?
- Firstly, we completely understand that there are many people who are still cautious about attending a live event and will remain so for quite some time. Since the very first Lockdown back in March 2020, we’ve ensured only Covid-safe venues have been used.
- We check that all policies and safety guidelines are in place and accredited by a reputable governing body.
- And we speak to you, the bookers, to understand your own company guidelines. This means we’re able to match you and your delegates with the right venue, while our ideas and proposals are designed to meet your event objectives perfectly.
Of course, where to hold an event has an impact on what you can or can’t do at this current time.
Travel, for instance, is a big part of the incentive events we organise. We have recently seen the launch of the government’s traffic light system, which advises on which countries can be travelled to and from. Whilst this list is short, we do envisage continuous changes in the coming months. Incidentally, this is where our Traveller Toolkit comes in handy – just one of the many benefits of being part of the Gray Dawes Group!
If, like me, you dream of attending an event overseas, it may be best to wait until later in the year or even into 2022. However, I do recommend you start thinking about that now, as good venue availability is already reducing.
But if you want to run an incentive in the UK, there are so many marvellous places to do so. My advice is still to plan early! Just like overseas destinations, availability is getting scarcer by the day. Advance planning not only gives you a far wider variety of venues to choose from, it also allows us to negotiate the best rates and contract terms for you.
To alleviate those potential delegate concerns I mentioned earlier, you may also consider a mix of live and virtual elements for your next event. The HYBRID event is becoming a really popular solution which gives your attendees the choice of whether to travel to an event or to join from the comfort (and safety) of their laptop.
Whatever you want to achieve from holding an event – whether it’s a team meeting on a roof top bar, a mad treasure hunt dash around a city centre, a relaxing all-encompassing luxury event or a simple but effective meeting to welcome your clients or staff back to business, we are here to help you!
My knowledgeable, creative and enthusiastic team can’t wait to help you deliver a memorable experience for your audience.
And remember – when it comes to corporate events, experience is everything… yours and ours!
For more information, ideas and to get in touch, please visit our website at GD.EVENTS. And be sure to check out our NEWS section for all the very latest corporate event blogs, opinion and guidance.
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