After months of virtual meetings, classes, conferences, and happy hours, it has been announced that large business events can resume with the recently released proposed roadmap out of lockdown for England. With the following dates being key for the events industry:
- 12th April – Outdoor hospitality and attractions, including events such as drive-in cinemas and theme parks, alongside the start of larger event pilots.
- 17th May – Capacities of up to 1,000 (or 50%) for indoor events, 10,000 (or 25%) for outdoor seated events and 4,000 (or 50%) for other outdoor events.
- 21st June – All limits on social distancing and events removed, including the reopening of all remaining indoor venues such as nightclubs alongside full scale festivals and more.
Following this announcement some businesses are beginning to cautiously plan face-to-face events while still doing as much as they possibly can to reduce risk. Although this transition is going to take time this is a very positive news that live events are back on the menu.
We spoke with our very own Meetings Management Team Leader, Danielle Grubb, to get an idea of what Gray Dawes Events have been up to whilst live events weren’t allowed and what processes and procedures we have put in place to ensure our clients are safe when they do return.
What processes have Gray Dawes Events put in place when sourcing venues?
“Safety is paramount to us and our clients when we return to face to face events which is why we have put the following processes in place when sourcing venues to ensure they meet our very high standards:
- We have created a thorough checklist when enquiring with a property to ensure that it meets our own safety guidelines.
- We take the time to understand our clients COVID-19 policy to ensure we offer venues that are in line with their guidelines and if they don’t have one we can offer guidance to help them create one.
- Looking at each property we offer and ensuring that their COVID-19 safety programmes are accredited and approved by a reputable governing body.
- We try to, where possible, gather as much information upfront to avoid queues at the venue this includes if staggered arrival is a possibility among other factors. For example if we have a group booked in for accommodation we would ensure: rooms are paid for in advance, we provide the venue with track and trace information (agreed by client – GDPR) and enquire about virtual room keys so the client can download an app to access their room meaning no contact with hotel staff.”
What processes have Gray Dawes Events put in place when running events?
“COVID-19 has created lots of logistical challenges in both the lead up and running of and event. This has meant we have had to adapt our services in order to still be able to run events. Here are some examples of the altered or additional services we are offering:
- Sourcing sites for medical testing which adhered to government guidelines. This includes private access for event attendees and hotel staff briefed on privacy of event before, during and after.
- Sourcing extra supplies for clients to put their mind at ease when it comes to sensitisation and catering. This includes individually wrapped portions and no buffets or communal food offering.
- Assisting with hire of refrigeration for vans that are used for blood transportation.
- While negotiation and group accommodation is normal practice, when dealing with COVID-19 it’s our responsibilty to think of every detail such as ensuring housekeeping at the venue do not enter the room within so many hours of the guest leaving. We make sure that cleaning products, bedding and other products are delivered to the room for long stays and unless the guest is moving to another room they will be in charge of this themselves.
- Training sessions prior to the event to ensure the guests are aware of the hotel protocol in advance and create confirmation documents that guests understand the terms and will abide by the hotel COVID-19 protocols.”
What have Gray Dawes Events been doing while live events weren’t allowed?
“While we have been in lockdown and unable to host live events we have kept in constant contact with our clients to see what their priorities are when it comes to meeting face-to-face again. We have made this one of our top priorities throughout as we wanted to know how they feel about the prospect of returning to live events rather than rely solely on guess work and government guidance.
It has been important we know how our clients feel so we can implement processes and procedures they feel comfortable with meaning that we approach going back to live events the right way. We recognise that we are entering a new world of events and want to do this hand in hand with our clients in a collaborative manner. We believe that this approach will help put our clients at ease and allow them to influence live events going forward.
While live events haven’t been allowed we have worked on our Hybrid Events solution. This has allowed us and our clients to have continued interaction with their staff and bring teams back together virtually. We don’t just sell products, we offer knowledge and experience to ensure our clients have the best experience possible whether it be virtually or in person.”
Have Gray Dawes Events been visiting venues and putting on events?
“Right now we are starting to plan when we can visit venues ourselves and plan with suppliers in person. It is important for us to have safe, face to face meetings with suppliers and get a real understanding and feel of how the post COVID-19 meetings and events industry will work. While we feel that everything both us and suppliers are implementing will create a safe live events environment we also feel it’s important to practice what we preach and give our customers first-hand knowledge and experience.
As well as dealing with rescheduled and new bookings for the latter part of 2021, we are still receiving enquiries for the smaller, business essential meetings for the present too. Training rooms and strategy themed meetings are top of the list for most while those looking for a more blended approach have opted for Hybrid Events.
The demand for meeting is very much still here, albeit in different formats, we are always looking at what we can offer safely while still delivering the clients a great experience. It is great to see our clients are still wanting face-to-face events and feel that the need to meet in person is still essential to their business. We have enquiries for 2022 which some dates are already fully booked in some areas. Which is why we suggest booking now for the future as we can only see demand increasing even more as we see lockdown restriction ease and move further down the roadmap.”
If you are thinking of putting on a face-to-face event this year and are looking for some expert guidance, then please get in touch? We’d love to hear from you and help you get back engaging with your audience, safely.
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