21 Jan Back to In-person Events? 5 Things to Consider When Choosing Your Event Venue
Planning your first in-person event after Covid can be a daunting task, so now is the time for event planners to rethink and adapt their requirements to reflect the new events landscape. Finding the right venue has always been critical to the success of corporate events, but finding the right venue is likely to look a little different these days, with venue sourcing companies now having multiple new factors to consider.
It is crucial to have a Plan B. Make sure that you are working with a venue that can be flexible in providing digital assistance or reconfiguring spaces to ensure social distancing. It is also a good idea to put together a contingency plan, which maps out a timeline of when and where things could go wrong – what is the latest date you can cancel the entire event if needed? How far in advance can you change the catering requirements? What is the latest date that you adjust the number of spaces you’ve reserved at the venue?
Venues understand the challenges that event professionals are facing, but they also need to ensure their own survival, so it is important that this research is done thoroughly before contracting a venue and stay in constant communication with your venue finder leading up to the event.
For the foreseeable future, most in-person events will need to include at least some digital/virtual elements to accommodate the new way of networking. For example, your keynote speaker may have to self-isolate and can’t attend in person, can the venue adapt to this and have the in-house production facility to stream them in. Especially when using in-house production, it is important to choose a venue that can accommodate last-minute technology changes and have experience running live in-person and hybrid events.
When choosing a venue, it’s worth selecting one that has been officially accredited by respected industry bodies to give you the confidence in knowing that it’s undergone thorough auditing by professionals when it comes to guest safety. The Meetings Industry Association’s AIM Secure and Visit England’s Good To Go accreditations are nationally recognized ones to look out for. In addition, consider doing the venue provides and ensure their staff are wearing face masks, and do they have plenty of hand sanitizer throughout the space to keep guests protected.
Sustainability and being environmentally conscious is a social issue that is now at the forefront of the event planning industry. However, efforts to go green can easily go hand in hand with precautionary measures to limit the spread of Covid. To lessen the amount of paper used at events, employ digital scanners which allow for contactless registration and encourage the use of digital business cards. When it comes to catering, providing a boxed, packed lunch for each attendee rather than a communal buffet is a more Covid-safe approach and will also lessen food waste.
Breakout Areas and Outdoor Spaces
Breakout workspaces are a common fixture of corporate events and are a great way to break up the day and encourage creative thinking. Breakout areas are now more important than ever, as they can be used to socially distance large groups while still providing the right environment for successful collaboration.
And whilst breakout areas are typically indoors, why not get creative and take things alfresco. Outdoor space has always been valuable, but after almost two years of intermittent lockdowns and restrictions, guests are keener than ever to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. Whilst this may not work for all, incorporating outdoor time can include smaller team build style activities, including wellness yoga, meditation, biking, or foraging.
Whilst it may feel overwhelming taking the jump back into in-person events, keeping in mind what to look out for when sourcing a new venue can certainly break things down and make it more manageable for event planners. We certainly can’t wait to see an increase in live events again and are here to embrace the extra challenges when sourcing venues and planning events for our clients. If you need that little bit of extra help, please use our free venue finding service, and rest assured, knowing you are in very capable hands.