SPICE Issue 92 Autumn 2021

Page 41

Expert advice

TOP 5 TIPS

for selecting a venue during COVID-19 As in-person meetings and events get back underway, there are new factors to consider when sourcing your venue. “During the planning process negotiate with the venue that attrition rates and minimum spend will be flexible and can be reduced if required closer to the event,” she says.“This means, if the number of tickets sold are not as expected, the venue shares the responsibility of the realistic expectations and adjusts the minimum spend accordingly.”

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ith a ‘new normal’ for meetings and events, comes a host of new considerations for planners, starting with selecting a venue. Claire Graham, operations manager at Interpoint Events, which manages events such as C&I Expo, AHICE, Design Inn and the ATSA Independent Living Expos, says there are more factors than ever to weigh up when sourcing an event venue. Here, she shares five tips to help choose the right venue partner to bring your event to life in a safe and seamless way.

Tip #1: Space and capacity

Tip #3: Cleaning and hygiene ”Check if the venue includes additional cleaning and hygiene services required for a COVID-safe event as part of the agreement,” says Graham.“Will the venue supply these protocols at no additional charge?” Additional hygiene services may include sanitisation stations on arrival and throughout the venue, temperature readings on entry, face masks at an attendee’s request, COVID-safe signage and floor markers for social distancing, QR code check-in systems and additional roaming cleaners on site to monitor high-touch areas.

With rules and regulations in place enforcing social distancing, you’ll firstly need to find a venue partner that will work with you to provide a space that adheres to your expected capacity. “For example, if your expected conference capacity is 300, will they provide a room large enough to hold this number, taking into account social distancing restrictions, for the same cost?” says Graham. “Find out if the venue will offer an additional day to bump in and bump out an expo to allow a staggered schedule for suppliers and exhibitors. Ensure there is additional space for setting up registration and catering stations with social distancing taken into consideration.”

Tip #4: Audio visual

Tip #2: Cancellation or postponement policy

Finally, be sure to find out how the venue will be handling their foodservice and catering during your event. Graham says start with the basics and decide whether it will be a canapé service or a plated meal. “Ask how the food and beverage team propose food items are packaged and find out if there any additional considerations for serving alcohol,” she says.“For networking breaks or cocktail events, how will the venue manage service and allow for COVID-safe plans to be executed effectively? n

As we all know now, cancellations and postponements are inevitable during a pandemic. With this in mind, Graham says it is important to check the fine print in venue contracts for clauses regarding cancelling or postponing your event due to COVID restrictions or an enforced lockdown. For example, will the venue transfer any deposit payments to a new date should the event not take place due to a new lockdown?

The reality is, there is now an expectation that events consider a virtual element to cater to those who can’t attend in person. Graham warns, the audio visual components and associated costs involved in hybrid events can be extensive. “Check with the venue if they only allow their inhouse AV team to operate your event as part of the contract or if they will allow for your preferred supplier to use the equipment at the venue,” she says. “Request a quote from both suppliers so that you can manage your budget with any additional costs.”

Tip #5: Food and beverage

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