As PAs and corporate bookers look for event options and venues navigate the loosening of restrictions, PA Life looks at the options for events over the coming weeks. We speak to Elena Kruger at Church House Westminster about the demand for the venue’s live, hybrid and virtual options and the demand right now from bookers…
When are you expecting your venue to open for events?
Although we are massively looking forward to May 17th, which is the tentative date that the Government’s roadmap allows events of up to 50% of capacity, as a venue we have in fact remained open since August last year for essential meetings, filming and outside broadcasting (without an audience).
What sort of demand are you seeing currently for events and meetings to be held at the venue once restrictions are lifted?
The pipeline for Q3 features a good mix of smaller in-person meetings, training and exam sessions, along with more elaborate hybrid events. In Q4 we are seeing a huge increase in ‘traditional’ types of events including large conferences, awards dinners, and Christmas parties. The bulk of 2022 event enquiries include hybrid and virtual elements.
Do you think there’s a big ‘latent demand’ for events and meetings? Ie. are companies keen to get ‘back out’?
For sure! Event organisers are keen to create live face-to-face experiences. Working closely with our clients, it is essential for us as a venue to balance the expectations of organisers. Planning for any eventuality is something that we learnt from, coming out of the first lockdown. We have increased the options and possibilities for organisers, whether it be a pivot to virtual, should restrictions change on short notice. The possibilities are endless. By offering a range of bespoke digital solutions we are anticipating their needs well in advance.
What are the biggest concerns from venue bookers – and how are you alleviating their fears?
- How do you plan when you don’t know what might be the situation one month or seven months down the line? See the previous answer for how we are addressing what we see as an opportunity for venues to lead pro-actively and be one step ahead of the game, utilising digital events.
- Confidence to attend in-person events, not so much for the organisers but for attendees. In addition to our Covid-secure measures, we are leading from the front, publicising the fact that we have a free on-site walk-in asymptomatic testing centre where delegates have the opportunity to test in less than 5 minutes and have their results back in less than an hour. We are also liaising with event organisers to supply them with pre-event information and videos for delegates to illustrate the measures that are in place to manage the risk for organised meetings and events. We’ve also shared case studies of successful Covid-secure events we hosted last year with our clients.
- Securing dates in advance. As a venue we have a money-back guarantee to allow organisers to book events with confidence. It offers flexibility to change dates at no additional charge. We foresee a great many last-minute bookings, which means that the venue once again has to liaise pro-actively with clients to make sure that the availability is there and that events can safely go ahead.