As part of our series of articles looking at the re-opening of venues and events, we talk to IET London: Savoy Place…
When are you expecting your venue to open for events?
We’re closely following the advice in the Government’s roadmap as well as our own internal COVID-19 health and safety protocols, so we’re currently open to host filming, and subject to any further changes, we plan to open the venue to wider events now. We are lucky to have exceptional AV capabilities meaning our events schedule is very busy with planned hybrid events, and the venue will therefore be open most days now.
What sort of demand are you seeing currently for events and meetings to be held at the venue once restrictions are lifted?
From February to March, we saw an increase of 250% in enquiries for events taking place in 2021 and beyond. We’re noticing particularly high demand for our outdoor spaces as we’re very lucky to have a stunning roof terrace with impressive views over the Thames, as well as spacious private balconies attached to the Maxwell Library. The outdoor enquiries seem to be predominantly for companies looking to get their teams together again for casual drinks receptions and networking. Our regular clients are particularly keen to get back to the venue and many have already booked with confidence as they trust us to provide a safe and secure place for their staff/delegates.
Do you think there’s a big ‘latent demand’ for events and meetings? Ie. are companies keen to get ‘back out’?
Surges in our enquiry levels would suggest that on the whole, a high proportion of companies are itching to get back out and about. The idea is very appealing in theory, however many are definitely still holding out for explicit confirmation of the existing roadmap timeline before committing to larger events in the next few months, purely to save the additional administration of re-planning for a later date. There is certainly a high demand for hybrid events which allow companies to give their staff a choice in whether or not they are happy to travel for business purposes and can join either at the venue, or remotely.
What are the biggest concerns from venue bookers – and how are you alleviating their fears?
The biggest concern definitely seems to be around whether there’s flexibility in the scenario that a booker is unable to host their event as planned if the Government’s guidelines change. Many bookers have been stung over the past 12 months with unclear cancellation policies, hidden clauses and difficulties manoeuvring availability to postpone for future dates. We talk very transparently with clients so they’re fully aware of their options in the case of a forced cancellation or postponement. We’ve spent lots of time scenario-setting to establish very fair COVID specific terms and conditions for events to help alleviate the concerns of uncertainty. We’ve also had a lot of experience as a venue long before COVID in running virtual events and are well versed in how to pivot from live to virtual or hybrid should this be necessary for a client.