Essential Ways Venues Can Be Prepared For A Post-Pandemic World

Essential Ways Venues Can Be Prepared For A Post-Pandemic World

For events like triathlons, duathlons and open water swimming races, having a reliable venue is crucial for event operations to run smoothly. 

It will take a combined effort in order to restart the event industry for larger events, both from the planners and venues, in order to begin hosting in-person events of over 500 participants again. Venues will have to mainly focus on key areas to provide a safe environment for event attendees by leveraging contactless solutions.

Some of the primary upcoming concerns for event organizers include re-organizing events with the limited timescale, adhering to strict safety guidelines to protect their guests and attendees, and discovering solutions that potentially curb the spread of the virus. Will we adapt to a new way of marketing and communications? Will the old ways of working seem outdated, or will it simply snap back to business as usual? From contactless tech to contingency planning to advanced advertising, there are several things to cover in a new risk management plan. 

So, what should you look for in an event that is prepared to take on the post pandemic world? We’ve done some research on what measures are being taken across different venues in the UK, and here’s what we’ve found. 

Ask them about their health and safety protocols

Health and safety of your delegates is of the utmost importance for your events in the post-pandemic events industry, so it's really important to make sure your venue reciprocates this priority. For example, how are they going to do contact tracing? Are they going to disinfect each room regularly during the day? Are they going to offer contactless check-in? Do they have thermal scanning? Do they have a dedicated triage area in case a delegate falls ill?

Basic Contactless Technology

Events and exhibitions have been using increasing amounts of new technology to improve their events and enhance the experience effectively for years now. What can your venue provide to make the work load even easier for you? Here are a couple of contactless tech items which could make your venue more appealing from a safety stance:

-Large Information Screens

-Good Signage

-Contactless soap dispensers

-Automatic Doors

-Contactless taps 

-Contactless flushes

How do they currently maintain social distancing?

Whilst the social distancing guidance needs to be monitored for changes, it is still vital that venues are successfully enforcing social distancing measures. These measures include making sure seating spots are a suitable distance from one another, providing dedicated queue management staff to ensure socially distanced queueing, providing hand sanitising stations, devising a one way system and offering contactless check-in.

Reduced capacities in venues will mean that the cost per head will likely increase. If you need large bike parking areas for your triathlon, wetsuit and swim changing rooms/areas, it’s worth scouting for venues that are 1.5 - 2x bigger than your numbers to account for social distancing. Many venues have begun to offer 3D virtual tours which could help you visualise whether the space will be suitable or not.

Some venues such as London Triathlons Excel Centre have released prospectuses for organisers on how they will conduct safer events moving forward. Make sure to keep an eye out for these being released, and if you have any particular venues in mind and want to know about their policies. 

Pre and Post Race Food and Drink

Gone are the days of buffets for 200 people. To limit the risk of transmission, it’s really important to ensure the venue you choose is putting the safety of your guests first. Asking the venue how they’ll serve food and beverages at your event is critical.

Although most races only have takeaway options available anyway, the popular pre-race pasta parties have often been a good source of revenue for some and finding ways of keeping these traditions alive are better than ditching them all together! 

UKHospitality has released guidelines regarding catering going forward. Some of these guidelines include removing cutlery from tables, as well removing salt and pepper shakers, limiting the use of handheld menus and serving food in individual containers.

It's worth making a note here about sustainability - if self-service stations for food and beverages are off-limits, then venues may suggest using disposable packaging/cups instead. This could negatively impact the sustainability of your event, so it's worth trying to think of alternatives. Check out our blog on sustainability for events for more on this. 

Check their cancellation policy in case things change

Things change in events, that’s just the name of the game. When COVID-19 hit, most organisers and venues went through cancellation and postponement processes and for some, it was extremely difficult to navigate various policies and identify where the liability fell.

To avoid confusion and stress in case there's another spike in cases, we advise thoroughly reading through each venue’s cancellation policies and making sure you are completely confident with every situation that may arise.

Other Considerations

The Health and safety of your participants is always the first consideration of any event organiser. For triathlons, swimming races and duathlons which require indoor space for participant change overs, logistics are already high, but here are some things to consider checking with your venue incase they are able to offer assistance: 

-Is your venue able to help you do contact tracing? 

-Can they disinfect each room regularly during the day? 

-Do they have perspex screens available for registration? 

-Do they have thermal scanning? 

-Do they have a dedicated triage area in case a delegate falls ill?

-Do they have an isolation area in case anyone starts to show COVID-19 symptoms? 

-Is your venue availability shrinking fast? Don’t forget to book early as most event organisers have deferred to 2021 making venues harder to secure. 

Government advice is constantly changing regularly, but your venue should be on top of it. The more they can help ensure COVID-safe measures are put in place, the easier it is for you to manage your Race Director duties safely.