Outdoor weddings

Advice for Venue Owners – How to help your venue survive Covid 19

These are unprecedented times.  No one quite knows what is around the corner or how long we will be living with COVID 19.  What we do know is that the UK wedding and event industry is being severely affected by the continued government restrictions on social gatherings.  Following the devastating government announcement this week, maximum number of guests who can attend a wedding is 15 and all other gatherings are limited to a maximum 6.  Food and drink can be served whilst guests are seated.  Mingling is not allowed and dancing is out of the question.  It looks like weddings and events will be restricted for many more months to come, so how do you help your venue survive Covid 19? 

Bride and Groom with a bouquet

1. Check the guidelines

What can you still do?  How can you continue to host weddings and events?  What special measures do you need to put in place?  Do you need to make any further investment to make your venue Covid Secure?

2. Talk to your customers

Contact your customers.  How are they feeling?  What do they need?  What do they want?  Do they want to proceed with their wedding with limited numbers? Do they want to postpone their wedding? Check your terms and conditions, particularly your refund policy.  If your customer cancels their wedding, can you afford to offer them a full refund?  Do you have dates available in 2021 if they ask to postpone?  You don’t need to give them an answer straight away but you do need to listen to them and collate all the information.  This will help you formulate a plan and help your business survive Covid 19. 

3. Make a plan

We work in hospitality and our business is to delight our customers.  Our business thrives on our ability to do this.  Our hands are tied through no fault of our own and our customers are disappointed.  How can you turn this around?  You need to fulfil your customers’ expectations as far as possible without jeopardy to your business, reputation or future custom.  This might mean offering them alternative dates or even providing them with a full refund.  Once you have spoken to all your customers and understood their needs, you need to work out how best to match their expectations whilst ensuring you help your venue survive Covid 19. 

4. Minimise your outgoings

It is important that you understand your financial position.  How much cash you have on account, any debts or income still to accrue.  Write a list of all your expenses for the rest of this financial year.  Your fixed costs and your variable costs.  Are any costs negotiable?  What financial help is available to you?  Speak to your financial adviser or accountant.  What is your income vs expenses?  Will you break even?  Will you return a profit?  Will you make a loss?    

5. Maximise your income

Once you know your position look at the gaps.  What dates do you still have to fill this year and next?  What opportunities do you have?  Do you have accommodation available?  Do you have an in-house chef? Do you have a big garden or outdoor space?  How can you diversify your existing business to recoup any lost revenue and help your business survive Covid 19?

6. Talk to your colleagues

Speak to your fellow venue owners and suppliers.  Share insights, experience and skills.  Yes they maybe your competitors but they are not your enemy and this is a time to help and support each other.  Are any struggling to accommodate weddings or events?  Do you have an opportunity to recommend their venue to customers you are unable to accommodate?  By helping others you may help your venue survive Covid 19.

7. Stay engaged with your customers

Keep in regular communication.  Keep up your social media engagement.  Regularly update your website.  Show the world you are still in business, that you want to welcome guests again and that you are following the guidance.  Post relevant positive news, show your customers how hard you are working to re-open your venue.  Remind customers of happier times with images from past weddings or events.  We will be back!  

8. Keep the pressure on the government

Right now it feels like our industry is being ignored so we need to collectively voice our concerns and our needs and make them aware of the situation we are facing and the help we need to survive.  Write to your MP.  Write to the media.  Tell people.  Talking and sharing helps raise a collective consciousness.  We cannot survive alone so let’s work together and help your venue survive Covid 19.

Cheers guests toasting the bride and groom wedding speeches

2020 has been a terrible year for the whole wedding and events industry and it looks likely that the current situation will continue over the Winter.  But I am optimistic that we will return and Summer 2021 will be a bumper.  So just hang on in there.  Stay positive.  Work together.  Listen to and communicate with your customers.  Reassure them that you are there for them.  Support one another and we will ride out this storm and help your business survive Covid 19.

For more tips on how to make your venue Covid Secure have a look at my earlier blog post here.

Do you need support with your venue or events?

Let 's start a conversation today

Wedding Venue

2020 and the Impact of COVID 19 on the Events Industry

The impact of COVID 19 on the events industry has been wide sweeping and deeply felt. 

None of us have ever experienced anything like this and hopefully we never will again. 

All of us have been affected emotionally and physically by COVID 19 and many of us will continue to feel the effects for a long time to come.  

The impact of COVID 19 on the events industry has been particularly bad.  Venues have been forced to close indefinitely, events have been cancelled and postponed and livelihoods put on the line.  The events industry contributes over £50 billion pounds to the UK economy every year.  We employ 570,000 individuals full time plus additional self-employed, freelance and part-time staff.  Everyone who works in the events industry does so because they are passionate about what they do.  It is not a particularly highly paid pastime and the hours we work are certainly not very sociable.  But we love it.  Like a highly addictive drug, we get a thrill out of spreading joy by giving people extraordinary experiences through our musical and theatrical entertainment, culinary expertise, unique venues, audio visual displays and floral creations.  We are brilliant at it, world leading in fact.  But we have been stifled and it has caused us all an immense amount of stress.  

© Kathryn Clarke-Mcleod

It has also severely impacted our wonderful clients who have been planning their wedding or celebration for months or years only to have to cancel or postpone without any guarantee if or when their event can take place.  

The impact of COVID 19 on the events industry has also been felt financially. Many of us have been unable to access any of the Governments highly lauded financial support and have been struggling to make ends meet as we juggle ongoing business expenses without any income.    

But that hasn’t stopped us.  Our caterers have been dishing up food to NHS heroes, our florists have been delivering home arrangements and our entertainers have been putting on free virtual shows.  After all the show must go on.  But this doesn’t pay the bills and virtual events can really not replace the multi-sensory human interaction you get from attending a live event.  

© Kathryn Clarke-Mcleod

So what’s happening to get the show back on the road?

The whole events industry breathed a sigh of relief on Friday 4th July 2020 as the UK Government finally announced a date for business events and wedding receptions to return.

After much lobbying from the events community, the UK Government finally gave us the green light to start planning events from 1st August.  Indoor performances, larger event pilots and wedding receptions for up to 30 guests were planned.  

But then we received another bombshell.  On Friday, 31st July, the Prime Minister announced that the number of COVID 19 cases were rising.  The Governments response to this was to change their strategy, causing wedding receptions and indoor events planned between 1st and 15th August to be cancelled.  

This announcement has caused yet more stress, fear and disappointment not only to me and my colleagues across the events industry but to our clients also.  The decision of the Government seems to me nonsensical.  How is it fair to allow holiday makers to travel by plane, train and bus; to allow tourists to travel around the country and stay in hotels; to allow us to eat out in pubs and restaurants in indiscriminate number; and yet not be allowed to gather our families and friends (our bubbles) together for a celebration within a controlled environment?  

© Kathryn Clarke-Mcleod

So my colleagues and I continue to lobby Government in the hope that they will see the impact COVID 19 is having on the events industry and allow us to fully open for business again.  We are also campaigning for additional funds to support the events businesses which will struggle to stay afloat into 2021.  

As an industry, we are well rehearsed in adapting to challenging circumstances.  We are practised at managing risk, crowd control and all matters of health and safety.  All of us have been working hard to put in place any and all measures needed to keep our guests and our workforce safe.  PPE has been ordered, new cleaning regimes formulated and social distancing strategies prepared.  We are just waiting to be told when we can start.    

In the meantime, you can help us.  Be sensible, protect one another, wash your hands and wear face masks and help us avoid a second wave.  The wedding and events industry cannot afford to hang on any longer.  When we do finally get the go-ahead: plan your wedding, set a date for your party, call your colleagues together for a face-to-face conference and design your exhibition stand.  But please listen to the advice, ask your guests and colleagues to follow our instructions, adhere to the guidelines and follow the rules.  

We are ready to open and we can’t wait to see you!

Do you need support with your venue or events?

Let 's start a conversation today

Close Menu

Thank you for subscribing to receive regular news, information and updates from me.

I respect your privacy and will never pass on your details.