We are seeing an increased pattern of interest from our clients on “What is going on in the events world?”, “How are companies feeling about booking events?” and “Are others booking live events?”. So we wanted to share some of our thoughts with all of you to try and offer you a little more certainty.
Whilst there remains some uncertainty as to the future restrictions on business events, the Government has recently stated that they see no current reason to doubt that we will remain on track to hit the roadmap dates already set out. We hope that the following guidance is useful in setting out the latest position and, more importantly, we have also given you a feel for what our clients at both Story and our colleagues at Venue Search London are actually doing to get back to live events.
Recent trends in live event bookings
There is no doubt that we are all operating in unknown territory here, but we have been very encouraged by the volume of and enthusiasm for live events later this year.
The overall picture remains, unsurprisingly a mixed one. We have some clients booking summer staff parties in late June and early July, whilst others are currently hesitant about securing their Christmas party venues in December, but are still holding dates at key venues.
With regard to conferences, we continue to deliver virtual events in the near term to satisfy our clients needs for effective communication, loyalty and wellness over the final months of lockdown. With event plans later in the year, many are looking at live events with hybrid live streaming options available in case of potential changes in guidelines and to reach wider audiences and those that may continue to work from home.
To summarise, we definitely see excitement building in September with clients confidence that live events will return safely by then, but with effective postponement and cancellation clauses offering them protection in case of any changes to the regulations. We expect confidence to build as the lockdown eases and society returns to a greater sense of normality over the coming weeks.
The Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP) has said that the success of planned pilot events will determine whether or not Covid-19 testing will be required for events once the economy is reopened on the conditional date of 21 June.
The Government has announced details of the pilot events to be held in Liverpool, which includes a business event as part of the Events Research Programme (ERP). The review will be crucial to how venues such as exhibition and conference centres could operate this summer.
The pilots will explore how different approaches to social distancing, ventilation and test-on-entry protocols could ease opening and maximise participation, including the use of lateral flow tests – but not so-called ‘vaccine passports’.
The roadmap for business events
In the last few days, the DCMS has updated its guidance of the next two steps of the Roadmap and the implications for business events.
Step 3 – Events from 17 May
From 17 May, indoor events and all remaining outdoor events can recommence subject to meeting Covid-secure requirements including social distancing, which is 1m + in ventilated spaces.
Business events such as conferences, exhibitions and tradeshows, charity auctions, and private dining events such as charity or gala dinners and awards ceremonies, and corporate hospitality will be permitted from this date. Organisers must take reasonable steps to limit the risk of transmission, completing a related risk assessment, and adhering to all legal requirements.
Step 4 – From 21 June
With appropriate mitigations in place, by Step 4, the Government aims to remove all legal limits on social contact and enable all events to proceed without capacity restrictions. This will be strictly subject to the Government review of the latest available data on the impact of the previous step against their four tests and potentially using testing to reduce the risk of infection, subject to further evaluation.
On the next stages, the BVEP has stated: “Therefore, the degree of relaxation of social distancing and other non-pharmaceutical interventions will be determined by the pilot test events to be held during April, with the results incorporated into the Step 3 and 4 reopening guidance”.