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HOW TO CHOOSE AN EVENT VENUE IN THE PANDEMIC REALITY

Whether you are planning a wedding, a corporate retreat or a concert, choosing a venue to host your event is one of the most important decisions you will have to make.   Several factors including your budget could be key influencers in finally zeroing down on a specific venue. 

You may have to consider the location of the venue – how easily accessible it is from the city/airport so your guests can arrive and leave effortlessly.  You would surely want a place with adequate room capacity to comfortably seat your all your intended guests.  Services and amenities provided by the venue will also be a vital factor; it would be convenient to have things like catering, AV equipment, arrangements, setup, etc. ,taken care of so you can sit back and enjoy the event.  Another decision maker would be the ease of parking and movement for guests and service providers.  And if the venue has an in-built ambience to match your vision for the event, it most definitely would be an advantage.

However, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the most crucial factor in choosing a venue would be your own health and safety and that of your guests.  This takes precedence over all other considerations.

How can one know if a venue is safe enough host an event?  You might want to look into a number of critical elements listed below while choosing a venue to host your event.

Venue Layout: Just choosing a space that suits your attendee size or your fits your budget may be insufficient in the pandemic season.  A venue should have ample space (both indoor and outdoor) to strategically layout an event so crowd pockets can be minimized.   Lots of separate spaces will do you good if you are conducting an event with various activities happening at once.  If you want everyone congregating in one hall ensure everything is spaced out such that it lends to promoting safety, reducing risks and increasing confidence.

Safety & Hygiene Protocols:  A venue that adheres to prescribed preventative COVID-19 safety practices should be your first choice.  Frequent venue sanitization mechanisms, thermal scanning devices at entry points, signages that checklist staff/guest safety etiquette, and hand-sanitization points at strategic locations is a must-have layer of security so people can calmly attend without health-related anxieties. 

Cleaning Protocols:  Another decision criterion would be to check if the venue is pulling out all the stops to put together a comprehensive cleanliness programs to ensure the safety of guests.  Some venues are committed to safety and have dedicated time and effort in educating staff on following heightened cleaning procedures before, during and after an event. During your venue tour, watch out for labels/signs that indicate the frequency at which equipment are cleaned, especially those high-touch items that are used multiple times by multiple people.

Crowd Management Services:   Managing the movement of people in and around your event is paramount to ensuring that social distancing guidelines are maintained at all times.   Having your guests policed around is a strict no-no as people can take offense.  Instead, check if your venue plugs into the package crowd control strategies like providing barriers and having trained professionals to gently prevent people from queuing up or milling around.  This would not only reduce the anxiety and the chaos but would also boost the overall event experience.

Moving to Hybrid: Venues that amalgamate the live with the virtual is fast becoming the order of the day in an uncertain post-pandemic world.  Choosing a venue that is physically and technologically ready for hybrid events is a wise bet.  This throws open a plethora of opportunity, including extending your event out to a larger number of attendees, engaging experiences for both online and offline audiences, networking opportunities and the bringing home a treasure of event data that would be beneficial for the future.

There is a lot to consider when choosing your event venue amidst the pandemic; however, if you take into consideration the above recommendations at the planning phase of your event, you no doubt will find a venue that is perfect for you.  Acting responsibly at the onset will be key to preventing any health and safety mishaps during or post the event. Remember the goal is to keep you stress-free and focusing on the event while the venue teams focus on the logistics of keeping you and your guests safe and healthy.

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