By Rianna Spray
Tips for running events post-pandemic
Over lockdown, iconic Manchester hotel The Midland underwent a major refurbishment project, which was unveiled following the announcement that hospitality venues could reopen in the UK. A major investment for our client Leonardo Hotels, the consumer team was tasked with the challenge of hosting an all-singing, all-dancing launch party, to show off the property’s new look to key press, corporate guests, local celebrities, and social media influencers, once restrictions had eased.
Inviting over 300 guests to attend seemed a little daunting after months spent indoors and socialising in groups of six. Safe to say it was challenging, but mostly exciting for the consumer team to be back planning in-person events once more.
Taking place in mid-October, the event was a huge success, with over 250 local movers and shakers flocking to view the hotel’s new look. Our team worked closely with The Midland’s F&B team to curate ‘Taste of The Midland’ canapés for guests to sample; food from The French, new on-site restaurant Mount Street and the hotel’s famous Tea Room, said to serve the best afternoon tea in Manchester, were available to try. Throughout the evening, music and entertainment were provided from the hotel’s in-house string quartet, before Manchester’s own Howard Donald took to the decks for a lively DJ set.
Here are some top tips for hosting events in a post-pandemic world.
Back it up!
Every events team should have a back-up plan, especially in the current climate. When planning the relaunch for The Midland, the consumer team had planned out three different versions of the event (physical, hybrid and virtual) that could be switched out quickly and easily if needed.
Not only do different event models need to be considered, but so do contingency plans for event supplies if a physical event is cancelled at the last minute. For example, what will you do with any catering that has been made for the event? Can this be turned into mini hamper gifts for invitees? It’s important to think on your feet now more than ever.
Thorough Guest List & Check-Ins
In the current age of Covid, event organisers are more accountable than ever for knowing exactly who is in the room. Gone are the days of offering multiple plus ones, noted down as just that. To help keep track of exactly who was in the room at what time, the team invested in a digital checklist app called Guest Manager. Apps like this help to monitor check-in and check-out times for each guest and store all contact information should it be needed.
The past 18 months has taught us that we never know what’s around the corner. When planning events and securing suppliers, ensure that there are available refunds or flexibility clauses in the booking, should the event need to be postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19. This information is still missing from a surprisingly large number of contracts, so be sure to add this in where needed.
One of the biggest challenges of the last 18 months has been being apart, but one of the highlights now, is seeing people come together again and thinking of innovative ways to keep in-person events running. After a successful re-launch of The Midland Hotel, the consumer team is very much looking forward to planning more in-person events in the coming months.