BEST CLIENT SUPPORT DURING COVID-19
Chelsea Football Club
As well as being a football powerhouse, Chelsea Football Club is a leading events venue with a unique footballing heritage. Stamford Bridge is a versatile hospitality destination with spaces for exhibitions, conferences, meetings, and dining. When the pandemic hit the event industry that is worth £84bn to the economy, we realised that innovation and leadership were needed to help ensure our sector could emerge from Covid-19.
During the early-mid stages of the pandemic we developed innovative solutions that supported our clients and protected our revenues. We amended our standard contracts, giving clients the flexibility to reschedule events hit by Covid-19 restrictions free of charge, which saved the business £803,153. We introduced 3D-virtual-tours enabling our event spaces to be viewed remotely and overhauled our catering with menus innovatively re-designed for the safe production and delivery of food.
Our ‘Reconnect – Power of People’ hybrid event showed exceptional leadership in helping our industry bounce back from Covid-19. The event bought sector leaders together on 25th May to debate key issues the industry faces through panel discussions and interactive polls. As well as helping to set a way forward for the industry, ReConnect demonstrated how successful hybrid events can be.
etc.venues is the UK’s leading provider of non-residential meeting and event venues with 17 locations across the UK and US. However, what really sets us apart isn’t our venues; it’s our people. Our sales office remained open throughout the challenges of last year with our ‘Dream Team’ of 15 working from home. By listening to clients and adapting to the ever-changing landscape, they developed new business opportunities and stronger client relationships during a truly demanding year.
The Dream Team engaged with key clients and partners in an empathetic manner and, embracing technology, online tools and 360 tours, retained a remarkable number of clients. By adapting to meet new challenges and creating bespoke solutions, the team won new contracts from existing clients like the NHS and HMCTS. The team identified an opportunity to further support their clients with the evolving hybrid meetings space. By listening to clients, it became clear that there was confusion. Working with suppliers, The Dream Team researched a broad range of hybrid tech options to provide three best-in-class solutions. These include a video conferencing ‘Room in a Box’ solution, a ‘Hybrid Event Platform’ and, for serious wow factor, the ‘Green Screen Studios’.
How to reassure, support and inform clients during the pandemic? How to reach out to them? These were some of our biggest questions during the pandemic. From the very start, we established a transparent and honest communications with our clients. We also wanted to give them options and always make sure they could enjoy flexible terms of booking. Beyond conversations and reassurance, we also provided them with valuable information, on our online COVID-19 resource centre, for example.
We were also able to maintain great customer service during the pandemic thanks to our values and commitments. We value our staff and pay them fairly in line with our 3Ps approach: People – Planet – Profit. In return, staff are really committed to go the extra mile for clients. With added training focusing on the customer journey in Covid times, they were also equipped to return to work confidently and provide a great service in such a changed environment for events.
The QEII Centre is the largest dedicated conference and exhibition space in central London and, since opening in 1986, has served as a trusted destination for hundreds of high-profile events, spanning press conferences, meetings, exhibitions and global conventions for up to 2,500 delegates, including the Commonwealth & Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2018 and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in 2019.
After being the first venue in the UK to have a delegate attend an event, who was subsequently diagnosed with COVID-19 a few days later, the QEII set an industry precedent swiftly and proactively implementing innovative solutions to support and cater for the changing needs of its clients.
The leading events venue, which traditionally hosts more than 450 national and international events each year, has gone above and beyond to support its clients despite in-person events not being able to take place since March 2020.
As a result, their flexible approach has seen QEII continue to uphold strong relationships with clients and the confirmation of 23 events worth £600k and nine further events worth £210k to be confirmed. Enquiry levels have also remained high – which is testament to its excellent reputation.
RSA House is a multi-functional events venue in Westminster, combining Georgian grandeur with modern facilities providing 11 private spaces for hire. The team capitalised on spare time during the pandemic by investing in refurbishing seven event spaces and new audio-visual capabilities to ensure facilities were market leading for the return to live events. Throughout the last 18 months the team demonstrated upmost flexibility and empathy when dealing with over 150 event postponements and cancellations, introducing flexible T&Cs and keeping a fair policy throughout. Having won bronze for best venue customer service in 2019, this shone through even more in recent times and the team has excelled at putting their clients’ best interests at the heart of every situation, offering emotional and practical support to those clients who needed it. Despite the significant reduction of 25 staff to a core team of five, they have pulled together to help support one another along the way, in order to support their clients, including a wedding that was delivered with just three days’ notice. The team have curated case study events and useful documentation around Covid-safe events and have led the way with informative webinars, all of which have benefited the industry.