BEST COVID-19 BOUNCEBACK – (VENUE OR CATERING)
On 24th July 2021, at precisely 16:03, 24 of the world’s most advanced all-electric race cars sparked into life in the south halls of ExCeL London. In doing so, they made history by breathing life into the world’s first indoor/outdoor motor racing circuit.
This, by itself, was a huge achievement and testament to the skills and creativity of the events industry. Yet to achieve this following a two-year global pandemic – undoubtedly the most challenging times to ever hit the sector – is even more impressive.
Whilst last year’s reopening of ExCeL included several debutants and major events at the venue – not to mention playing a crucial role for the NHS as both a hospital and a mass vaccination centre – one of the most complex and rewarding was delivery of London’s inaugural Formula E race.
Aside from gracing the history books and being watched live by 35 million people, this was the catalyst for the return of some 90 live events, condensed into five months, that would prove the ultimate test of teamwork and flexibility and lead to an organiser satisfaction score of 4.73 out of five.
After making it through COVID-19, we were determined to get back to our pre-pandemic level of income and fully operate again. We decided to reinvent ourselves and focus on two priorities:
• to rebuild our current service offers and resourcing to make them more resilient,
• to reengage with customers to rebuild confidence.
To rebuild, we invested in our equipment and our team. Customers can now host a fully hybrid event no matter their delegate numbers. They are supported continuously by our team of professionals, which we are also expanding.
To reengage, we used the foundations we laid last year with our flexible bookings offer, and our award-winning COVID-19 centre. We extended and adapted our offer, kept our centre updated, but also engaged our audience through blogs and videos.
Our efforts paid off as we welcomed 23,861 delegates in 2021 and half-way through 2022, figures show we will do even better. Considering this, we are confident we will achieve our annual £2m+ target.
Finally, we retained our MIA ‘AIM Higher Silver’ accreditation. A major achievement and a sure sign that customers can trust us for a great event experience. All these things make us say that we have bounced back!
Green & Fortune
Independent hospitality company Green & Fortune (G&F) have expertise in retail and events catering, venue sales and management.
Operating within four London venues:
Kings Place, Sea Containers, Rose Court, Central Hall Westminster
The pandemic has proved a huge test. Our team have risen to that challenge and excelled. They pulled together to re-open different parts of the business when required.
Be it working in a restaurant, reopening cafes, running events, or mobilising a new site, the team have turned their hand to everything required. They’ve shown immense flexibility, teamwork and dedication, working at whichever of the four sites required. This one team approach flourished during the pandemic and has become vital to operations.
The needs of clients and safety of delegates came first. To reassure corporate clients that events could take place in-line with Government guidance in a safe environment several initiatives were implemented.
We also launched a brand new site at the start of 2022. Rose Court is a multi-faceted newly refurbished office building with significant capacity, retail and hospitality spaces.
London Metropolitan University
London Metropolitan University Events team have battled the storms of covid and come out stronger, fitter and feistier. Having completed a long overdue restructuring of the team in between the lockdowns, which resulted in a larger Events team structure, our Events Co-ordinators were keen to get back out there. Unfortunately our main venue, the Great Hall, was an NHS Test Centre, and turning it back into an events venue was a challenge, but one which we were able to achieve through collaboration with other departments, suppliers and of course our clients. Our earliest event – local elections for Islington Council, and our biggest events – the Women Installers Together conference, the Oral History Society Conference, and a celebratory staff party for 400 for our Vice Chancellor, all required tenacity, innovation and the dedication to deliver on time, on budget and with a smile. Our team is stronger than ever with one of our Events Co-ordinators having been promoted to Events Manager after 8 years with us, and a number of new roles in our structure now being filled. The future is bright for events and venue hire at London Metropolitan University.
Since 1986, The QEII Centre has been the trusted destination for more than 450 national and international events annually, including press conferences, meetings and global conventions for up to 2,500 delegates.
The venue, which has AIM Secure and We’re Good To Go accreditations, has continued to improve and innovate in all areas of the business – from developing hybrid packages and new catering styles – to providing additional support to clients and enhanced safety measures ahead of the return to face-to-face events.
The QEII Centre has not only met the criteria for Covid-secure accreditations but has gone over and above in its efforts to deliver a safe environment, which has generated trust with clients and helped us to diversify further the types of events we can host such as exams and filming, with the latter increasing exponentially due to an exclusive agreement with Location Collective.