Small and large venues have been dramatically hit by the pandemic. From a small bar that runs live gigs to make a few hundred dollars in a night to a supersized arena that can make several thousand $ per night, the loss of profits during the pandemic is undeniable. More importantly, it’s not something any venue owner could have prepared for, which makes the survival of the business more challenging. There is no backup plan for a pandemic.
Unfortunately, many small venues have been forced to shut down permanently as business owners have been left with no option to recover losses and protect their livelihood. Venues that have now reopened are still facing challenges linked to situation’s safety measures. As a result, it is impossible for venues to organize an XXL gig in the hope of raising funds and recovering for the pandemic drop. Social distancing will reduce crowd options significantly for venues of all sizes. More likely, small venues will need to wait until it’s safe to arrange social gatherings again.
Additionally irrational fear will presumably slow activities down, as spectators and customers prefer to stay at home rather than book tickets or a conference room. Making it work to recover the pandemic losses is crucial for the survival of venues. But it is a path paved with pandemic-shaped obstacles.
Keep an overview of the business
Venues can’t afford to leave anything to chance. When they are ready to host gigs, they also need to find a venue management software solution that provides a total overview of all potential risks and friction points. Managing staff accordingly to health risks implies knowing when and where visitors are. Saving time in preparation and organization is crucial to introduce the appropriate safety measures and sanitizing solutions at the relevant contact points. For instance, event-based businesses, such as conference rooms, need a clear overview of how many guests each room is likely to welcome to ensure they can maintain social distancing throughout the venue. Additionally, for simultaneous events, effective planning will need to schedule catering and visitors passage throughout the day to avoid crowd formation.
Don’t assume what customers want
The biggest mistake that venues can make is to rely on their knowledge of audience groups from BEFORE the pandemic. Finding out who your customers are and what they want today is a priority. You can’t rebuild your business venue on inaccurate knowledge. Your customers are now aware and expect companies to show reassuring measures on the matter. They do not want to go back to the way things were because the risks of contagion and spread are still a reality. On the contrary, they expect businesses to establish a network of trustworthy and reliable suppliers who work to reduce health risks and improve the post-pandemic experience. Customer services in a post-lockdown venue should make safety a priority, which means simplifying the cancellation process for anxious customers, offering rescheduling options to reduce risks, and showing understanding and patience.
Add a twist on venue merchandising
When it comes to gig, concert, and conferencing venues, businesses can use merchandising products to drive income. How much does a business venue receive from the sale of merchandising products? Gig and concert venues that sell artist merch pay the artist a percentage of the revenue – typically 30%. The venue will also charge fees for selling merch. In the wake of the the new world, merchandising can take a different direction, providing not only branded items but also diversifying the collection. Conferencing venues, for instance, can add branded masks with the logo of the company hosting the conference. Hand sanitizers can also be sold on-site, with or without a branded imagery. Pandemic merch may seem like a bad taste strategy. However, participants are more likely to buy and wear branded personal protection, reducing health risks.
Avoid food that can be shared
The age of open buffet is over – at least for now. As long as risks linger, it isn’t safe to provide catering options where customers can share food portions. Contamination can spread rapidly through food; all it takes is for a virus-carrier to touch food or produce moisture droplets that will coat the surface of the food. Sneezing and coughing are typically identified as high-risk spreaders. However, saliva droplets can escape when you speak to people and find their way into plates and buffet bowls. Instead, single portion food that is pre-packed is a viable and manageable option to limit risks. If food items are packed directly on site, the venue should also ensure that the serving staff receives the appropriate training to handle food safely.
Test, test, test
There is only so much a venue can control when it comes to virus spread. It is impossible to test every customer or visitor as they come to your business. However, you can adapt your security routines to help your staff and customers stay safe. One of the primary symptoms of a is fever, which means that finding a way of measuring people for signs of elevated temperatures can prevent many issues. Thermal imaging CCTV can bring a quick and practical approach to managing and eliminating most risks. With thermal monitoring, you can rapidly identify people who have a fever, and peek them off-site.
You can also run weekly tests for your team as a way of avoiding involuntary contamination. Not every carrier develops a fever or any symptom. Running tests for the team ensures asymptomatic patients don’t slip through the net!
Change the VIP package
Concerts and other open venues sell VIP packages, which can offer special services and access to private areas in the venue. VIP concert goers, for example, can gain access to the backstage area. However, reducing physical interactions and proximity means that you have to reassess your VIP package with risks in mind. VIP tickets could swap face-to-face meetings with a video conference with their favorite star. Photoshoots with a celebrity can turn into a recorded Zoom call for visitors to take back home.
It is unlikely for venues to recover their pandemic losses any time soon. However, adapting their business to introduce new safety measures and strategies can offer a new path to survival. The way venue companies cope with the pandemic fear and restrictions today will influence their survival in the long term.