Are venues doing enough to understand the needs of event planners? And what effect is this having on the wellbeing of event professionals involved?
That was one of the themes discussed at the recent M&IT roundtable on wellbeing at events, hosted at 30 Euston Square in London.
Chris Richards, director of technical services at Jack Morton, said: “With venues, there needs to be a bit more understanding of what we’re trying to do.
“I spend all my time looking for suppliers. To go to a venue and having to spend 30 per cent more for a preferred supplier… that needs to be turned upside down. We’ve had some bad experiences.
“One of our targets is good relationships with venues because they almost become like another supplier. It’s just a small switch to say ‘We’re going to work with you instead of against you’ and it would be better if they saw that.”
Helen Moon, founder of EventWell, said: “We don’t have standard briefs anymore. It’s about venues understanding how events work for corporate clients. Many venues in the industry are still stuck in bygone times.”
However, it’s not all venues that are stuck in the past. 30 Euston Square invited M&IT to lead the roundtable because wellbeing and mental health has been the key focus on Searcys’ agenda for the past year.
Allan Heard, account director at Searcys, said: “At 30 Euston Square, we work together closely to ensure that both the event organisers we work with, and our team remain happy and motivated. Our team leaders also set a good example by challenging the culture of long work hours in the industry. I speak from experience; it took me 20 years to realise that you don’t need to operate and manage large teams over long and exhausting shifts.”
Siobahn de Vincentiis, sales and marketing manager at 30 Euston Square, explained how there is much that venues can do to help with delegate wellbeing across the services they provide.
“At 30 Euston Square, we are catered and managed by Searcys, who value sustainability and high quality food and service,” she said. “We understand that nutritious, seasonal food is extremely important to keep teams alert during conference and events, and throughout our menus, we only use fresh, seasonal ingredients which have been proven to provide nutritional benefits.
“Our spaces are also geared towards a relaxing environment. We have an exclusive private rooftop terrace for events, while all event organisers and members of the events team are invited to go up there at any time if they feel as though things are getting too much for them. It’s a great little al fresco escape in the city.”
She added that the venue aims to help its clients by working together planning the event, down to the last details.
“We also support through a contingency plan should any unexpected issue arise, and have a very large operations team who are committed to smoothing out any issues; from dietary requirements, dropouts and last minute requests”, she said. “Also, our meeting rooms are equipped with a service button for attendance to clients at all times, which has proven to be helpful when clients can’t leave the room to request support. And when dealing with the unexpected technical challenges, we have a dedicated tech team that is always on hand to assist with any problem in the auditorium, conference rooms or simple meeting rooms.”
Over the past 12 months, Searcys has hosted numerous wellness events which focused on mental-health, healthy living and happiness. Through its Art of Being campaign in January 2019, Searcys partnered with leading nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert (BSc MSc ANutr) and together they developed a nourishing three-course menu for delegates and event attendees. Also, in the last year, Searcys raised awareness for Hospitality Action, a charity which provide support for people who work, or have worked in, the hospitality industry and are suffering from life altering