Hints and tips for booking an event during the pandemic – a venue perspective

posted on Thursday 4 February


Image of a concert with social distancing at Sheldonian Theatre

We’ve put together our top tips offering practical advice from a venue perspective on how to master choosing a venue!

Trying to think about organising an event and choosing a venue for 2021 is enough to make anyone wonder where to start. Whether you are preparing for your postponed events or considering whether to book a new event for later in the year, we are here to help.

Deciding on a venue

  • Support venues you know and trust – they need your custom and will be looking forward to welcoming you back.
  • If you are interested in a venue you haven’t used before, look out for signs that they are trustworthy and flexible and take the plunge! Venues will be delighted to welcome new customers.
  • Use any online tools the venue offers to help you in your selection. Browse the venue images to get a sense of the space, and take a virtual tour if there is one available.
  • Confirm your booking – many venues are struggling with availability due to the backlog of postponed events from 2020.  If you want certain dates, book them with confidence knowing that if the situation dictates, you will be able to postpone or request a refund in the worst-case scenario.

Feeling safe and confident

  • Check out the health and safety credentials the venue has – many dependable venues will have detailed information on their websites, and/or available on request to reassure you. At OUEV we have our Six Step Commitment to Safe Events guide detailing all the new measures we have put in place for you.
  • Look out for accreditations – the events industry has developed a number of new accreditations to demonstrate venues’ commitment to health and safety, such as AIM Secure and Good To Go. Venues have to go through a rigorous process in order to meet the criteria of and achieve these accreditations. Here at OUEV, we are pleased to have achieved both of these.
  • Know where you stand legally – reputable venues will have adapted their terms and conditions of booking to include a pandemic specific clause offering greater flexibility and reassurance. OUEV has sought independent legal advice and worked closely with our in-house legal team to update our terms and conditions of venue hire ensuring your booking is safe and flexible no matter what the future holds.
  • Ensure that your suppliers and venue are on the same page when it comes to health and safety measures, terms and conditions and so on – many venues will have recommended suppliers and therefore will have done this work for you. Trust their judgment.

Thinking about your event

  • Be open with your venue about your ideal scenario for the event, but what the reality might look like should restrictions remain in place that affect your plans – they will have ideas and be able to help you.
  • Be prepared to be flexible – work with your venue on a ‘plan B’, for example, a hybrid event involving both in-person and online attendance.
  • Don’t rule out the venue if you can’t have your attendees on-site at the event – filming and/or streaming from the venue will make a virtual event really stand out

And finally…

  • Have faith and hope – with the vaccine rollout well underway, there is light at the end of the tunnel and events will soon be back!  Don’t miss out!

OUEV has put safety and compliance at the heart of our services. If you would like to find out more, head over to our information pages or say hello at venueenquiries@admin.ox.ac.uk!