We organised three panel discussions on the reopening of the cultural sector during which 12 venue professionals discussed their planning. And although they all have a unique experience and a different kind of venue, there are some key takeaways they all agree on. We have listed them below just for you!
What our panelists have in common is that they have planned their reopening thoroughly. Most of them take a cautious approach and go for a step-wise reopening or hold of their reopening for some time.
The venue managers really have safety and security at the heart of everything they’re doing right now and want to make everyone feel as comfortable as possible. The key is to reopen in stages and start with a minimum of seats and as everyone gets more comfortable, move on to the next step. They want to make sure both staff and public are on board!
Nobody has experienced this new way of working before, so staff management and recruitment has been a massive learning curve for our speakers.
They noticed that some of their staff members are excited to come back, but others are rather nervous. Which is why for many of the venue professionals the first priority is to make staff feel safe and comfortable by creating a defined set of rules regarding social distancing.
It turns out that getting the staff back on site is not easy either, as some of them have become comfortable at home by now. And while some team members felt fine being furloughed, this was not the case for everyone. Communication and checking in with staff proved to be extremely important, but was definitely challenging.
The key to many of these challenges turned out to be technology! Digital tools can help improve internal communication. So, plans have been made to train staff to raise confidence with those tools.
Above all, it was impressive to hear how our panelists did not throw in the towel! Even though they were forced to close their venues, many saw this as an opportunity. Venue managers often want to carry out changes, but usually lack the time to do so. For many, this was the perfect moment!
We noticed in particular a massive shift towards the online world and digital tools. Venues went fully e-ticket and started using QR-codes and scanners. Some started paying more attention to data capture and others transformed their entire customer journey into a digital experience.
Obviously, our panelists also adjusted their venues to COVID research so they can guarantee a safe experience. New ventilation systems were installed, safe flows were created and some even had a complete outdoor venue built!
If you would like to gain more insight into the planning and experiences of our panelists, be sure to watch the webinars! They’re available on demand, so you can watch them whenever suits you.