This week (17-21 August, 2020) Searcys central events desk has recorded 40% increase of inbound enquiries compared to the previous five months.
Holly Davies, the sales manager for Exclusive Events says, “We are so delighted to see the enquiries coming in, this is a strong positive sign that the industry is building up slowly but surely”.
As Searcys is reopening its venues, restaurants and bars, our small and enthusiastic team of event professionals from Exclusive Events has been working remotely since 23 March. Their remote work has been enabled by a new technology platform introduced at the start of the year. It allows anyone in the central team check availability, compile presentations, proposals and quotes and arrange virtual showrounds.
Exclusive Events sales manager Holly Davies tell us how she has been adapting to the new normal.
- You have been working remotely for over 5 months now. How do you structure your day?
How do you keep yourself focussed and motivated – Focus on the hard stuff first, never leave the harder tasks until the afternoon! Always take a structured lunch break to keep focused and morning workouts seems to help me a lot. Our small team always catches up first and last thing and organise our diaries and tasks for the day ahead.
- Event confirmation without a showround – what are customers asking about before they commit?
Naturally they have lots of questions around social distancing, food options, flexible terms. We always take time to ‘walk’ an event organiser through a venue virtual tour and also provide support and reassurance.
- Have you conduced any face-to-face showrounds yet?
Yes indeed, our first post-lockdown showround took place at the Saatchi Gallery in the end of July – it was a couple looking a large wedding in the new year – and they confirmed. Searcys has opened its new Brasserie and Bar, available with an open-air terrace for events as small as 15 people up to 100 guests for reception.
- Most unusual request so far?
Can I have my dog attend my wedding?
- What enquiries are you getting at the moment?
We have been pleasantly surprised – throughout the lockdown we have been getting 30 to 40 enquiries a week, vast majority for 2021. However, we have seen an increase in small weddings for 2020.
- What are the event bookers looking for?
Most enquiries are for private events – from weddings to private parties and anniversaries. We have seen several wedding confirmations. Unsurprisingly, we get a lot of interest for our iconic venues, from the stunning Gherkin to the elegant Assembly Rooms in Bath.
- How has the enquiry process changed?
Virtual venue tours are now a must. We speak to event organisers much more, as we take them through their customer journey via videocalls. We are always asked about how social distancing rules will impact the number of guests and the running of the event on the day. We advise you to adapt our invitee list with social distancing in mind. Keep a date in the venue’s diary to secure space. For weddings, don’t forget to speak to the registrar and suppliers to ensure they have got it covered.
- How has Searcys been preparing for the reopenings?
Our health and safety team has been working to adapt our venues, the way we work and serve to make your experience secure and enjoyable. In May, Searcys has developed its COVID-SECURE FRAMEWORK for restaurants and events which can be found here: https://searcys.co.uk/searcys-covid-19-secure-plan/. Socially secure, our COVID-19 SECURE FRAMEWORK protocols at all reopening venues have now been approved by Visit Britain’s We’re Good To Go certificate.
You can find out more about Searcys here: https://searcys.co.uk/