Looking forward to Events in a Post Covid world

August 17, 2020

With small events for up to 30 people currently allowed to go ahead at Covid Secure venues, the big question remains, what will large events and conferences be like when they are allowed to go ahead from October 1? Events stopped at the beginning of the lock-down in March 2020 and it seems likely the live events industry, which employs one million people in the UK and is conservatively worth around £100 billion, will be one of the last to recover.

Hampshire is very much open for small events up to 30 people and enquiries for larger events from 1st October 2020 at venues which are Covid Secure, are welcome. Large indoor conferences and events from 1st October are subject to final go ahead following government pilot events currently taking place.

Clearly the way larger business events and gatherings from October will be allowed to take place in a post-Covid world has changed – and organisers need to be prepared. Venue capacities will be reduced. So for example, the Southampton Harbour Hotel, will be able to host 43 people theatre style in their largest room, whereas pre-Covid they could accommodate 250 theatre style. St Mary’s Stadium will be able to host an event for up to 130 guests in a room that usually holds 500.

The usual social interaction during coffee breaks and lunch will be very different. In many cases, catering will be delivered to the meeting room in sealed containers and bags. All delegate attendee information must be captured by each venue for NHS Track and Trace. Many venues are offering complimentary face coverings, temperature checks and all venues have sanitising stations and social distance signage in place to keep meeting delegates safe.

Shirley Wynne-Jones, Event Director at Hampshire Conference Bureau, said: “Enquiries from organisers of events for training and meetings plus larger enquiries for conferences and banquets, mostly for 2021 are being received at the bureau.

“We are working hard to raise awareness that smaller gatherings up to 30 people can take place in Hampshire. Throughout these challenging times I have kept in touch with venue bookers and venues and we are all supporting each other.

“At the same time I have written to our local MPs and Chancellor Rishi Sunak sharing our grave concerns for the future of the live conference and event industry.”

Be assured venues are working hard to make their environments safe and look out for the “Good to Go” mark a standard introduced by Visit Britain and the “All secure Standard

We are here to help, get in touch Enquiries@hampshireconferencebureau.co.uk

Meetings Industry Association calls for urgent meeting with PM

July 16, 2020

Chief Executive of the MIA, Jane Longhurst has written on behalf of association members to Boris Johnson warning of the consequences of not re-opening the UK conference and event industry which is worth £70bn to the economy each year.  Many venues and exhibition halls remain empty, and despite the PM advising we would have a timeline for re-opening last week, there is still no news.

An Open Letter to:
Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden
Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage Nigel Huddleston

As a country we have come a long way in the fight against COVID-19 and as a Government you have done a brilliant job of gently reopening sectors that will help the nation get back to business.

The most recent opening of the hospitality sector and visitor attractions closely followed by gymnasiums, cinemas and beauty salons are clearly welcome as another step towards recovery.

But you have missed one fundamental element of the whole reopening process. To ensure a thriving economy in cities throughout the UK, you need to reopen the business meetings and events industry, which delivers £70billion to the economy and employs over 700,000 highly skilled individuals.

In failing to do this, city hotels will not fill bedrooms, restaurants will have empty tables and the resulting redundancies will be catastrophic for cities like Liverpool, Newcastle and Manchester – all of which heavily rely on business events to underpin their local economy and jobs.

The redundancies will be far reaching and far beyond the 30,000 predicted by the business meetings and events sector. You will see many thousands more when hotels, nail bars, gymnasiums, public houses and restaurants start to fail because the crucial local economic contribution of business meetings and events are no longer propping up their businesses. The once desolate high unemployed city centres that now heavily rely on business events, will start to become boarded up again.

You are re-building the economy without consideration to its resilience. Instead, your first step should have been to deliver the economic catalyst that is needed to ensure restaurants and hotels have customers.

As a sector we are ready. We have demonstrated through our roadmap to reopening, which you have signposted in your Visitor Economy Guidance, that we can open and operate safely. Safety always has, and always will be, at the forefront of everything we do. Across the UK, wherever organised and planned events take place, robust health and safety standards and risk assessments are always in place – it’s what we do every working day.

We can open in a phased way. The first phase, conference and meetings venues, have been busy implementing the Government’s Guidance and have a specially prepared App enabling us to track and trace all delegates. We can even link this to NHS Test and Trace if that will help provide added assurance.

There are so many lessons that government can learn from initially reinstating business meetings that can then provide insight and learnings for other larger live activities such as major sporting, leisure or cultural events.

Operators and the supply chain are already making difficult long-term decisions on their future business models and workforce. To enable us to safeguard jobs and help re-build the economy, we just need a reopening date.

We cordially request an urgent meeting to discuss how we can support the reopening plans with a phased approach that will ensure the safety of all.

Jane Longhurst

Chief Executive of the mia


HCB Visits Old Thorns

March 30, 2020

On Friday 13th March 2020 Rachel and Kiera from the bureau were invited along to Old Thorns for an overnight stay on their in-house Fam Trip. They’d like to share a venue review with our readers!

Old Thorns is located in Liphook, Hampshire and is an enviable country location, situated just minutes from the A3 and 30 minutes from M25, offers a whole host of opportunities for many event on one estate.


Re-scheduling Events- Help & Advice

March 29, 2020

The Corona Virus as put events across the world on hold.  It’s a tough time for everyone working in this sector and there is no clear end to the current national lockdown however the message coming from industry professionals is “keep moving and don’t be afraid to lock in dates”.


Over £100M of opportunity announced for #VFS20 Festival of Innovation

February 13, 2020

The fourth annual #VFS20 Festival of Innovation is celebrating the hugely increased opportunity for its 2020 event on March 27 at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton.
One of the fastest-growing innovation communities in the UK, Venturefest South, will be presenting the unmissable #VFS2020 Festival of Innovation which is set to be the most impressive yet, with a confirmed over £100m of funding and investment opportunities, Over 1000 visitors as expected to access and unparalleled connections with innovators, investors and entrepreneurs.


Venturefest South brings home a major award for its 2019 showcase #VFS19

December 24, 2019

Everyone at Venturefest South HQ is celebrating winning a major industry award in the ‘Best Event’ category at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ (CIPR) PRide Awards recently held in Bristol.


Oakley Hall Hotel are extremely proud to share the outstanding result of their latest AA Hotel Services Inspection which took place in June 2019.

August 22, 2019

Oakley Hall Hotel is an impressive 18th century manor house set within 315 acres of stunning grounds. (more…)

Portsmouth Guildhall plays host to industry leading maritime conferences

July 3, 2019

Cementing a long and affluent relationship with the maritime and corporate industries in Portsmouth, the Guildhall has opened its doors to three leading industry conferences already this year. (more…)

Hunt or be Hunted experience at Chewton Glen

June 5, 2019

Last month we were incredibly lucky to be invited to the Stunning Hotel that is Chewton Glen, to take part in an adrenaline pumping event ‘Huntor be Hunted’. (more…)

The Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre (FIECC) is celebrating a successful first year of its £30million venue.

April 11, 2019

Celebrating the first birthday of Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre’s Venue – it’s been a real success. (more…)