Holding a safer event during Covid-19

RSA House blog

On 13 August, we joined forces with our in-house catering team CH&CO and event booking platform Hire Space to deliver our first successful ‘Safer Event’.

The day was a chance for us to put into practice all the new procedures we’ve been working on over the last few months in order to kick start our events business.

The event was held in accordance with safety guidelines established in the 'Safer Events - A Framework for Action' white paper, in accordance with public health, government and industry body guidance. Twenty members of the Hire Space team joined in-person with ten joining virtually from around the world.

Benjamin Edmonds, Head of Promotions at Hire Space said: “We had a wonderful time coming to RSA House to host our first Safer Event. Seeing all the measures from our white paper come into fruition and work so effectively was brilliant. Working with Laura and the team couldn’t have been easier. They’ve all worked so hard to put a full range of measures in place which has also seen them become accredited as a Safer Venue, and it was evident in our polling of the team after the event that everyone appreciated the measures and felt safe”.

Safety measures were plentiful with the Hire Space team giving an event safety score of 9.2 out of 10 in a post-event survey.

Guests and staff wore masks at all times (except when eating), digital contactless forehead thermometer checks were taken by our reception team on arrival, we ensured all guests maintained two-meter distancing during refreshment breaks when masks were off and plenty of floor markings and signage were placed around the venue ensuring a one way flow of traffic to minimise interaction.

Staggered arrival times were given between 10am-12pm to avoid congestion and guests were encouraged to cycle to avoid public transport. On entry, guests sanitised their hands and were given a ‘Safer Events’ branded hand sanitising wipe and a device enabling them to open doors throughout the venue without touch - a very well thought through gesture, as one of the Hire Space team comments, “Event measures were plentiful which was reassuring. The sanitiser, masks and brass keys at the entrance set the tone of a safe event from the start”.

We launched our new range of safe menus including energising breakfast bags and a delicious Spanish Bento boxes with Charcuterie from Brindisa of Borough Market.

With self-service stations a thing of the past, our team managed all catering service from behind Perspex barriers to minimise shared touchpoints. Overall feedback was great; attendees loved having smart Bento boxes as they said they felt more professional and safer than a standard buffet.

Our new menus include breakfast bento boxes, executive sandwich bags, salad jars and Asian inspired noodle pots.

CH&CO Director of Food, Jeremy Ford, says, “At CH&CO, food is at the heart of what we deliver. We understand the great role food plays in creating a successful event so we’ve developed innovative ways to continue to delight. Now more than ever supporting our supplier communities is integral to our approach. During this time we’ve looked even closer to home to do what we can to support our local suppliers such as Cobble Lane, The Ginger Pig and Knight Frank, known to us as our London Larder. A meal with us supports British farmers and producers”.

The day was facilitated as a hybrid-style event in partnership with Radiance Production, which kicked off with a welcome talk from The RSA’s Charlotte Sumners to give an overview of the building, The RSA’s mission and its current programmes of work, all of which are funded with the help of profits from events held at the House.

Next up, CH&CO’s certified nutritionist, Amanda Ursell joined virtually from Italy to give the team an insight about how what you eat can optimise your immune system and how to combat screen fatigue. The full talk can be seen here. The talks were live streamed which meant all guests in the venue and remotely could hear and see eachother, giving the day an inclusive feel, which was well received by all.

Pete Bradbury, Director at Radiance Production, says, “It was great to be working on a Hybrid Event at RSA House for a company as forward thinking as Hire Space. Hybrid event’s like this are key to reopening the meeting and events industry and giving our audiences confidence. I think we’ll see more of them going forward, they’re much more inclusive for those unable to attend it person and with the right planning, discussion and collaboration from the venue, client and production company they can be really memorable".

So what did we learn? Guests were impressed with the safety measures, but we can’t underestimate how important it is to over-communicate and remember that some people are always likely to break the rules, so there must be processes in place to manage this. We are putting together a pre-event document to share with our event organisers which will prepare all attendees for what to expect when they visit us.

Safety measures may seem sterile at times, but its worth it for sensitive touchpoints such as food. The hybrid set up adds huge value, it’s inclusive and well worth the investment if done correctly.

General Manager of RSA House, Rupert Outram, said, “We had an incredibly constructive day last week hosting our first event of this new era. The team has been working hard over the past weeks to ensure the guest experience was uncompromised whilst keeping everyone in the venue safe, our guests and team alike. The day reassured me that the energy and quality of communication created by face to face meetings is unachievable in a purely screen based meeting, but by being able to offer this style of hybrid event solution it gives businesses (our customers) the option to include those who are unable to attend physically or in cases where companies would like to include a large audiences (beyond room capacity) for part or all of the event. The team and I are really excited to start welcoming people back to the RSA”.

We are thrilled to have recently gained the Hire Space ‘Safer Events’ and Visit England ‘Good to Go’ accreditations.

We have launched a range of new packages, including hybrid event packages, meeting packages, private cinema packages, ceremony-only weddings, intimate weddings and a Vaults wedding party package.

Get in touch

If you are looking to hold a safe event in the coming weeks or months and want to work with a venue that has first-hand experience in this, please get in touch with the RSA House team.

We are currently open to host meetings and weddings for up to 30 guests and all other events from 1 October (pending government guidelines).

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