Both event creators and attendees are justifiably excited for the UK reopening plan for live events. Naturally, however, there are some concerns about the extra costs that organisers may face when complying with all of the COVID-19 rules and regulations. Not sure what expenses “the new normal” will involve? We’ve compiled a (non-exhaustive) list of some of the most important things to factor into your budget when planning a post-pandemic event. Remember that you’ll need to comply with the latest government guidelines when planning and hosting any in-person event right now.

1. Hiring extra staff

Perhaps one of the most important extra costs you will need to consider is hiring extra security staff. Security can help to enforce the likes of social distancing measures and other restrictions and help to make attendees feel safe. If you feel it wouldn’t be appropriate to have security staff at your event, then consider hiring a few COVID-19 marshalls or allocating other staff members to collect track and trace details upon entry.

2. Keeping it clean

Another important cost in your COVID plan is what you’ll spend on cleaning to keep up hygiene standards. This could include hiring extra cleaning staff and equipment, buying strong disinfectants, and installing sanitising stations throughout the venue. You’ll need to pay particular attention to high-contact areas such as toilets, bars, tabletops, and door handles.

3. Going contactless

Of course, a great way to eliminate high-contact areas is to introduce contactless measures at your event wherever possible. This could mean implementing low-cost adjustments like using a wedge to prop doors open, avoiding the need for touch. If you’re really committed to a contactless event, then you might consider investing in more high-cost solutions, such as contactless payment technology, scannable tickets, thermometers at entrances, and touch-free flushes, taps, and dryers in toilets.

4. Using more space

If you’re worried about capacity and social distancing at your event, then you may want to consider switching to a larger venue. More space means it will be easier for attendees to keep apart, limit contact, and feel safe. Another worthwhile investment is the creation of one-way systems in order to prevent unnecessary contact. This could include temporary fencing, cordons, and signage.

5. Spending on signage

Speaking of signage, it’s worth getting COVID-19 safety signs to help remind attendees and staff of how they can comply with event and government guidelines. This could include signs that point out when and where it’s necessary to wash hands and wear face coverings. Floor markers can also be used as helpful visual aids to mark out social distancing boundaries.

6. The value of ventilation

Given the evidence that COVID-19 can be transmitted through the air, keeping your venue well-ventilated should be a top priority in any risk assessment for event planning. Some indoor venues can be adequately ventilated by simply keeping windows and doors open. However, if your event is mostly inside or fully in an enclosed space, then you might want to consider investing in a high-quality ventilation system to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

7. The more PPE, the better

The levels of personal protective equipment (PPE) required for both staff and attendees will vary depending on the nature of the event. Visors, gloves, aprons, and face coverings are usually an absolute must for event staff preparing and distributing food and drink, for example. Having extra PPE on hand for both staff and attendees is also a great strategy. By stocking extra face coverings at the entrance, you can easily avoid situations where event-goers might miss out on your event because they forgot to bring one.

8. Time for testing

To help make sure your event is as safe as possible, consider sending COVID-19 tests to staff and attendees a few days before the date of your event. You could also set up testing stations with rapid lateral flow testing outside your venue. This allows you to give guests quick results before entering.

9. Cancellation costs

If the worst-case scenario happens and you need to cancel your event, then it’s wise to have some resources put by. Some costs associated with cancellation include providing guests with refunds as quickly as possible and paying vendors when it’s impossible to postpone or reschedule, keeping a good relationship with both of these groups. The industry has been asking for government-funded initiatives to cover COVID-19 event cancellation, but there’s no news on that front yet.

Maximise your profits

If you hadn’t previously considered most of these hidden costs, don’t panic. There are many ways you can make up for them by maximising your event’s profitability. The good news is that the current climate means most partners will be more understanding, so try negotiating flexible contracts with suppliers and booking venues that don’t involve significant upfront deposits. You could also try securing lucrative sponsors who can cover some expenses.

Another option is to cut marketing costs by growing your audience with a hybrid strategy and utilising the strong community that you’ve built over the past year.

Finally, take the pressure off by using our social distancing and contactless tools to create your COVID-safe events. For an in-depth look at how to run your events smoothly and safely, check out our Event Safety Playbook. Don’t forget to stay on top of the latest government guidelines for successful event hosting.

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