We had very big plans for 2020, I think everybody did. At the start of the year we had almost 40 events scheduled. We made a great start with five great events done, then March arrived and with it the first national lockdown so everything stopped.
In the background everything was far from paused, a massive amount of rearranging dates, emails were flying everywhere!
Looking at social media it was a mix of emotions. For some of us, we still don’t know anybody who has even contracted Covid, yet one person in our team has lost eight friends to this awful disease.
The time to stop talking
We decided to stop communications though social media because we did not know what our guests were facing in their personal lives. Whatever we had to say would be so meaningless and instead any guests that needed any communications about their event bookings I would do this directly with a one on one personal email (no mass group emails were sent either).
Staying in constant touch with the governments briefings, recommendations and guidelines it became clear that our future events would be facing a big change. We set about this with several planning meetings drawing on the skills of the team who have experience in a wide range of professions. Using their professional approaches and applying that to our plan.
The challenge was how do we keep everybody safe and use these changes to enhance the guest experience.
We were fortunate that though 2018/2019 we were planing a special kind of ghost event with very small numbers so applying what we had already learned to become the new normal was not a big step.
I believe we have an extremely detailed plan that covers all of the guidelines, keeps everybody safe enhances the experience and leaves nothing to chance.
We restarted our nights in August and after every event the team leaders hold a meeting about the night, what went well, what could be better, how were our guests.
This approach has taught us even more, really focusing in on the details to ensure our plans cover everything ready for the next night.
Some of the venues are finding the situation really hard to deal with, all of them closed, some laid off experienced staff, some furloughed their entire work force and upon reopening some just cant function.
Where venues are open we are examining their risk plans, their operation how are the venues managing to minimise the risks, its been quite an eyeopener. We have dropped a couple of venues because of unacceptable management strategies, while others are a beacon of light and enhancements, setting an inspirational example to their colleagues and their customers.
The PIGS has always prided itself on its feedback, over the years the repeated phrases are ‘professional and organised‘ there has never been a time that I can remember that these qualities have been called upon so greatly and so this whole retched year has been a journey that we have used to improve, enhance and reflect.
Those BIG plans we had will come, but the priorities right now are our guests.
Stay safe out there !