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Published on Monday, March 15, 2021

HBAA calls for lifting of ban on venue site inspections

Meetings, events and accommodation industry association HBAA is calling for the UK government to urgently lift the current ban on venue site inspection visits.

This is delaying and preventing meeting and event bookings and blocking the industry's return to business.

This topic was raised at the HBAA Let's Talk Business Event last week. Beckie Towle, founder of The Events Raccoon and HBAA Marketing Director, was one of the agency members who hosted a session with venue members.

Their discussion revealed that while some venues offer virtual tours, it is not sufficient to progress enquiries and provisional bookings to confirmations or contracts being signed.

"Our industry is facing a colossal problem because clients are not willing to sign an event contract without a site inspection and the government's latest roadmap does not permit site visits until 17 May at the earliest, despite venues adhering to strict Covid-safe policies," said Des Mclaughlin, Managing Director of Meet Events and HBAA Strategy Director.

"There is also a real disparity in the guidelines between industries which the government must address immediately. Estate agents have been permitted to conduct house viewings throughout this last lockdown. So why is there still a ban on organised and controlled visits to venues?"

Venue members also said there is a need to promote flexible terms to clients, and that ease of service and agreeing realistic timelines for responses is important.

There is also a willingness from venues to work with agencies on contracts and establish open lines of communication to secure client confidence and commitment.

"The government must now act quickly to remove the roadblocks in our path because, now we are starting to see customer demand, it is critical for our sector to get back to business before it's too late," Mclaughlin added.


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