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Make time for space - Ed’s letter



We spent a great deal of time during the pandemic speculating on new normals and future normals and what the old normal was and it appears that now, right now, we might be finding ourselves in a normal. But what does it mean for plotting and planning?


This month Venue Performance founder Peter Heath pointed to a period of stability; past the frenzy of pent-up event demand and the hotel sector is also reporting that, as savings drain and costs continue, a certain stability has been found.


That stability does not come with the ability to forecast, sadly. The hotel sector has suffered for a long time under the cosh of a guest who believes that if they book late, then they’ll get a great deal and the re-education process has not been successful. For hotels, this means a reliance on a good revenue manager, a skill which is now entering the pub sector, with the cost of a pint varying according to the time of order.

As the concept of ‘last orders’ trickles down throughout the day, not just at the end, so do other learnings from hotel-land, most notably the need to look at technology as a friend, not a drag on cash and resources.


There are fewer opportunities to cut back on contact between the customer and teams in, say, a restaurant than a hotel, although it would be fair to say that many of us enjoy ordering and paying on our ‘phones and don’t feel that we’re missing out on service, just missing out on flagging people down.

Where technology can help in the service-heavy industries is more in the backroom, in looking at your space as a whole and working out what works and what does not. As Heath points out, with many people working from home on Mondays and Fridays, there are fewer events being planned on these days.


The spaces, however, remain. And those people working from home may not want to be in the office, but they may not have ideal conditions at home - particularly during the holidays - and may welcome a meeting room to call their own.


Likewise, there are any number of yoga/book/amateur detective groups looking for what used to be called community space, who wouldn’t turn down the chance to throw in some coffee and a white board.


The time for reacting is now, happily, behind us and while planning looks different to how it used to, it’s still possible. For space, if not time.

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