Showrounds and venue visits are a vital part of the decision-making process when it comes to choosing a venue for an event.

Pre Covid-19, RIBA were hosting on average 25 face-to-face showrounds per month, with a conversion rate of 62%. However, when when the venue had to close its doors in March, the team worked hard (and quickly) to create a virtual tour to ensure potential clients could still have access to RIBA at 66 Portland Place so they could see for themselves exactly what the venue has to offer.

For many clients and agents, still images or brochures are just not enough to give a feel for the space or to imagine what could be achieved. Virtual tours and showrounds provide the perfect alternative to navigate event bookings during Covid-19, enabling clients to see the spaces first-hand and understand how they could work for their next event. But, as with a physical showround, it’s important you get the most out of your hour in the venue with the event manager, so RIBA have put together some top tips on what to consider:

  • Send over your brief for the event prior to the showround. If the event manager knows the type of set up, you require, they can send supplementary images of similar event setups or even ‘mock’ up the seating arrangement for you to see during the virtual tour
  • Highlight any of the specific spaces you’ve seen online or in the brochure that you think might work for your event and ask the event manager to walk you around the entire space so you can get a feel for the size of the room, as well as seeing any of its unique features up close as you consider theming and décor options.
  • Ask if you can be taken through the delegate journey as they would experience on the day so you can see how guests will be greeted on the day, as well as the route they will take as they head to the event space
  • Ask lots of questions! Use the opportunity to ask the event manager about previous events that have been hosted there and how the space was transformed, as well as any quirky facts about the venue and of course, the Covid compliant procedures that will be in place
  • See if it is possible to speak to the catering team or any specific suppliers on the same virtual tour so you can understand the options available if you were to go ahead and host your event at the venue
  • Ask about additional collateral that you can view post-tour such as brochures, videos, images of previous event setups etc. to help you make a final decision
  • Don’t be shy about asking for another virtual showround or tour if you have more questions or want to see the space again!

Virtual showounds may have been an enforced strategy for many, but they’ve become a mainstay and there are so many benefits of being able to view a venue virtually from your desk as we navigate the new ‘normal’ of events.