It’s been a long year for the team at P&J Live, despite the fact that many shows and events were postponed.
Most significantly staff had the task of transforming the venue into a Covid-19 vaccination centre for NHS Grampian. Thanks to VenueShield, the initiative by venue operators ASM Global, the team was able to complete the shift quickly and easily, ensuring safety remained top priority.
Patrick Lynn, Head of Event Management at P&J Live, caught up with us to explain the changes and what lies ahead.
What changes were made to turn P&J Live into a vaccination centre?
The venue has been closed since March 2020 and in December my colleagues in facilities had the task of starting the process of reopening the venue.
This involved bringing back online standard services such as heating, lighting and IT, as well as looking at a substantial deep clean of all areas.
On the events side, from the summer the company had been working with our colleagues across the globe on a project called VenueShield. This has been designed to look at all aspect of reopening, including how we can ensure visitors feel safe and comply with the relevant government guidelines.
Firstly, we looked at how visitors would arrive and make their way through the vaccination process.
Given the space we have at P&J Live, we were able to operate a one-way system and implement over 3,000 elements of signage to direct people and help with social distancing.
For the vaccination areas, we were able to customise our exhibition stands to provide perfect booths which give privacy to the public and vaccinators.
We then focused on cleaning, identifying high touch points throughout the building and ensuring our process for continuous cleaning of all areas could ensure the highest possible hygiene levels.
While there was many other considerations such as security, NHS staff welfare areas, logistic of deliveries of vaccines and NHS supplies, our own P&J Live staff was a major area we had to address.
As many members of staff had been furloughed since April 2020 bringing them back required us to put a number of things in place, including training on Covid-19 and our new procedures, as well as explaining staff roles.
Once this was done we were able to bring people back to get the venue ready and then trial our visitor support role which is made up of staff from every department.
These members of staff are now the backbone of our customer journey work and you will see them when on site, dressed strikingly in bright orange!
How long will P&J Live be a vaccination centre for?
NHS Grampian has been doing a fantastic job of making their way through the cohorts and it’s been a real pleasure to support them in our small way. We are working with them up until the end of August, however this date may move as we are in uncharted territory.
What will need to be done to return the venue to ‘normal’?
The decommission of the area used by the NHS may take some time as what we have built will come out and be deep cleaned. We will then follow on with the areas that have been used being cleaned as a whole.
In the past we tended to look at each event on an individual basis as they could be so bespoke and while this won’t change when we get back to “normal”, we will have different considerations. These may include enhanced cleaning requirements, space for social distancing and just a generally different way of attending events, however it will be great to get back to this stage of planning.
ASM Global as company is working through a plan to ensure that we cover all aspects of the operation during our reopening phase, very similar to that of our launch strategy back in 2019.
What can customers expect from the reopened P&J Live and how will the customer journey differ from before?
We will continue to use the vast space we have to allow for comfortable queuing and potential social distancing should this remain, the continuation of key messaging to sanitise your hands at key points along with our enhanced cleaning of all areas is also vital and will be very visible to our visitors.
We will continue providing clear messaging regarding guidance and protocols depending what’s still in place. During the lead up to events, we will communicate via our social platforms, through Ticketmaster alerts and our website to ensure our visitors are confident and feel safe prior to attending an event.
We understand that the more information we can provide the better, whether that be customer journey videos or general do’s and don’ts, the more information we provide the better, so there are surprises.
What is to come in terms of VenueShield and P&J Live?
As we move forward and venues throughout the world reopen, we are constantly looking at best practice and how we can improve. Every day we are learning new techniques and when things do reopen, we will be in a position to share best practice with our colleagues globally.
One thing that has been vital to tying in with VenueShield is the opportunity that we have had to learn about public behaviour in this new norm. Our visitor support team is out there speaking to the public daily, getting feedback on how people feel about returning, what has caused them concern, what they have liked or what has worked among many other things. Doing this has helped us not only improve the vaccination centre but it provides valuable and vital information for when we come to reopen in the future.
We have also had the opportunity to learn from the NHS and see how they operate. This is something we are able to link back into VenueShield to improve on what we already do
Everyone must be excited to get back to ‘normal’ again, tell us more about this and the events that are now being booked/what we have to look forward to…
It has been over a year since our last event and the P&J Live team is itching to get back to planning concerts, exhibitions, conference and dinner dances. I can imagine the first event will be quite emotional and it’ll be strange seeing large groups of people enjoying themselves again.
This week we added Andre Rieu and Magic Mike the Arena Tour to the diary for 2022 and I know our entertainment team has some exciting stuff coming up over the next few months. But my lips are sealed so stay tuned for some announcements…..
Find out more about the upcoming events, as well as more about VenueShield, at the P&J Live website.