• September 14, 2020

Venue accreditations: how to pick the right one for you

Venue accreditations: how to pick the right one for you

Venue accreditations: how to pick the right one for you 973 600 mustbeonit

With the arrival of the Coronavirus pandemic (and the subsequent banning of events), this year has been a unanimously tough one for event organisers and venues alike. But as lockdown measures are gradually eased, a whole new conundrum has presented itself for venues in the sector – which safety accreditations to get to build confidence in your clients?

In the absence of clear government guidance tailored to the needs and capabilities of our sector, a number of key industry players have taken matters into their own hands by creating their own safety accreditations. These not only provide crucial guidance on keeping employees and consumers safe, but they also help to build that all-important consumer confidence in returning to face-to-face events.

To help you get your head around the different options available, we’ve taken a look at what’s out there and drawn up a list of the pros and cons of each.

Safer Events
By Hire Space
Cost: £125-£950 + VAT

Hire Space’s Safer Events accreditation was created in consultation with dozens of venues, corporate events teams and public health bodies, incorporating guidance from BECTU, HM Government and the World Health Organisation amongst others. The measures that event organisers and venues need to take to qualify for ‘Safer Event’ status are detailed in Hire Space’s free white paper and all applications are reviewed by independent assessors.

Hire Space’s is the only accreditation available for venues and organisers alike, allowing both to work together using the same measures. The measures are guided by a group of over 50 senior corporate event planners, who have laid out what they expect from venues. And Hire Space were involved in drafting government guidance on venue re-openings, so they are likely clued up on how ministers are thinking.

All Hire Space accreditations come with access to a CDP certified digital training hub, endorsed by corporate association the EMA and the Delegate Wranglers, designed to equip professionals with the knowledge they need to hold events safely post-COVID.

Pros:

  • Collaboration between venues, corporate planners and agencies
  • Measures reviewed and updated weekly
  • Every venue and event organiser is independently assessed
  • Measures are publicly available, to inspire confidence in delegates
  • Includes association-backed digital safer events training hub
  • Pay after accreditation has been achieved
  • Free initial consultation and advice, and delegate communication resources
  • Entirely online

Cons:

  • Individual event accreditation designed for events for up to 500 attendees

Safe, Clean and Legal
By Quality in Tourism and HBAA
Cost: £300-£750

 HBAA is collaborating with Quality in Tourism to promote its Safe, Clean and Legal accreditation. As an established accreditation body for hospitality and tourism businesses, Quality in Tourism’s accreditation scheme has been running since 2018 but has been updated to reflect additional requirements and standards required in light of COVID-19, including new COVID-19 cleaning protocols.

Venues who wish to become accredited need to provide evidence of their safety measures before receiving an onsite audit to make sure that they’re maintaining Quality in Tourism’s rigorous levels of cleanliness and safety.

Pros:

  • Venues receive an onsite visit after submitting evidence
  • Endorsement from a recognised name
  • Includes assessment of legal data protection standards and cleaning protocols
  • HBAA members receive a 20% discount

Cons:

  • Pay before becoming accredited
  • Broad guidelines general to the hospitality and tourism sectors

Coronavirus Control  
By Navitas
Cost: £99-£199

 Navitas has created a Coronavirus Control certification system with a range of options to suit individual industries and venues, including hospitality and catering or hotels and leisure. These packages can include a ‘COVID-19 In The Workplace’ online training course to be completed by all staff before their return to work, as well as a ‘Mental Health Awareness’ online training course to help with the stresses of COVID-19.

Venues who want to become accredited receive a practical guide on how to comply with government guidelines, followed by an online audit or a short visit from an experienced Environmental Health Consultant.

Pros:

  • Includes staff training and mental health training
  • Risk assessments provided
  • Get advice specific to your business from the auditor

Cons:

  • Only valid for 6 months

AIM Secure
By MIA
Cost: £550-£1,115

 MIA’s AIM Secure accreditation gives venues recognition and endorsement from the meeting industry’s leading trade association. The most cost-effective way to become accredited is to become an MIA member, as accreditation is included within the price of a membership.

Venues who want to become accredited will need to fill out a self-assessment questionnaire demonstrating their commitment to upholding legal compliance and health and hygiene protocols. They then need to achieve at least 60% of MIA’s criteria to get accredited. Once achieved, venues can choose to apply to start working towards MIA’s followup accreditation, AIM Secure Excellence.

Pros:

  • Free for MIA members
  • Measures are publicly available, to inspire confidence in delegates
  • Tailored to the business meetings and events industry
  • Access to MIA’s Trusted Trace app (via Guides For Brides) for GDPR-compliant contact tracing

Cons:

  • Self-assessment with spot checks for compliance makes this option less stringent
  • Requires only 60% compliance (alongside 5 mandatory measures)

Safe Event Scheme
By Cube Management
Cost: £400-£POA

The Safe Event Scheme accreditation is suitable for individual cultural and sporting events, ranging from small (up to 1,000 attendees) to major (over 100,000 attendees). Depending on the size and complexity of the event, organisers can choose from three packages: the Deemed to Satisfy Package, the Enhanced Deemed to Satisfy Package or the Assured Event Package.

In most cases, event organisers will need to submit a plan for consideration by a review panel of event health and safety professionals. Applicants then receive an assessment report with advisories and the option to resubmit for free where necessary. Those on the Assured Event Package, on the other hand, will receive help with the creation of their event plan and automatic accreditation.

Pros:

  • Easy-to-use portal
  • Bespoke event management advice for your event
  • Detailed communication pack
  • Includes one free resubmission

Cons:

  • High price for just one event
  • No option to cover venues for more than one event

Good to Go
By Visit Britain
Cost: Free

With the reopening of the economy back earlier in the summer, Visit Britain launched its Good to Go scheme to help business reopen.

The accreditation is self assessed and guides you through all the steps and considerations a business needs to make before reopening safely. Random spot checks may be carried out to check for compliance.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Quick and easy to apply and become accredited
  • Provides a reopening checklist to follow if your business has been closed

Cons:

  • Broad accreditation for any business open to the public
  • Uses the government’s general COVID-Secure guidelines
  • Self-assessment makes this option significantly less stringent

COVID Confident
By AA
Cost: Free

 The AA’s COVID Confident assessment scheme is a general accreditation open to hotels, self-catering properties, visitor attractions, restaurants, pubs and more. Easy to apply to and achieve, this is a self-assessed accreditation where venues provide details of their COVID safety measures and the AA then decides whether they’re up to scratch.

Venues who apply for the COVID Confident scheme also need to sign up to the AA’s COVID Confident Charter – a code of conduct that includes a commitment to updating measures and procedures as guidelines continue to change.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Quick and easy to apply and become accredited
  • Endorsement from a recognised name

Cons:

  • Broad accreditation general to the hospitality and tourism sectors
  • No set of measures or guidelines to follow
  • Self-assessment makes this option less stringent

With such a broad range of options and packages available, it can be hard to know which accreditation is going to be best for your venue. So, if you’re stuck, take some time to consider exactly what your aims and priorities are when it comes to becoming accredited. Are you most concerned with ticking the boxes so that you know your venue is operating legally? Or do you want to inspire delegate confidence by choosing an accreditation option that goes above and beyond the measures laid out by the government?

No two venues are the same, so only you can decide!

*The above article has been put together using the information currently available publicly on all the schemes mentioned. If there are any inaccuracies or updates, please contact susie@micbeook.com