Growing an events platform, in lockdown

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Venue Maestro
It's been a challenging year and a half in the events space, to say the least. Image supplied.

The events industry has been one of the worst industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic globally and in Australia. Intermittent lockdowns, strict travel bans and social distancing measures have led to the cancellation of many popular events. Online event venue finder Venue Maestro is one such startup that has had to navigate through all the disruptions.

The idea behind the service is to help people plan and find venues for any occasion. Its search functionality is designed to make it easy to find meeting rooms, conference venues, private function rooms and wedding venues by location and other filters.

The Perth company celebrated its second year with an expansion to the East Coast in March 2020, just as the pandemic hit. Like many companies, operations came to a grinding halt.

For Venue Maestro Co-founder and Curtin Ignition grad Andrea Deegan, it has been 18 months of uncertainty as venues across the country grappled with reorganisations and cancellations. By the end of March 2020, enquiries for venues stopped, putting a halt to the otherwise successful launch in Brisbane and Melbourne.

Venue Maestro Co-Founder Andrea Deegan. Image Supplied.

As a result of Australia’s relatively successful approach to fighting the pandemic, there were signs of optimism as venues started to reopen in mid 2020. However, challenges were still there in the form of limited capacities, seated-only events, and prohibitions imposed on bars, dance floors and karaoke venues. Not to mention Victoria’s 2020 four-month lockdown and New South Wales’ current state of emergency which proves just as challenging.

2021 has been a tale of many cities. We see leads coming through our website depending on which city is open. As soon as the media reports an emergence of COVID in a state, it’s like the tap is turned off and all event enquiries stop for that location.

On the flipside, individuals and businesses are keen to book events as soon as restrictions lift, which is positive.

Andrea Deegan

Perth has been the most ‘open’ city in Australia for events over the last two years and this has helped Venue Maestro ‘keep the lights on’.

Although the events industry in Perth is in a better shape compared to other Australian states, the city has had its share of snap lockdowns, mask-wearing and limited capacities. Not to mention, interstate travel has been limited which has seen a huge decline in the number of corporate events and conferences.

I think realistically, this roller coaster will continue to impact venues for the remainder of 2021, and it will take a long time for the hospitality sector to fully recover.

from our perspective, we will continue to improve the platform and our offering so that we will be in a strong position when the country fully reopens

Andrea Deegan

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For more visit the Venue Maestro website.