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A Day in the life

Alicia Duncan, venue director of The Mermaid London, reveals her daily routine in the Covid-19 pandemic.

How do you typically kick start your day whilst you are working from home?

I am usually up at 6:30am and sitting at my desk to start work at 7am with a coffee in hand. I work up until 11am and will then spend some time home schooling my son, Explore Learning is the best thing ever. We’ll make sure that we head out on a walk each day for an hour to get some fresh air and exercise.

How has the current situation changed your workload? 

I’m currently dealing with sales enquires, client enquires, changing dates for confirmed events and also marketing planning with davies tanner. I’m also going on-site once a week to meet with the maintenance team and contractors so they can do essential work to the venue ahead of its reopening.

Are there any sign of business?

Over the last month, I have been dealing with an average of 12-15 enquires a week, which are scheduled for Q4 2020 and beyond. The enquiries are largely for 2021 and we have also had a good number for 2022 and a few wedding enquiries too.

What is the calendar looking like for the rest of 2020?

Q4 2020 is looking good, November is almost full, with only weekends available. We have moved a lot of our existing clients into September and October and like everyone we are eagerly awaiting to hear from the government whether these events will be able to take place and what social distancing measures we need to put in place.

Are you currently marketing the venue?

There is still so much unknown at the moment, it is a bit too soon to start marketing the venue. We are currently working on a social media campaign which highlights good news stories and initiatives in London #ThankYouLondonforMakingItHappen. We are also working with davies tanner on our recovery plan and hope to be able to start implementing some of our activity in the coming few months.

What is the current situation with paying commission to agencies?

The Mermaid London has always paid commission post-event and that is something we have continued to do.

How do you prioritise your to-do list?

As we are working as a skeleton team, I am currently working through the enquires by their date and set myself a goal to ensure they have all been responded to within the week. I am keeping in regular contact with our suppliers and have been using the time to work on some projects ahead of the reopening of the venue. I am currently liaising with our catering team to create some new and exciting menus.

How often do you speak with your team?

We speak with each other on a weekly video call, it’s nice to catch up and see what everyone has been up to. We have a drink or two and share our binge-worthy box set recommendations with each other. I also check in with the senior team once a week to go through any venue maintenance taking place the following week and to keep them updated on the enquiries I am working on.

What are your top tips for remaining motivated whilst working from home?

Routine. Whilst we are in a strange time and it can be hard to remain motivated, I have tried to keep as close to my routine as possible. This includes getting up at the same time each day, cooking, cleaning and parenting. It can be hard under the current circumstance but do not stress. We are all in the same boat at the moment, so honesty really is the best policy. In my experience regular updates are appreciated, especially in these uncertain times.