Our Hospitality and Leisure specialist Laura Madeley chats to Christina Bosch, Finance Director at Britannia Row about how they adapted through the pandemic.
Britannia Row provide high-end audio equipment to productions. Based in Twickenham, they celebrated 45 years in live production last year.
Can you tell us a bit about how the business responded to the lockdown?
A lot of this was outside of our control, our work came to a complete stop in March. We ended up closing the premise for a short while and put the majority of the team on furlough as there was no work for them to do.
What were the biggest challenges you faced over the lockdown period and how did you manage them?
Initially the immediate loss of income required careful cashflow planning to meet financial obligations – such as support from the Government schemes and the Clair Group. Due to the constant change in Government Guidelines, not being able to plan ahead was very difficult for us. The events that we support are expensive to produce and our clients were reluctant to plan events in advance due to the uncertainty (and lack of insurance), so once work restarted we were given very little notice to react.
What are the biggest adaptations you have made since COVID and are there any that you will look to continue after the pandemic?
Virtual Live Audience and Remote working. Both of these will continue post pandemic. We also launched a new install company – Pro Media Audio Video Europe Limited.
Are you starting to see more live events happening now and is there a sense within the industry that people are ready to attend them again?
Yes live events are happening again, and people are very keen to go to them. Tickets are fully booked for a lot of shows, and 2022 is looking like an exceptional year for the industry.
What are the biggest challenges you currently face in the business?
Finding crew to service the jobs as some crew left the industry during the pandemic. We also need access to replacement crew if there are any positive cases on a Tour. Shortages of skilled fulltime employees is making things difficult. We are facing longer lead times with manufacturers for Capex equipment, so are having to plan further in advance than normal, and are sometimes not able to get the equipment when we need it. Our clients are still reacting rather than being pro-active which gives us little/no notice to plan.
What changes do you foresee in the way the industry operates as a result of the last 18 months?
The industry was hit hard by the pandemic, and I think people will be working to try and minimise vulnerabilities for this type of risk in future, but diversifying their services, so they are still able to work when mass events are not possible.
Is sustainability on the agenda and what does this look like for your business?
Yes, with access to more warehouses worldwide this gives us flexibility to strategically place equipment as opposed to having to ship it.
What upcoming events are you personally most looking forward to!
I would quite like to see Genesis and/or Pink in 2022!