12 risks of Christmas

Preparing your venue for Christmas

Whether you’re more like Will Ferrell’s Elf or Dickens’s Scrooge – Christmas is on its way. And you need to be prepared for the festive risks just around the corner.

The Christmas period is great for venues as it generally means there’ll be an increase in customers, takings and profit. And this Christmas, after last year’s lockdown, promises to be even more special.

Make sure an insurance claim doesn’t get in the way of the festive fun by mitigating risks where you can.

The 12 Risks To Look Out For This Christmas

NDML count down the 12 most common risks to look out for this Christmas:

12. Storms brewing.

Batten down the hatches, the weather plays a huge role in attendance figures and poses huge risks of damage to your pub or club. Keep your eyes on the UK Met Office weather warnings and be ready with appropriate signage, secure fastening for outdoor spaces and fixed down furniture.

11. Flooding warnings

Over the space of 12 months, the cost of flooding to the UK economy is £1.6 billion; although it would have cost an extra £2.1 billion without flood defences. Small and more frequent floods disrupt businesses at all times of year, make sure you have a flood and water damage procedure in place. Even those properties less likely to experience regular flooding can be susceptible to sewer flooding. Owners and managers need to be aware that they should make their own arrangements to protect their property from flooding.

The list of principle actions to be taken by each organisation should be predetermined and regularly updated. We’ve gathered some top advice on reducing the impact of flooding at your venue so give it a read to make sure you’re prepared.

10. Stock increased

You might be sitting on extra stock in preparation for an increase in customers. It’s important to review your Sums Insured to make sure you’re still adequately covered. We recommend talking to your broker to ensure you are fully covered if a fire or flood were to catastrophically ruin your newly purchased increased stock.

9. Cash Increased

It’s likely you’ll be taking more cash over the festive period. Tickets sales, increased bookings, more drink and food sales – Christmas can be the most rewarding time of year. However it is also a time of year more prone to crime and thefts. We recommend banking your takings more regularly over the festive period to avoid too much money being stored in an on-site safe. We also recommend investing in more secure safes and procedures to ensure your increased cash is more carefully protected.

8. Roofs and gutters

Most insurance policies insist that roofs (particularly flat roofs) are checked at least once every two years by a qualified builder or property surveyor. Your guttering should also be checked every six months by a professional. This will avoid major disaster when the weather worsens.

7. Slips and trips

Increased footfall means an increase in the likelihood of slips and trips. Make sure you keep up with checklists to monitor glass collection, toilet cleaning and spillages, so if someone does make a claim you have enough evidence to show you’re trying to mitigate risks.

Though paths and pavements might technically fall under the council’s remit, you should always try and put your customers’ safety first. Make sure the entrance to your venue is clear from leaves and debris to avoid accidents.

6. Merry customers

It’s easy for your customers to get caught up in the festivities and end up drinking perhaps more than they should. Your staff should we well trained and confident enough not to serve someone who’s had one or two too many. They should be supported by an adequate security team in case of trouble, too.

You should also be aware not to overcrowd your venue. An increase in customers is great, but you don’t want to risk an inspection from the Fire Service if they’re alerted that too many people are flocking to your venue. Again, making sure you have qualified door staff is key as they’ll be able to turn people away politely and effectively if your venue has reached maximum capacity.

Christmas drinking

5. Lack of security

It’s easy to get caught up in a manic shift and forget about the little things. Have you set your burglar alarm correctly? Have you arranged adequate door security for the weeks ahead? Staff shortages are affecting businesses industry wide, make sure you have adequate staff to cope with busier attendance this festive season. CCTV should be regularly checked and ensure is working correctly with little to no blind spots. This blog looks at the security measures you should consider putting in place.

4. Noise complaints

An increase in party nights and patrons equals an increase in noise. If you get on the wrong side of your neighbours, they could complain to the council. And this could eventually lead to the council considering your license. If your venue is based in more rural areas, try limiting noise in rooms directly adjourning neighbouring properties if you can. Keep conversations with your neighbours open and friendly so they know they can approach you directly as a first port of call.

3. Planned Events

At Christmas, many venues plan more events and special nights with acts, artists and performers. Ensure the correct risk management is in place for such occasions. Performers and artists will need their own insurance, for their own protection and the protection of their equipment. If their equipment is damaged at your venue they may claim against you. Ensure they understand all safety procedures and everything is safely set up for them.

2. Lighting Adornments

Undoubtedly venues will have more lighting fixtures and decorations adorning the walls at Christmas, inside and out. Ensure these are all properly set up by a professional electrician. If you go all out, you may have so many that they affect your Sums Insured. Discuss with your broker the expense of your Christmas adornments before putting them up.

1. Precautions around COVID-19

Reducing the risk of COVID transmission this Christmas will be a priority to ensure the nightlife sector stays open. The six main actions to endorse include: Risk assessments, ventilation, regular cleaning, checking for symptoms in customers, venue check-in and staff training. Sanitation stations should still be present, as well as safe spacing and table service.

NDML: Protecting Venues Against Christmas Risks

At NDML, our mission is to protect venues from all risks, and at Christmas risks are generally more wide-ranging. In the festive season we consistently see and increase in slips and trips claims, perhaps due to excessive drinking or negligence. Following the tips above won’t completely magic away the problem, but it will help you to defend your venue if someone does make a claim.

For Risk assessments and expert advice, talk to our experts today. We offer free visitations and quotes for all nightlife and late night venues.