As facilities begin the return to normality and open up to participants once more, we’re returning to some of our previous stars of facility spotlight, with just a few questions about how they’ve adapted to the previous year with the impact of Covid, and how they’re looking to open up once more.
This week, we’re delighted to welcome our friends from I-View:
- Q: How was business in the last 12-13 months under Covid restrictions?
- A: Being a face-to-face business, we obviously took a big hit during the pandemic. We were forced to close during the first and second lockdowns and having a reduced number of bookings during the times we were able to open. During the third lockdown, we were only able to host essential research.
Q: Are you fully operational now?
A: We opened officially on March 29th and are seeing bookings slowly ramp up, wc/17th May is set to be our busiest of the year so far but no where near what the team were used to pre-pandemic.
Q: What preventions did you take?
A: We reached out to our peers during 2020. Forming a Viewing Facilities Action Group to ensure we were all in line with the ever-changing guidance and government relief. We set up a Covid safe space using the relevant PPE provided free of charge, hygiene screens, signage, and sanitisers everywhere. Temperature checks are performed on arrival with track and trace details kept for 21 days. Dependent on the project, we can also set up lateral flow testing on request.
At both our London and Leeds locations we are blessed with space so are able to host groups with social distancing in place which means PPE is not necessary.
Q: How are people acting in focus groups?
A: It does take a little longer to warm people up these days, many are not used to holding a conversation with strangers but when they come out of their sessions they are enthused. To have that much-missed interaction with each other gives people a rush of excitement and adrenaline which surprises each one as they leave buzzing!
Q: Do you see any change in their behaviour?
A: People are pleasantly surprised by how safe they feel being back in a focus group room. We have gone to hospital-grade lengths to ensure people are safe and comfortable. So once on-site within 5-10 minutes they relax.
Q: Do you see any signs of going back to the old days?
A: It will take time for the good old days to return, with the easing of restrictions and the vaccine roll-out, the light is at the end of the tunnel and we are seeing it shine through already.
We are taking each week as it comes and are grateful that we’re being eased gently back into the volume of projects so as not to shock our (semi-retired) systems!
Q: What’s been the reaction on opening back up by clients and moderators?
A: Both have been very excited by a return to face-to-face. While other methods have their plus points there is nothing that beats interacting on a human level. It is this interaction between people and the exercises that can be used in a face-to-face setting that everyone we have been talking with is excited (even thrilled!). Undoubtedly face-to-face also provides a much more in-depth reaction to stimulus whether that is physically handling stimulus or just being in the shared space to experience reactions. You can smell the buzz and creativeness! It’s also known as fun with a big F. Clients specifically have talked about the conversations that happen behind the mirror. The viewing experiences trigger conversations that are more organic and immediate and also for great exchanges with those viewing remotely – on FocusVision of course!
Q: How have participants reacted to coming along?
A: Attendance has been 100% – participants are very pleased to come along, they are happy to take part and speak about something they have an interest in, and participate with renewed enthusiasm. The experience starts long before they get to our venue – being out and about and with some London sights on the way back, maybe a coffee or a beer it’s all very exciting for them!
In terms of Covid participants are used to protocols such as masks and sanitisers where ever they go, so coming here with us is all part of the new world.
At some viewing facilities including our own, clients were conducting essential research for healthcare-related projects throughout the various lockdowns. That meant there was a significant amount of work they had to do; not just in terms of arranging the logistics to create a Covid-safe environment, but also in earning the trust of people they were inviting into their venue.
Thankfully the combination of preparation, industry guidance, and frank and transparent advice to all visitors meant that facilities regularly saw higher turn-out rates than they had for consumer research in pre-Covid times. Not only were people happy to come, but they also enjoyed the opportunity to be part of something which might help in the fight against the pandemic.
FocusVision is supporting everyone getting back to facilities and streaming once more. We’ve got your back and that’s why we’ve created Project Restart.
If you’re looking to book a streaming project from a facility, use discount code RESTART and you have a whole day streaming for just $750. But rest assured, should plans change, we’ll switch your group to digital at no additional cost.