With rising temperatures and the rising number of people getting vaccinated, there will no doubt be a rise in return to in-person events – and for many, sooner rather than later. Without question, there are some who are more than ready to take the plunge, but others, who are barely ready to dip their toes into the waters of in-person mass gatherings – just yet. If tasked with planning your organization’s upcoming in-person event, you will be faced with creating a comfortable, engaging, enjoyable, and safe environment — for the ready and the reluctant.
Even before the pandemic, large in-person gatherings required a great deal of planning, but as we emerge from more than a year of socially distanced smaller gatherings – from technology- dependent virtual gatherings — and from avoiding public functions altogether, there will be even more details to consider and more planning required. Business-as-usual will no longer simply mean just business. It will mean providing the best event-going experience possible, without a doubt. But, it will also include putting additional measures in place to ensure the safety of everyone involved. And, it will mean building confidence in a safe return from the virtual to the “live-and-in-person” meeting space.
Meeting the goals of your event, while making the most of your enhanced knowledge of technology’s use and benefits, as well as helping allay clients’ fears and concerns – will be key to the meeting of these goals – and the selection of the right planning team key to the overall success your event. Having an exceptional team to ensure these specifications are all met are essential to boosting people’s confidence to take the deep dive back into the waters again.
As convention doors open and prepare for re-entry and as corporate and non-profit sponsors welcome a return of clients to large, in-person gatherings, here are a few suggestions that could provide a better overall experience for eventgoers and organizers:
- Negotiate a flexible cancellation policy with the venue. Know their refund and cancellation policies.
- Make sure you have a safety plan and protocols in place. This does not just mean hand washing stations and social distancing. It should also include onsite testing for staff and having a plan in place in case attendees do not want to follow protocol. Make sure you include this information in your promotional materials.
- Utilize technology where possible to minimize the need for physical contact, for example, use digital scanners for contactless registration or digital business cards to allow attendees to safely exchange contact information.
- Encourage attendees to get COVID-19 travel insurance! This will help cover any potential financial losses if an outbreak occurs. The COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Toolsite actually allows you to plug in your location and determine (based on overall event attendance) the likelihood of someone with COVID-19 entering your event.
- Do your due diligence. Take every measure possible to provide a safe environment. Ensure the experience you’re offering is worth the sacrifices and discomfort it cost attendees to be there – so that, at best, they will feel it was worth the risk.
Ready or not, time has come. The first step towards getting to ready – to helping you skillfully navigate the waters into the “next normal” of event hosting and, better yet, to ensuring smooth sailing — will be finding the right architect for your event. We are here, equipped and ready to help you set sail.