COMING OUT OF THE HERE AND NOW
As the hospitality, travel, and event industries navigate through the uncertainty of a post-COVID-19 landscape, the question on everyone’s mind is: what will the restart look like? At Paragon Events, we are utilizing this challenging time to look ahead and apply a forward-thinking approach with contingency planning. Our Event Management Team is continuously researching best practices, business impacts, and changes on the horizon as we prepare for the future.
PROPER PRIOR PLANNING
As we assess the COVID-19 pandemic
and its impact, proper planning prior to an event will become more critical than ever. Certain methods may need to be revised, while others will become increasingly more important. These industry standards provide measures to help protect your event, preserve customer loyalty, and mitigate your potential exposure due to unknown circumstances.
TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR EVENT
- Review risk assessment plans regularly with the latest data on the venue, event city/state, current travel policies, and trigger dates for contract terms.
- Create emergency preparedness plans with a crisis communication component that can be implemented across multiple channels.
- Share health and safety tips with attendees via social media, digital collateral, and online videos. Information regarding common areas and on-site sanitation policies needs to be consistent and clear.
- Secure event insurance that offers general liability and cancellation coverage for any potential damage due to unexpected situations.
- Modify your Force Majeure clauses in contracts for further coverage and event protection against unforeseen circumstances. These additions can include potential government regulations, global pandemics, official warnings by the Center for Disease Control, level three travel advisories regarding non-essential places, and curtailment of transportation.
SETTING THE STAGE TO ENVISION A NEW NORMAL
As hospitality companies prepare to ease their way into reopening, many have begun building the foundation for new best practices regarding health and cleanliness standards. The discovery and exchange of these new practices have allowed our team to envision the future of events and on-site operations. From thermal cameras at each point of entry to monitor temperatures, to increased hand sanitizers and disinfecting products, and improved approaches to buffets, health and sanitization standards will likely affect all aspects of any event.
We know this overall impact on our industry is temporary. However, in order to return stronger than ever, now is the time to reimagine what future in-person experiences will look like. Our seasoned event experts, along with President & CEO of Paragon Events, Renee Radabaugh
, have already taken the initiative to analyze anticipated adjustments and compile the following contingency pre-planning tips.
ATTENDEE COMMUNICATION & MANAGEMENT
- Ensure that you have the current contact information of all attendees for the purpose of communicating pre-, onsite, and post-event details.
- Prior to your event date, inform attendees about health and safety measures that will be in effect. Encourage attendees to avoid traveling if they are sick or not feeling well, and consider offering a virtual option.
- Clearly outline and publish how often surfaces in the hotel, convention center, or meeting space will be cleaned.
- Utilize signage and floor decals to remind attendees that social distancing is a good practice and to showcase health and safety etiquette.
- Consider offering a personalized welcome bag that could include antibacterial wipes, hand sanitizer, a mask, and a packaged pen and notepad.
- Reimagine the registration desk as more of a “self-serve” or “contactless” experience, while still maintaining the personalized hospitality service that attendees enjoy.
- Create a virtual option for those attendees who are uncomfortable to resume travel, which can help further preserve customer loyalty.
VENUE & MEETING SPACE CONSIDERATIONS
- Request the latest risk management, sanitation guidelines, and operating procedures to review in conjunction with your health and safety plan.
- Request that the venue increase the availability of hand sanitizers throughout the space, especially in key areas such as meeting room entrances, the front desk, lobby, and foyer spaces.
- Review meeting room set plans with your event location to ensure you are still practicing social distancing guidelines while exceeding your event goals and needs.
- Example: If the venue has modified its policies on table capacities or set-up styles, you will want to be proactive in securing these details early on so you can modify your event plan accordingly.
- Consider staggering session times to create less traffic flow within the foyer spaces.
FOOD & BEVERAGE IMPROVEMENTS
- When reviewing banquet breaks, feature your meals as “grab-and-go style,” utilizing pre-packaged food items. Consider spreading your break area into a larger space.
- Ask your event location for additional staff to accommodate any potential lines where service is necessary (i.e. bars, food stations). This will practice social distancing and ensure no bottlenecking occurs.
- Depending on the location’s requirements, inquire about how staff will be interacting with attendees during food service. Will they be wearing disposable gloves, a mask, or potentially installing a sneeze guard?
- Consider food and beverage items that support wellness, immunity, and healthy, nutritional living.
Our team is focused on proactively developing ways for meetings and events to adapt in the aftermath of COVID-19. Despite the current uncertainty, it is important that we, as an industry, remain positive and collaborative. By implementing best practices to reduce health risks and make our clients and partners feel protected at our events, we will prove that face-to-face meetings are not only timeless, but also safe. Now is the time to combine creativity with logic, and embrace these new standards to develop innovative solutions that support the global success of our industry.
HOW WE CAN HELP WITH CONTINGENCY PLANNING
Paragon Events strongly values contingency planning and preparedness with an emphasis on crisis management. Throughout the development process, we guide our clients, assess viable risks, determine potential response procedures, and deliver thoughtful insight to make sound decisions. Our network of trusted hoteliers, vendors, and other suppliers continue to support us in building a lasting, successful future for our clients and partners. For more information on our services, please contact us.
This blog has been authored by Katherine Stokoe.