2020 has forever changed how we gather. Let’s face it, safety regulations are now at the top of everyone’s list, and how you navigate through the developing landscape of rules will determine the success and legality of your event. Layouts, safety protocols, cancellation clauses, insurance policies, and tech elements will get extra attention, so it’s crucial to bring on an experienced planning team that is up-to-date on all the latest policies.
VENUE: Venue sourcing is one of the most important planning steps, as it sets the foundation for the overall event - everything from budget to the guest flow. In light of COVID, venue sourcing now comes with a new set of challenges - local regulations, availability, and adjusted capacity might eliminate your usual go-to venues. The venue you’ve used for years might no longer work for your group size or your revised program. Additionally, lodging capacities and new attrition rates will be impacted by COVID regulations, meaning your group might require multiple lodging options.
TRAVEL: If we thought travel for events was complicated before, get ready for a long addition of tasks to your planning list.
- Guest/Attendee Travel: aside from planning the actual travel, we must now plan for tracking attendees travel from beginning to end - flight numbers, attended sessions, meal times, etc Pay extra close attention to cancellation clauses and policy flexibility as attendees want to feel that their risk is mitigated, both financially as well as health-wise.
- TSA Regulations: new rules have been added to travel and keep evolving as we learn to better manage the spread of the coronavirus. This not only impacts what you need to bring with you (e.g. mask) but what you can’t bring with you. If you’re used to flying everything in for events, you might want to start procuring items locally. TSA regulations also impact how your airlines manage boarding and deboarding, all important to consider when planning out your group’s travel needs and timing.
TECHNOLOGY: Any major event has some sort of tech element - whether it’s the check-in process or the social interaction, technology is here to stay. However, it is now playing a more vital role, especially when it comes to safety-proofing your events. Consider the following when coming up with a tech game plan for your next event:
- Touchless check-in
- Touchless onsite badge printing
- Up-to-the-minute attendee event traffic app, to mitigate bottlenecks, long waits, or overcrowded spaces
- Virtual attendance option
An experienced planning team, that knows various platforms and latest technology, is essential for managing logistics in today’s environment. Having an understanding of traffic patterns, hardware needed to accommodate attendee safety, and ways to manage attendee experience while facilitating interactions will ensure your event is an industry standard.
SAFETY/HEALTH: Rules about social distancing, indoor + outdoor capacity, sanitization of surfaces and spaces, mask requirements, food + beverage handling, and temperature check stations are being updated almost daily and vary county by county. The last thing you want is the 5-0 breaking up your event, while fining the organizers, venue, and associated vendors. Not only is this embarrassing, but it’s amateur hour. Your planning team should have the latest info and the ability to make last minute adjustments to ensure all local and state laws are abided by, so that your guests have the best and safest experience.
F&B: We’re still hearing folks requesting buffets for their future in-person events. Sadly, buffets might not be available in the near future. How we serve food, how we dispose of it, and how we clean anything associated with the consumption of said food is now heavily regulated. Ensure your team knows what is required and get creative with bringing your vision to life given the new parameters (bring back the bell jars!).
EVENT INSURANCE: While this seems obvious, event insurance should be part of your preliminary task list. Many insurance companies have revised their policies, so even if you’re used to regularly purchasing a policy, it makes sense to re-read what it covers. It’s important to consider coverage for cancellation due to a pandemic, as well as recouping costs due to natural disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires (which have had a significant impact on the CA events industry).
Remember, an experienced event planning and management team not only has a vast network of venue options, but they will also have a long list of creative ways to reinvent your event in post-COVID reality.We know what platforms and latest technology are essential for managing logistics in today’s event world, including traffic patterns, hardware needed to accommodate attendee safety, and ways to manage attendee experience while facilitating interactions. Whether you’re looking to produce a virtual experience, an in-person gathering, or a hybrid event, our team is here to help, so don’t hesitate to reach out!