Did you know? “Safety continues to be the number one issue for event planners. 55% cited safety concerns as the biggest obstacle to hosting live events” (EventMB, 2020). As in-person meetings slowly return, many are wary about how they will be approached post-impact of COVID-19. It is important to know the safety protocols and options to make your in-person meeting safe and successful! We had our first in-person meeting back in May 2021. Therefore, wanted to share with you what we found to work to keep everyone safe, happy, and the meeting moving forward.
Check out these 5 ways to make your in-person meeting safer post-Covid impact:
1. Clear Safety Messaging and Protocols
Clear and concise messaging is key to make sure everyone is on the same page about following the safety protocols. Lay out the guidelines clearly in your messaging before the event even begins so that all attendees know what to expect while onsite. At the beginning of the event, make an announcement acknowledging the situation. Something as “we are all in this together, we are glad to be back, please be sure to practice good hygiene and safety measures while you’re here attending the meeting, etc.” can help ease any attendee concerns. Not only should you enforce and display the safety protocols for your meeting, but you also need to know your audience and their comfort level with COVID-19. Taking precautions even though they don’t seem necessary is worth the peace of mind it will give your attendees.
2. Big Enough Space
Some COVID-19 Restrictions have been lifted regarding spaces, but it is important to still practice good social distancing and not over-crowding any rooms. When selecting a venue, be sure to check CDC Guidelines and the venue’s room restrictions to create the safest environment for everyone involved. Consider a space with windows to ensure good airflow. Lastly, seating arrangements might look a little different from now on with practicing spacing them further apart and/or require assigned seating. Be creative!
3. Food and Beverage Alternatives
Avoid shareable dishes such as open buffets and as an alternative prioritize serving pre-packaged individual meals. There are a few ways to do food and beverage alternatives. One option is buffets can be served by hotel staff instead of the standard self-serve buffets. Another option is doing boxed lunches that are already pre-packaged for attendees. Choose an option that will best suit your meeting and prevent cross contamination from occurring.
4. Having a Virtual Option
With the option to choose to get the vaccination or not, some registrants may feel more comfortable attending your meeting virtually. Moving forward from the impact of the pandemic it is a good idea to be flexible with your attendees by having your meeting go hybrid.
A Hybrid Meeting is when some of the attendees attend live, in-person while other attendees join remotely from anywhere, could be their office or in the comfort of their home. Meetings have evolved and there are many benefits to having both the in-person and the virtual elements. Check out The Future of In-Person Meetings: Going Hybrid for more information on how to incorporate the virtual element into your in-person meeting.
5. Create Contactless Experiences
It is good to practice using technology for registration, digital scanning, e-business cards, etc. to avoid touching any unnecessary surface and to prevent the spreading of germs. There are many online registration platforms out there to choose from. Two options for a registration platform are Swoogo and Cvent. We have found these two platforms to be helpful in our meeting planning. With technology continuing to grow, the use of phones, tables, and computers really can come into play at your meeting.
The business of meetings certainly evolved over the last few decades. This past year created (forced) an extraordinary level of change in our industry. As in-person meetings return, how do we decide what’s best? If you are interested in learning more about how 2020 and the global pandemic changed meetings forever and how there is no such thing as “going back to normal”. Check out our free webinar, Meetings Moving Forward – A Conversation about Our Industry and the Future.