COVID Chronicles: A New Landscape in the Events Industry
When it reopens, the events industry will have a new, different landscape. As we struggle to comprehend what COVID-19 has done to the world, professionals in every industry are asking what the future of their business will look like. In the hospitality and event planning industry, how do we instill confidence in our future clients and event attendees?
Here are the four things to look for and incorporate into your business:
1. Personal Safety at Events
When reopening events to guests, areas of concern will certainly revolve around the issues of personal safety. Attendee health screenings with thermometer checks will be encouraged, while sick people will be discouraged from attending events.
Enhanced cleaning and safety products will now be the new normal. Sanitizing stations and vending machines with Personal Protection Equipment and facemasks are now being developed, according to Forbes. Portable handwashing stations and enhanced cleaning of all event areas will be the industry standard.
2. Social Distancing & Virtual Events
To consider opening live events to the public, event managers will need to have a strong social distancing plan in place. Smaller events could include having entertainers and comedians perform virtually. In New York, Governor Cuomo approved a measure to get a wedding license online, versus appearing in a state office in person. Clerks will be authorized to conduct ceremonies over video conferencing.
By embracing virtual events, event planners will now have the opportunity to reach a global audience. No longer will we be limited by location and can now invite anyone, anywhere, and from any demographic, creating a truly diverse event. The event, such as a wedding or conference, can be watched and re-watched at the leisure of the consumer. This provides an opportunity to capture more data and gain new information regarding attendees and their interests. You can also customize your event to any age group.
3. Memories via Social Media
Don’t forget the power of social media! Industry professionals can use social media platforms, like Twitter and Instagram, to curate and post pictures from past events to remind people of the live event experience. Companies can also get more personal and highlight their team members.
4. Updated Processes
Caterers are now reviewing service styles when presenting food and beverage. For example, buffets and passed hors d'oeuvres may be a thing of the past. In addition, bottles of water will replace pitchers at meetings and events. Managers and staff will need to constantly monitor valid sources of information on all issues relating to COVID-19 like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
Planning for the Future
Events will make a return. It is hard to predict when, especially when experts are predicting a second round of the virus next winter. This makes event organizers nervous to commit resources. Event Planners have learned a few things since the COVID-19 has pandemic first began.
Having a contingency plan and looking carefully at contracts and cancellations is a must. Buying additional event insurance that may help recoup some of the financial loss or at least protect against a future disaster will be necessary. Finally, embracing the role of technology in all aspects of the event. While streaming can’t replace the role of attending a live event, the platforms and enhanced technology that we have been employing during the COVID-19 pandemic will help to make future events stronger.
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