The new normal for meetings and events!

Social distance meeting
June 23, 2020 / Posted by Cheryl Brunwin / in Event planning / 1040 Views

Most hotels and venues plan to re-open in July (subject to Government approval) and are ready to host your events and take on the ‘new normal’! We understand that the safety of your delegates will be your top priority, so here are the ways in which venues are adapting to ensure meetings and events can operate again safely post Covid-19 lockdown:

• Amended capacities in meeting rooms to allow for social distancing
• Strengthened and robust hygiene and cleaning measures
• Hand sanitizer stations around the venue
• Staggered arrival and breakout times
• Adjusted refreshment and lunch stations, allowing for pre-packaged grab and go items to reduce contact and queuing
• Separate entrances and exits to meeting rooms where possible
• Social distancing signage and one-way systems
• Screens at reception desks
• Full staff training and staff PPE
• Room service for dinner and breakfast for overnight guests
• Virtual show rounds
• Contactless payments encouraged
• Some venues are also offering more flexible cancellation terms

As we adjust to the ‘new normal’ it is also important to focus on how organisers should be adapting for event success! Here are some of our top tips:

• Have a contingency plan! Ensure that you are prepared with back up staffing in case a member of your team is unwell and that you have back-up presentations, videos and discussion ideas in case a speaker is unable to attend at the last minute.
• Ensure that you undertake a risk assessment for your event, that you take out event insurance and that legal issues are considered at contract stage, e.g. where does the liability lie if a personal injury claim arises from an event?
• Register all attendees on arrival, ask everyone to declare travel history and ask delegates to sign a declaration of health and a declaration that they have not been in contact with anyone with Covid-19 symptoms in the 14 days prior to the event.
• Manage track and trace post-event
• Minimise travel on public transport by ensuring your venue has car parking and that it is in a convenient location for delegates to get to
• Have open communication with delegates pre-event ensuring they are fully informed in their decision to attend the event; live updates should also be provided
• Digitalise as much as possible, for example, encourage people to bring their own laptops/ tablets for notes and do not provide hand-outs
• Consider changing the format of your event. If you have a large number of attendees, could you split them over multiple days, for example, could you run a four-day event with less delegates per day instead of 2 days with higher numbers? Can you run smaller syndicate sessions instead of having all delegates in one large room? Can you stagger your arrival times and breaks?

Whilst we understand you may be nervous to arrange your next event and work with the new normal; our team of event superhero’s is on hand to provide you with support along the way. We are staying on-top of industry news, working closely with the HBAA (Hotel Booking Agents Association) who are currently rolling out a ‘safe, clean and legal’ accreditation for venues and our brilliant system is busy collating Covid-19 safety documents from thousands of venues so that we have these to hand, ready to provide you with venue specific information at proposal stage, to help you make your venue decision.

Taking people away from their normal working environment for face-to-face meetings and events is important for networking, company development, team relationships, idea sharing and productivity – so although there will be a period of adapting to change, we will get meeting again!

We look forward to hearing from you with your next event enquiry and if you are looking to host a virtual event instead? Please read our ‘virtual event’ article and get in touch, we are happy to help!