No one really knows what events will look like in a post Covid-19 world and it’s difficult to see how things will pan out over the coming year. The most recent seasons have taught us that venues with the ability to quickly adapt to their environment and their experiential offerings were the most resilient in a time of peak uncertainty.
The reality is likely that for the foreseeable future, most attendees will be split between those willing and able to attend in person and those who cannot and will have to attend virtually. Regardless of where events are being viewed, quality assurance is key.
Superb Sanitation Measures
Having a clean venue is an element that contributes to the atmosphere and attractiveness of an event. An untidy or littered venue may not attract guests to return in the future.
People may not remember the awesome sound from the speakers of your event, or the incredible food and beverage. They might also forget all about the transitions between dynamics and games or events, but they’ll most certainly remember if they attended your event and it appeared unsanitary or messy.
Perception on cleanliness will continue far into the upcoming years. People want to feel safe as soon as they walk in the door, and they want to actively see staff cleaning. At our facility, we have taken steps to undergo a rigorous cleaning process that include regular facility inspections and other high-level cleaning commitments to obtain the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR-accreditation—the only outbreak prevention, response and recovery accreditation in the facilities industry.
Take This Opportunity to Recreate Your Event
Virtual experiences that reached peak heights of popularity amid the isolation caused from the Covid-19 pandemic are now being barred for the bright lights of in-person gatherings. With so much uncertainty about what our future holds, many are taking the opportunity to re-imagine their events and trying something new.
Having a Plan A and Plan B is important for planners going into their events. While they have committed to running their event in-person, there is a good chance it will change shape as the planning process goes forward. Having a backup plan in mind in case the unexpected happens will be crucial in delivering the best experience possible given all the circumstances.
With that, I would consider streaming and recording services as part of the program scope. Whether you are live streaming your event to a virtual audience or taping your event to provide attendees who did not attend in-person a chance to invest in the content.
With the onset of the pandemic, organizers were forced to move quickly to online events and discovered they were reaching brand new audiences. I predict rapid growth and change with many events to come catering to many individuals across the globe.
Clear Communication with Clients and Attendees
Clear and precise communication is crucial in producing a successful event during these unpredictable times. Attendees will need to know what to expect, so it helps to provide them with updates while keeping Covid policies and procedures in mind. As times are constantly changing, it is important to have your board, staff or associations review everything prior to planning your event to make sure you are in line with the current atmosphere and regulations.
For example, there is a good chance proof of a negative Covid test or proof of vaccination will be a requirement that we might see for a while. This prerequisite is another one of those factors that when communicated effectively, can help clients feel safe about attending.
Flexible Contract Language
Now more than ever, clients are looking to work with facilities on their contract language and overall flexibility so that there is a partnership with the agreement and a clear understanding on cancellation fees, etc. Given the continued uncertain times, being clear and concise on contract negotiations and rules and policies will be critical in forming a safe and enjoyable event for all.
By following these practices, we hope to bring ease and peace of mind when planning your next event. It’s unclear where the industry will be over the next several months and years so it will continue to be important to be flexible but not let restrictions or unexpected changes derail your planning. There is always a solution so get creative and communicate with your partners on the best path forward.
Shannon Licygiewicz is general manager of the Albany Capital Center in New York.