Meetings are back! Las Vegas is set to host its first large-scale meeting and tradeshow in June 2021. But as many planners already know, events in 2021 will look much different than they did two years ago. So how do you plan an event for the “new normal”? What key considerations should you take into account when you begin the process? We asked the team here at World Meetings & Events to provide some insider tips to help you ensure a successful - and healthy - event!
Virtual... Hybrid... In-Person... How Do I Choose?
It’s such a tough decision, and one you need to take seriously. For many of our clients, we have found using a simple survey during the planning phase has been extremely helpful. Right now, you will likely find your attendees want a hybrid model, but make sure you ask. They might surprise you and everyone may want to get back out and come in-person.
There is no single solution when encouraging attendees to attend an in-person event. Everyone has their own level of comfort, so communication is key. Having safety protocols in place is paramount and communicating your protocol and procedures to attendees and should be completely transparent. Using a mobile app is a great tool to inform attendees of your safety protocols, policies, hotel information, and adding an FAQ page can provide even more information to help your attendees feel secure. You should also have a plan of action in place to deal with an attendee or staff member who is non-compliant and a risk.
Safety (Keeping Your Distance)
Addressing the pandemic could help lessen anxiety. Make everything you can contactless. Develop a touchless check-in procedure. Are masks mandatory? Are vaccinations required to attend? Are you having temperature checks? Be sure to clearly communicate all safety procedures and cleaning protocols with everyone. Educate your attendees of the expectations and be sure to design your event with COVID protocols in mind. Perhaps even consider having your attendees sign a code of conduct prior to the event.
Offer plenty of sanitizing stations. You can even consider using color wristbands or lanyards to indicate each attendee’s personal social distancing preference (i.e., 6ft, elbow bump, hug). Communication is key, make sure to have plenty of signs on easels and not just stickers on the floor to control the flow.
Food & Beverage (Thinking Inside the Box)
Gone are pitchers of water, iced tea, and bread baskets. In their place are covered drinks, individual appetizers, and boxed lunches. Chefs are getting creative using individually wrapped snack boxes, bowls, bento boxes and jars. This also helps reduce lines and reduce the risks associated with “high-touchpoint” buffet tables. Looking for healthy alternatives for breaks? Instead of a cookie cart in the afternoon, serve vitamin C juices or acai bowls packed with antioxidants.
Perhaps opt for a plated service and have servers bring meals directly to each attendee, it might be a bit more expensive, but this can help make your attendees feel safer during mealtime. Create a seating chart to map the space and pre-assign seating to ensure proper spacing, and weather permitting consider utilizing outside space. Make sure to allow more time for meals and allow plenty of time necessary to take a meal break safely and not be rushed. For large meetings, consider splitting the attendees into smaller groups and assign mealtimes or different dining locations.
A trend for beverage services are Zero-proof cocktails and meals that boost your immune system. Limiting alcohol encourages healthier habits. It can also reduce the risk of intoxicated attendees ignoring safety protocols and as an added bonus they’ll be more refreshed in the morning. Typically, nonalcoholic drinks are less expensive.
There are many ways to have a fulfilling event while keeping it safe. It might take more work and prep than it has in the past, but your attendees will be grateful for the thought you put into your event. If you need help navigating the changing meetings and events space contact our team at World Meeting & Events, we are always here to help you create a successful event!