Well, here we are two years into the pandemic. We have cancelled, postponed, and “pivoted”. Virtual and hybrid events have come a long way but we have learned that people yearn to be together. For those of us that have been fortunate enough to continue working throughout the pandemic – it seems like planning, re-planning, and contingency planning is imperative.
While people want to be together everyone has different feelings and comfort levels on what that is. Depending on your market(we are in Calgary), you may have government mandates to adhere to and consider. Being strategic and thoughtful in your event design can help make everyone feel safe to attend. Here are some things to consider when building events in 2022.
In my recent event planning experiences through Omnicom in Alberta, what was clear was that even though there were no government restrictions stopping attendees from attending – attendee psychology for in-person showed us that that many people are afraid to attend. A great communications plan to help attendees understand what they can expect and what the organizers will be doing to keep attendees safe. Clear communication about the event plan and even flexible options for refunds and canceling can go a long way to getting potential attendees to register. Continuing these communications is also crucial after attendees have registered. Keeping people apprised of changes and expectations will help alleviate any confusion and for some, anxiety.
Speaking of registration, attendees first experience onsite at the event is during the registration process.
Inside of pandemic event planning consider:
- Are you checking vaccine passports?
- Doing temperatures checks?
- Do you have a covid questionnaire?
- Will you have PPE and hand sanitizing stations available?
- What are your options if an attendee comes feeling unwell? Or starts to feel unwell during your event.
Ensuring that your event team is well equipped to meet guests and sort through these new aspects to pandemic event registration will help people feel more relaxed at the event.
Consider how many people your venue can safely hold and how people will move between spaces.
- Where are guests going to meet and mingle?
- Look at access to activities? Washrooms? High touch areas?
While we are big fans of Standup Receptions what we have found in our market to keep corporate events as covid-friendly as possible – Sit Down Receptions are an easier way to help people co-mingle with a social distance plan in place. We talked about the merits of both in this post
Plated dinners have less touch points for all involved. If you are looking at doing a buffet – working with your catering team to offer options like grab and go or set up well placed chef stations where people are being served as opposed to serving themselves helps create a safer environment for all.
Options for all
Pre-pandemic hybrid events were rare. As we move forward, they will be an ongoing part of our planning. There are many people who may choose for health or even financial reasons that they would like to participate virtually. Considering what you want the virtual experience to be early on so that you can budget and plan for it will impact how successfully it can be executed. The bright side is that there are so many more options these days than there were when we all started!
Feeling a little overwhelmed by all the things to consider? We’re always happy to help or to recommend a colleague that can. Just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org