The arrival of Covid vaccines and their positive results have revived the hopes and dreams of event organizers. We can now be optimistic for the future. Despite all the precautions and measurements taken due to the very sensitive health conditions, we should be able to resume physical events by the summer of 2021.
In such a context, how can we prepare for the return of these types of events with responsibility and in the best possible sanitary conditions?
1. Brainstorm and discuss with your suppliers and partners
It's important to see how others prepare. Everyone has the same objective but our actions need to work accordingly.
Why not get together, between event organizers, suppliers, and partners, and brainstorm together about the best practices to implement and the different event formats?
Everyone will surely have something to bring to the table, and we all have so much to learn from each other. These simultaneous experiences will help you to understand the spectrum of the current situation and problems that may arise from returning to physical events (i.e respecting safety protocols to anticipating rapid tests on-site...).
Prepare precise questions for each stage of the event, discuss with your counterparts, and establish best practices before and after the event.
2. Define an event sanitary protocol
An event sanitary protocol allows you to reassure your participants while ensuring that you meet the imposed sanitary standards. It must be a mandatory step for anyone who wants to organize a physical (on-site) event!
Don't forget that the green pass (which will be launched in June in Europe) should soon become a requirement for events. Get information about it and keep it on your radar so you're ready when it becomes official!
Handing out gels, masks, indicating safety distance on the ground, or reminding people of security measures on the walls are the minimum requirements necessary (these should be obvious) in order to reassure your audience.
To go a step further, you can test your guests with a thermal thermometer at the entrance of the event, or to ask your caterer for individual service to avoid crowds at the bars and food counters.
Of course, you should choose as large, airy reception and catering areas as possible.
3. Don't be last, with essential events in a small format
The first few events will probably be small. Large events require a lot of resources, organization, and time to set up. In an uncertain environment, while the situation improves, it is important to segment and customize your future (small) events, while waiting for the big events to come back.
Test out the waters. Start small, see how the situation evolves, then get to full speed.
Start reaching out now to the suppliers you will need in the future before for your big events before they get flooded with orders. Don't hesitate to negotiate rates in advance and block availability as long as you are first to request.
These small formats will help you get an audience that hasn't been to an event in more than a year (!) to trust this format again and to rediscover its strong point: the human contact.
4. Consider all aspects of security and safety
First of all, you should communicate as much as possible about your health protocols to reassure people about the safety measurements of your event.
Don't forget to put yourself in the shoes of your attendees: what arguments and what formats would convince you to participate in an event? What measures should be put in place? (temperature taking at the entrance of an event, rapid testing, sanitizing stations, etc.)
Ask yourself how you can provide a pleasant atmosphere without forgetting safety protocols. Don't forget that participants will travel less, so you must offer them events that respond to their critical concerns:
It's not just about the health standards, it's also about the current living situation, sustainable traveling among many different subjects raised throughout the pandemic.
Think about the emotional reward of your event; how would you like your attendees to feel? What measures and activities will you put in place to achieve these feelings? It is important that your participants do not feel the "pressure" of being surrounded by other people, or that this pressure is reduced to a minimum.
Plan ahead different scenarios and the appropriate actions or responses: if scenario 2 happens (for example a guest with high temperature), what measures should be taken to deal with it? Then distribute these scenario procedures to your health and safety managers.
Designate a health security officer to ensure that government requirements and recommendations are met, and to take appropriate action on D-day. This person can be a member of the organizing team directly. This person will be responsible for ensuring that hostesses and guests follow protocol.
Make sure your vision is aligned with your suppliers, partners, and counterparts to create an amazing event experience for your guests.
Define a high-standard health and security protocol and make sure you communicate around it at all stages of the event.
Start small, feel the mood, learn from your mistakes, and increase the scale of your events as you gain enough experience and hindsight to make good decisions.
Anticipate all possible scenarios in order to avoid anxiety and pressure from your guests. Provide the required safety measures throughout your event and get your team ready to respond to the different problems that may surge while reassuring your attendees.