It would be great if we could peer into a crystal ball and see what the future will look like for our world after COVID-19 is a distant memory. We have all been affected by the pandemic, and the event industry is no exception. The team at The Conference Center at GTCC has worked hard to navigate these challenging times and provide clients with top-of-the line events in safe, healthy environments that comply with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We take pride in being well prepared and ready to adapt in creative ways to best serve our clients. Here are things to consider as we all think about the event industry post COVID-19.
The pandemic has demonstrated to our world that things can change in an instant. However, a quick look back in history will show that COVID-19 is not the only thing that has stopped society in its tracks, so it is wise to be prepared for the unexpected. Think through options for your event based on different scenarios and discuss these options with your venue coordinators. Pay attention to what is included under your contract’s force majeure clause. Make sure specifics with regards to costs and expectations from both parties are clearly communicated. Event planners and attendees will likely read a contract’s fine print more carefully these days, so be sure to cover all bases.
As we move out of a pandemic environment, there is a good chance that events will be planned with a lower number of attendees in mind. It will take time before we are all comfortable with hosting or attending large events. Consider including virtual elements in your programming and be creative with the way you have the schedule structured so everyone always feels like they have adequate space around them. Think of virtual elements as an opportunity to enhance programming and not as a lesser option.
Even after the pandemic is no longer, people will continue to be hyperaware of staying healthy. Attendees will want to be confident that their fellow eventgoers are healthy and will not give them a virus or otherwise compromise their health. Continue to ask attendees to participate in a health screening before entering the event venue and encourage them to leave immediately upon having any symptoms of being sick.
The heightened cleaning and sanitation measures taken during the pandemic has brought to light the importance of clean environments. Maintaining stronger sanitation and disinfecting protocols and communicating your commitment to these protocols to attendees will help give them peace of mind while keeping them healthy.
When people attend events, many may feel more comfortable maintaining a social distance of six feet or, at least, attending in a less crowded environment. Masks may also remain a staple for the foreseeable future and handshakes will be replaced with nods or elbow touches. We may want to be open to the possibility that these practices are part of a new normal.
When planning events, you will want to be mindful of outside vendors you work with to outsource supplies, equipment and talent. Carefully review contracts and understand the agreement’s fine print in case of the unforeseen. Know whether deposits are refundable and who has financial responsibility if contracts are not honored.
COVID-19 has brought a new meaning to the concept of shifting paradigms. We have chosen to see it as an opportunity to apply creative ideas and fresh approaches to planning that keep everyone safe and healthy. Just because things in the future may look different does not mean they have to be second tier. A positive attitude, out-of-the-box ideas and a renewed enthusiasm for trying new things may result in events that are better than you ever imagined.Crystal balls may not be readily available on store shelves or through online vendors, but we are happy to predict that better can come out of this pandemic than not. We are committed to giving our clients the best event experience possible and building partnerships that last for years to come. This virus has helped us all realign for a better, common purpose. Together, our future will surely be brighter.