Booking Events During the New Normal: What Event Planners Need from Venues


As we move into a new, potentially post-pandemic era with widespread COVID-19 vaccinations and fewer restrictions, people are starting to book events and celebrations again. But what are the new rules during this time? We’re figuring it out together, and we have advice from the panel of an EventCamp digital series panel discussion as a resource for event professionals who are seeking answers in this ever-changing climate.

What Event Planners Want From Your Venue features panelists Kristi Allan, Vice President/Senior Manager of Events at AllianceBernstein; Mai Miller, Co-Founder and Vice President of Client Services at The New Normal; and Natalie Thomas, Co-Founder of MTG Hospitality. Attendees of our discussion will find out what planners are looking for from venues right now, when they expect in-person events to return, and what they are doing in the meantime.

Prior to the panel discussion, we asked our panelists to share their thoughts on planning events in 2021 and you can find responses from Allan and Miller below. Thomas was recently a guest on our podcast, Two Chicks, Three Seats, and you can listen to her tips on the podcast episode below or via our blog post.

Or watch the video recording of our podcast discussion on YouTube:

Here’s what Allan and Miller had to say on booking events during this new normal:

What are you looking for from venues in terms of COVID safety when planning events?

Allan: First and foremost, the safety of attendees and staff is most critical. Since the covid restrictions are so fluid, we will rely on venues to be up to date on current CDC guidelines and local restrictions and keep us aware of any changes that occur during the planning process. 

Miller: Ideally I would love to see the venue’s current event-ready protocols and procedures, what updates and accommodations have been implemented to ensure the safety of guests and staff. Both are equally important! I am not a planner who solely believes in the interest of my guests. It is vitally important to me that the venue, staff, ancillary staff, vendors, and guests/attendees all are ensured the same safety measures. I am always eager to engage in thoughtful and discerning conversation with property + venue staff to ensure all parties involved are safe and accounted for. This early and immediate collaboration instills an attitude of collaboration and helps set the tone for the entire event. My process is wildly collaborative and consultative and that always includes venue staff and vendor support.

What types of events are you planning for 2021 and what time frame are you looking at for in-person events?

Allan: We are looking at hosting smaller, regional meetings in Q4 of 2021. We are hoping to host our larger meetings in the first half of 2022. I can’t wait to be back in person!

Miller: I am currently planning a lot of non-profit, educational, and social events. The corporate events are currently very small and the majority of them are being held exclusively virtually for the moment. Many of the educational and non-profit events are incorporating a hybrid model including about 25 percent in-person and 75 percent virtually through 2021.

Get ready for a hospitality industry comeback

Watch the recording of the What Event Planners Want From Your Venue planner panel. You’ll gain insights that can help your restaurant, hotel, or unique venue get back to business for in-person events.