I can’t wait to start planning events again — but what do events look like after lockdown?
As I listen to webinars with industry experts, theorize with colleagues, and read what feels like thousands of articles, planners are having to rethink how they have typically planned events in the past and anticipate what kinds of changes they’ll need to incorporate into their event processes moving forward.
There are four areas where I anticipate I will be focusing more on when selecting venues post-pandemic.
1. Contract clauses
A manager once told me if I ever signed an event contract as is, with no edits, I wasn’t doing my job. That advice has stuck with me through my years planning corporate events, and while I always try to redline venue clauses for my own clauses, there are times where a venue has said no to my changes. In the past, I’d say I was willing to be lenient and move forward, but post-lockdown, I suspect we’ll be pushing a little bit harder for venues to be flexible with contract deposits, cancellation schedules, and, if necessary, changes to the force majeure, and even indemnity and hold harmless language. I think a lot more corporate planners will be playing it safe with respect to which contracts they sign for events in the upcoming months.
2. Capacity restrictions
One of my goals while planning events is to make sure the space looks filled with attendees. I always like the illusion of a crowded event. Unfortunately, that is now the opposite of what we will want. The new goal will be to provide an event environment where people feel safe and comfortable, and this will mean more space. We can expect that the first meetings after reopening restrictions will require a lot of additional thought and considerations around the number of people attending and gathering in small spaces. We are likely going to see corporations asking for larger spaces for fewer people. This will need venues to rethink how to market their event spaces to attract planners, and what new capacities will look like for at least a little bit once we are able to host events again.
3. Protective measures
We are already seeing a lot of major corporations, such as Delta and Marriott, who are changing their cleaning procedures in order to make it safer to travel once stay at home orders are lifted. Part of my job when choosing venues moving forward will be to find out what kinds of measures they will be taking in order to host in-person events again safely. Will staff be required to wear masks and gloves? Will you be taking temperatures at the door? Will you have hand sanitizer available for my attendees? How often are you cleaning high-touch areas? It is important for us to take all of these into consideration when deciding on a venue to make sure we are providing a safe environment for our guests.
4. Hybrid events
If you had asked me what I knew about virtual events three months ago, I truthfully would have said nothing. My job has always focused on in-person events and the value that they bring to the corporations I’ve worked for. In fact, I was really pushed out of my comfort zone with having to think about and make the quick shift to providing virtual events — and this is only the beginning. We’re seeing now that virtual events will be here to stay, and while in-person events won’t be going away by any means, corporate planners are going to be tasked with merging the two together. We will be looking for ways venues can help add to our hybrid events initiatives by providing ways to help live stream our event or offering packages that include virtual options.
We’re all in this together
Tripleseat has created a Social Hour series, which is a weekly virtual roundtable for event professionals to meet and discuss the biggest issues their industry is facing right now. Register for our next Social Hour, Strategies for Reopening, which takes place on Thursday, May 14 at 3:30 pm.
We’re also continuing to provide tips for the hospitality industry on our blog and our podcast. We also have a recording of our webinar, Adapting Your Business to Change, which includes ideas on how to grow revenue during this uncertain time and Tripleseat tools you can use to stay ahead of the game. And join our Facebook group, Event Manager Community, to connect with peers and discuss the impact of the coronavirus on the events industry.