Meeting planning always seems to have another trick up its sleeve no matter how prepared you thought you were. With this and ever-changing rules and regulations about Covid-19 safety, what is a meeting professional to do? While every case of planning differs, there exists a general idea as to what you should ask and do to keep yourself and your attendees in good health.
Events Leadership Institute (ELI) recently released The Event Professional’s Guidebook to In-Person & Hybrid Meetings, Events & Conference, an event guide that covers all things hybrid, attendee safety and general event readiness.
Here we will touch on one aspect: post-Covid site inspection preparedness.
How Concerned with Safety is the Venue?
What are the venue’s safety standards? How safely does it treat guests? Based on this treatment of attendee safety, you may be able to see how well safety procedures are handled, the guide says. Other things it says to do follow.
- Find out how the venue managed during the height of Covid
- Ask what is currently asked of staff, visitors and attendees
- See if its policies are in writing and clearly seen, or just an afterthought
What is the Venue’s Cancellation Policy?
As venues are places that are directly affected by changing rules and regulations, it’s mentally, emotionally and financially advised to ready yourself for the possibility of forced cancellation. ELI recommends knowing about a venue’s cancellation policy as early as possible. Questions to ask your venue follow.
- What will happen to my deposit if I need to cancel due to government restriction or anything else outside of my control?
- Is your cancellation policy different for government-mandated cancellation versus any other type?
- If I need to cancel, can I reschedule without penalty?
Does the Venue Have Proper Ventilation?
Even more important than proper cleaning are efficient air systems, ELI says. A couple of things to be considered are the humidity levels of the space; to prevent the lingering of drops, a humidity level of 50-55 percent is on the mark. Closed-circuit HVAC systems that don’t bring in air from outside are not great for circulation and decrease the number of people who can safely meet in one space. ELI recommends asking if there are portable HEPA systems to filter air in breakout rooms.
How Many Attendees Can I Host Safely?
The fewer hiccups, the better. According to ELI’s “Pandemic On-site Protocols” course, sharing your schedule with the venue as soon as possible will lessen the chances of surprises occurring for either party. There are several questions to ask about attendee capacity.
- How will foot traffic flow?
- Where will lines begin?
- Are capacities treated differently for outdoor events?
- Can entrances and exits be designed to avoid bottlenecks?
How Does the Venue Handle F&B?
Venues have vastly different policies and protocols when it comes to F&B; for this reason, it’s best to find out exactly how your venue will be handling them. ELI suggests asking questions surrounding safety and limiting time spent in gathering areas.
- Can you serve prepackaged, grab-and-go meals and snacks to limit gathering?
- Can you preorder meals via an app to prevent delays?
- Do you operate with plated meals or staffed buffets?