Today (April 16) is my two-year anniversary with ConferenceDirect!
How time has flown. I love being my own boss. Yes, it has its ups and downs, but the advantages FAR outweigh the disadvantages.
Would I have believed it if somebody would have told me two years ago that the world has basically come to a stand-still, most people have to stay inside, that there are almost no meetings and events going on and that it has been like this for a few months already and will continue for the foreseeable future?
A lot of my dear friends and colleagues in the meetings and events industry have been furloughed or even laid off. I feel bad for all of them and am super motivated to bring them as much business as possible as soon as it is possible again.
Until we meet again (hopefully soon). Stay safe, healthy and happy!
I wanted to share some of the best practices and guidelines for meetings and events during this COVID-19 pandemic I collected over the last few weeks.
- Introduce a No Hugs, No Kissing, No Handshaking policy during your conference.
- Remind attendees that social distancing is always good practice.
- Remind attendees not to travel if they are sick or not feeling well.
- Collect attendees’ current contact and emergency information (e.g. during the registration process) for purposes of communicating to attendee pre, onsite and post event.
- Require the property to outline the extra or additional new measures that have been put in place to create a safe environment for your attendees.
- Review & confirm the hotel crisis guidelines prior to your meeting or event. E.g. during the pre-con.
- Consider making masks and gloves available for attendees that might feel compromised.
- Consider adding hand sanitizer as an attendee gift in their registration bags.
- Remind attendees that it is ALWAYS a good idea to wash hands regularly with soap and warm water.
- Ask hotels to ensure warmer water is flowing and to set faucets accordingly.
- Require the property to regularly clean with proper disinfectant cleaner any surfaces or places that attendees are frequently touching.
- Ensure the soap being used at the property is an effective disinfectant.
- Consider hiring a medical professional to attend the event. For example, have a local health provider conduct temperature or wellness checks on each attendee before they enter the meeting or event space.
- Consider having laser equipped thermometers available at your registration & information desk to check all attendees upon badge pick-up.
- Check state and local websites for any new updates pertaining to meetings and communicate it to attendees. Place an official statement on your conference web site and keep it updated leading up to the conference.
COVID-19 F&B Best Practices
- Switch from water coolers to bottled water.
- When selecting banquet breaks consider only offering packaged wrapped food items.
- Require property staff to wear disposable gloves and make sure they switch them out regularly.
- Stagger session end times so that attendees can spread out at lunch and practice safe social distancing.
- Consider not doing buffets anymore but do plated meals instead (see meeting room best practices below).
- Or, instead of buffets, provide stations where trained and gloved property attendants serve food to your attendees.
- Add additional bars and / or bartenders to minimize attendee lines for the bars.
COVID-19 Meeting Room Best Practices
- Aisles in Exhibit Halls and Tradeshows should be set wider.
- Consider having traffic go one way per aisle.
- Create small islands (20′ x 20′) to keep booths as far away as possible from each other.
- “Social Distancing” Meeting Room Sets:
- Classroom: set one or two per six-foot versus three per six-foot
- 60” rounds: set with four to six versus eight or more
- 66” rounds: set with no more than five to seven
- 72” rounds: set no more than six to seven
- If setting theater style: allow extra space between chairs versus having all chairs set up against each other