Corporate event companies are facing many challenges during the current pandemic. In addition to working around event bans, these companies had to deal with event cancellations and significant revenue losses in the early days of the crisis.
Many companies have adapted to COVID-19 by swapping out their live events for virtual ones instead. Other companies are waiting for event bans to be lifted so that they can host in-person events while following COVID-19 precautions. Let’s look at how corporate event companies can take care of attendees in either scenario.
1. Taking care of attendees in virtual events
Virtual events are the safest way to host events while keeping attendees safe. However, organisers still need to take some steps to ensure that their virtual event goers are safe from the virus in the days leading up to the event, and during the event itself.
Keeping attendees safe before the virtual event
Virtual event attendees are less likely to catch the coronavirus compared to in-person live event attendees; but they may still catch the virus in the days leading up to the event if organisers haven’t taken precautions.
If people need to go outside to purchase tickets for your event, they will be exposing themselves to the virus and risking the safety of their household. Visiting a ticketing booth and purchasing tickets in-person could be potentially dangerous as COVID-19 is primarily spread through person-to-person contact.
Ticket purchasers could catch the virus from the ticket seller, or from other people in close proximity to them. In addition to this, they may catch it from handling money that is infected.
To combat this issue, event organisers should make tickets available online. These tickets should be purchasable using online payment methods to avoid the physical exchange of currency. They should also be easy to print at home, to minimise the likelihood of attendees needing to step outside.
Similarly, virtual events should be hosted on video conferencing or webinar software that are easy to download and install. There’s no point hosting a virtual event on a software that requires special expertise to install. If event organisers make this mistake, attendees may have to ask IT company workers to come in and set up the software for them, thereby potentially exposing them to the virus.
In addition to using lightweight and widely compatible virtual conference software, organisers should provide attendees with easy-to-follow instructions for installing these software. This makes it easier for attendees to be ready for the event without requiring in-person assistance from others.
Taking care of attendees during the virtual event
There isn’t much that corporate event companies can do to keep their attendees safe during the virtual event, as they will likely be sitting in their own homes. It’s possible to run through a checklist of COVID-19 safety tips and social distancing guidelines during the intro to your event, to get attendees better acquainted with COVID-19 safety.
However, most of the focus during the event will be on keeping attendees engaged. Your event management agency should use a virtual event software that supports features such as text chat boxes and screen sharing capabilities to maximise attendee interest in the event.
Event goers should be able to interact with one another using these features, and help the event move along in certain cases. Webinars often feature polls and surveys to keep virtual event-goers interested with the presentation or lecture.
2. Taking care of attendees at in-person events
If your event management agency is considering hosting in-person live events in the near-future, they will need to set up and follow certain social distancing guidelines to keep attendees safe. This means minimising contact between staff and attendees, and using protective equipment wherever needed.
Keeping attendees safe before the event
Similar to the case with virtual events, ticket sales for your event should be confined to online websites to minimise the risk of attendees stepping outside to purchase tickets. Tickets should also be easy to print at home, as with virtual events.
Keeping attendees safe during the event
To keep your attendees safe during the event, corporate event companies will need to take special measures that are in line with social distancing. This includes refusing to allow attendees to enter the event without a safety mask, and using floor markers at the event entrance to help event goers practice social distancing while they are lining up.
If your event is seated, each chair should be placed a minimum of 1.5 meters away from other ones. You should also set up hand sanitiser stations around the event venue so that it is easier for attendees to disinfect their hands. Organisers can also sell safety masks at the entrance to keep all event-goers safe.
Organisers should hire event staff to look out for sick or infected attendees at the venue’s entrance. These employees can be equipped with laser thermometers to check if any event-goers are exhibiting high body temperature, which is a COVID-19 symptom. Any attendees that fail this temperature check should not be allowed inside the venue, and can be provided a full refund later.
There isn’t much you can do to promote social distancing once the event starts. You could ask speakers and performers to periodically remind attendees to space themselves apart, but having fixed seating could be a more effective option for social distancing.
Once your event is over, speakers can ask attendees to leave the event in an organised manner that keeps them from getting too close to one another.
These aforementioned measures aren’t foolproof, but they should be able to keep attendees relatively safe before and during your event. Nobody knows when the COVID-19 crisis will be resolved, so each event management agency will need to take these precautions if they are thinking of hosting an event in the near future.
Sarah Hill is a content writer at Seven Events Ltd – a leading event management company offering event organising, conference organiser and venue finding in UK. She started her career in the events industry almost a decade ago as time progressed she became an avid event blogger sharing her insight on corporate event planning.