Event attendees experience a New Normal
The economic impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic have compounded the terrible toll of human suffering. Business losses, and the inevitable cost-cutting and travel restrictions associated with them, have had an immediate impact on conference centers, sports arenas, and public venues of all sizes.
Long-planned conferences, concerts, tradeshows, and sporting events have been canceled or postponed. Over 70% of recent tech conferences have shifted to a virtual format and at least 17 have been canceled. The Cancelled Music Events described at Billboard.com include more than 340 tours, festivals, and concerts.
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
The indelible human need for face-to-face exchange and the crammed calendar of postponed events may lead to a surge of activity in 2021. Consider these strategies to prepare a venue now for the new normal. All are available today and many will be essential tomorrow.
- Some event attendees must stay-at-home, but for many more, live streaming can enhance their onsite attendance. It may enable multi-track participation or refresh memories back at the workplace.
- Thermal cameras offer low-cost verification that community health and safety guidelines are being followed.
- Occupancy can be tallied as people pass through doorways. Realtime digital messages can display current space capacity percentages, recommend areas of less traffic, and post counts of available seating. Those digital signs can also offer periodic reminders of health and safety best practices.
- Supplementing the ubiquitous hand sanitizer bottles and dispensers, touchless technologies further limit the spread of contaminants.
- QR codes move meeting collateral, bulletins, and dining menus to smartphone screens.
- Voice and facial recognition can unlock doors, personalize reminders, or reserve and schedule meetings throughout a facility.
Cancellation clauses are essential. Contracts must be re-worded for clarity in the COVID-19 pandemic and any future health crises. While building operators face lost revenue, event managers risk paying for an unused venue. Those conflicting interests require planning scenarios that would be triggered by a resurgence, a case cluster, or a new health threat.
Events of all sizes will require cancellation insurance. Leases and booking contracts cannot avert pandemic risks. As facility and event managers seek to boost communicable disease coverage, insurers will be less likely to offer that in a standard form. Some may offer optional extensions. Regardless of format, underwriting is certain to include stringent terms and limitations.
Achieve 3rd party accreditation for emerging pathogen response
Preparing a venue for pandemic threats and being ready to respond to and recover from outbreaks may be the most essential strategies of this new normal. For that effort, a facility can earn internationally recognized accreditation.
Venues of all sizes in more than 64 countries are working toward GBAC STAR™ accreditation. Documented achievement of GBAC’s 20-point cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention program can build public trust and earn the confidence of attendees and employees.