It’s expected that meetings and events held in the future will be permanently changed by our current situation. Hybrids – live events with the option to participate virtually – and satellite events – where smaller satellite events will complement larger gatherings in order to keep crowd numbers low – may very well become the new norm. The move away from large, flashy events to smaller, unique boutique ones may create better opportunities for audience engagement and trust building.
Non-traditional venues are being considered more often than in previous years. A visually appealing, unique venue is more engaging for attendees and encourages them to post information about the event on social media. Some examples of non-traditional venues for hosting events might include warehouses, gardens, museums, art galleries, and co-working spaces.
Some of the factors that will have to be taken into account for future physical events include:
- seating arrangements – that provide appropriate social distancing while still allowing for engagement and discussion;
- entry, exit and registration – no more registration lines or registration desks;
- meals service – no more long lines for food during meeting breaks or buffet service;
- sanitation stations – hand washing and sanitizing booths will need to be readily available along with frequent decontamination of the facility between meetings; and,
- medical standby: triage or isolation rooms will need to be available if someone becomes ill, and arrangements with local hospitals made in advance;
The CDC has offered some guidelines for events and gatherings, stressing the need for event planners and officials to first collaborate with state and local health officials. It has also provided the CDC’s Events and Gatherings Readiness and Planning Tool.