Latest News: COVID-19 and the events industry (27 May)
Week 10 of lockdown’s got us like. . .
But we’re #StillStayingHome…*sigh*…
In today’s news: why future events will be low-key and local (because an epidemiologist says so); 10 ways to make your event hygienic *and* sustainable; new contract and cancellation guidance for venues; how to fortify your event strategy to withstand a crisis; inventive icebreakers for online meetings; and an introduction to ‘quarantine comedy’. Because who doesn’t need a good laugh right now?
Epidemiologist says future events will be low-key
Our industry is buzzing with debate about what events will look like in a post-COVID world—though we can’t think of anyone more qualified to weigh in on this discussion than a guy with the title ‘epidemiologist’.
Event Manager Blog spoke to Dr. Brian Labus—an epidemiologist and health sciences expert at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas—to help event profs prepare for the challenges that lie beyond lockdown. These are the key takeaways:
- Small meetings are more controllable. The fewer people, the lower the risk—50 attendees seems to be a reasonable cap, at least to start with.
- Local is safer. Keeping events local, and making sure only locals attend, can decrease the risk of transmission.
- Limit events to a half day & limit sessions to 30 minutes. This avoids prolonged contact in an atmosphere where the virus may be accumulating.
- Testing at the door may not be practical after all. Since it requires time to process tests, and attendees may get infected during the event itself.
- Masks should be mandatory. Hand them out at registration, or beforehand as part of delegate packs.
10 sustainable & hygienic event ideas
Although events will be low-key and local for the foreseeable future, event profs will still have their hands full implementing new-and-improved hygiene protocols. And while single-use, disposable items are a safe and easy solution, we should all remember that our industry has made great strides towards more sustainable events in recent years, and we shouldn’t throw away all that progress now—not when it can be so easily avoided.
For the good of everyone’s health, both now and in the future, Smart Meetings has come up with 10 post-lockdown event ideas that are both hygienic *and* sustainable. They cover everything from reusable signage and event apps in place of printed handouts; to eco-friendly food containers and compostable cutlery; to reusable cloth face masks—branded with your event logo, for good measure.
Essential reading—because, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the pollution (nothing like a catchy rhyme to keep us all accountable).
MIA develops contract & cancellation guidelines
One for all our venue partners…
Following the devastating wave of event cancellations at the start of the year, and ahead of lockdown restrictions being lifted, the Meetings Industry Association (MIA) has developed contract and cancellation guidance to help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on future bookings, and ensure all parties are protected.
The step-by-step guide details all the actions venues should take to ensure their cancellation policy is fair and totally transparent. It also includes a dedicated COVID-19 contract clause, which venue operators can safely add to their existing contracts. You can find further info on the guidance here.
Redefine your event strategy to survive a crisis
While we’re on the topic of mass event cancellations, let’s talk about fortifying your event strategy. We could never have imagined a time when events would be banned and social distancing would be the norm…and yet, here we are. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s how fragile the events industry is in the face of a global crisis. So the question events profs are asking themselves now is—can we be better prepared?
Event Planner reckons we can, so they’ve suggested 5 ways to redefine your event strategy and ensure the show can *always* go on. You can read the full article here, but here’s a sneak peak at the main points:
- Tip #1. Don’t rely exclusively on in-person events.
- Tip #2. Build a strong online event infrastructure. *
- Tip #3. Take your SWOT analysis seriously (even though you won’t want to).
- Tip #4. Be agile & resourceful when planning an event.
- Tip #5. Create protocols for possible crisis scenarios.
6 inventive icebreakers for virtual meetings
A few briefings back, we talked about how to banish awkwardness in virtual meetings and stop everyone talking over each other—because the struggle is real. Well, if you have the opposite problem and can’t get people to *start talking in the first place*, Smart Meetings has you covered. They’ve dreamed up with 6 icebreakers for online meetings—everything from simple pre-meeting chit-chat and goal-oriented prompts, to quick-fire trivia rounds and get-to-know-you ‘speed meetings’.
And if literally everything else fails, you could always try the fat penguin joke. That tip’s on us.
So, a guy walks into a Zoom call. . .
Or, if the ice is well and truly broken, and you want to take your Zoom meetings to the next level, allow us to introduce you to ‘quarantine comedy’—an oxymoron if ever there was one.
Quarantine comedy via video call is how performers and club owners are continuing to reach audiences during the pandemic. Take Harrison Greenbaum, for example; he’s performed more than 100 online comedy shows in less than 2 months. He keeps audiences entertained by riffing off their home-office backgrounds and providing lots of top-notch quarantine humour. Think along the lines of: “This is my dream—I’ve always wanted to perform with my pants off!”
So yeah…if you’re looking for local comedians to appear in your Zoom chats, we humbly volunteer.