Latest News: COVID-19 and the events industry (28 April)
We never thought we’d see the day. . .
. . .when we’re happy the sun’s gone.
But hey, this is 2020. Expect the unexpected.
To kick off this week’s news, we have: a feel-good story showing the selflessness of our industry; a checklist for finding your perfect venue (i.e. something to look forward to); 5 tips for boosting engagement at virtual events; 3 tips for killing your Zoom meetings (not literally); and the many ways in which venues and hotels are preparing for the post-pandemic world.
A career change for tour buses
Turns out it’s not just venues and hotels being repurposed during the COVID-19 pandemic, but transport too. As the live events industry ground to a halt, so did the tour buses that usually deliver rock stars to their concerts. That means companies like Vans For Bands were left with yards full of empty vehicles—marking yet another section of the events industry flattened by lockdown.
But even as his business struggled to stay afloat, boss Tarrant Anderson said he couldn’t let his tour buses sit empty; not after seeing so much news footage of exhausted NHS workers in overflowing hospitals, with nowhere to take a break and decompress. So, after making sure his plan met lockdown guidelines and NHS health & safety standards, he started sending buses to hospitals to act as “hotels on wheels” for doctors and nurses. Tarrant says being able to provide refuge to medical staff has been “a ray of light in pretty dark times” and gives him “reason to get out of bed”.
Honestly, the best outcome of this situation has been stories like this—hearing about all the excellent humans out there doing everything in their power to help.
A checklist for the perfect venue
For all the event profs who are already dreaming of that first post-lockdown event, this one’s for you…
We all know that venue choice can make or break your event—and there’s a lot to consider when making that critical decision. So much so, that it can be easy to forget things, and then kick yourself for it later. That’s why Event Planner whipped up a checklist for finding your perfect venue, with all the questions you need to ask to make sure all your bases are covered. That’s everything from capacity, facilities, and accessibility; to suppliers, furniture, and the all-important (and often-overlooked) tech.
Go and grab a coffee before you dive in, ‘cause it’s a pretty long list. You can’t say we’re not thorough.
5 tips to boost engagement at your online event
While it’s constructive to plan ahead, it’s going to be a while before we can set foot in those venues. So we’re trying to strike the right balance between looking forward to the future, whilst making the most of where we’re at now. And where we’re at, for the time being, is digital-only.
To help you throw yourself into the world of virtual events, Velvet Chainsaw shared a video with 5 top tips for boosting engagement online. This is arguably the hardest aspect of virtual events, especially for newbies, so it’s worth a watch. Expect to hear about the importance of keeping your eye on the prize (aka, your objectives); guidance on picking the right platform; the reasons why you need a virtual host; plus some advice on pre-recording for good measure—all crucial considerations when planning a standout virtual event that will captivate your online audience.
3 ways to kill that Zoom meeting
While we’re on the subject of digital-only, we might as well smash out some online meeting tips as well. We’re on a roll here.
Smart meetings has some smart advice for how to kill that Zoom meeting (and we don’t mean kill dead, no matter how sick of Zoom you probably are). Their 3 snippets of wisdom are:
- Get everyone excited by doing something different: why not run a contest, communicate in emojis, or start the meeting with a dance-off? (We’re not sure about that last one…but we’ll try anything once.)
- Nourish your attendees…literally: take advantage of food delivery services and feed your online guests—catered meetings may not be a thing of the past after all!
- And, of course, make it engaging: a virtual moderator will help you fly through that agenda—and mindfulness/movement breaks won’t hurt either.
How venues are preparing for social distancing
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been lots of buzzwords and phrases kicking around. One we’re hearing again and again is ‘new normal’—often in tandem with ‘social distancing’. That’s because, if we want to break free from lockdown, we’re going to have to accept the fact that our lives are going to be very different for a while.
So what does that mean for live events and the venues that host them? Event Manager Blog shared the steps venues are taking to prepare for social distancing measures, and the conditions that will need to be met for in-person events to resume. It’s an interesting read, and it may help to put your mind at ease…because, although it feels like a long journey to the return of live events, a roadmap is already forming on how we’ll get there.
Hotels are revising their procedures too
It’s not just venues reworking their procedures—hotels are too. Specifically, their disinfection protocols and a revision of their ‘high-touch’ philosophy…We’ll add that to the long list of things we didn’t have to think about until now.
Across the world, hotels are exploring new procedures for reducing personal interaction; from implementing mobile-phone check-in, to eliminating in-room minibars, to reducing housekeeping services. Last week, Marriott rolled out their plan for cleaner, safer properties—with “hygienic enhancements”, including updated food safety procedures, their intent to clean high-touch surfaces with hospital-grade disinfectant, and a social distancing game-plan for reducing human touch-points across their 7,000 hotels.
So, with the hospitality and events sectors on the case, you never know…that next big event or fancy hotel stay may be closer than you think.
Post-lockdown planning in full swing?
Check out our blog: Events in a COVID World