Meetings and Events: Life After Lockdown

As we pass the pandemic peak what will life after lockdown look like for meetings and events?

Venues have been working hard during the lockdown period to proactively plan for their re-opening and many venues will have active working documents and guidelines in place ready to launch once the latest government advise has been factored in.

 So, what might the ‘new normal’ look like for meetings and events and what will event planners need to consider? Bien Venue have been liaising with our account managers to ask four key questions on how venues will deliver low contact events.

How are venues going to accommodate the new normal?

Venues are making plans to ensure meetings and events can happen in line with the latest government guidelines, some measures that have been shared with Bien Venue include;

  • individually sealed meal packs to avoid cross contamination by attendees at buffet stations
  • sanitation stations in each room
  • social distancing measures through the introduction of one-way markers on the floor
  • additional staff marshalling attendees around venues
  • regular cleaning of hard surfaces, handles, chairs, and event equipment

Studio Venues have released a full event and meeting plan as part of their reopening strategy which includes a pre-event advice sheet with tips to advise on social distancing steps, additional staff marshalling at peak times and staggered refreshment breaks to accommodate multiple events.

What are venues doing to safeguard attendees?

Health and safety

This is going to be paramount for organisers, venues, and attendees alike. Venues are increasing their hygiene and deep cleaning procedures.

  • Hyatt have announced a ‘Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment’ this includes accreditation through a performance-based cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention program.
  • Hilton have joined forces with Dettol to launch their ‘CleanStay’ programme an industry-defining standard of cleanliness and disinfection
  • Radisson have announced a new ‘safety protocol’  that centres on a new program of an in-depth cleanliness and disinfection procedure, in partnership with SGS, a leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company.

These new measures introduce enhanced standards for rigorous sanitation, cleanliness and disinfection practices that, in many venues, will be followed up by comprehensive and independent auditing.

Other venues have set up dedicated Committees who are reviewing policies in all areas of the venue in preparation for re-opening and receiving guests. Venues are also taking the WHO advice on ensuring where possible open windows and doors whenever possible to make sure the venue is well ventilated.

What does this mean for event attendees?

In addition to the usual hand washing facilities, venues are likely to provide hand sanitisers in public bathrooms and reception areas. In refreshment breaks sealed disposable cups will be offered to clients may wish to use rather than glasses or mugs. In event rooms expect to see sanitation stations as the norm which will include anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitisers.

How will social distancing measures effect the delivery of meetings and events?

Whilst mass gatherings are currently considered higher risk, smaller meetings and events are more likely to come out of lockdown first. Supermarkets have led the way on social distancing and similar social distance markers will be introduced on the floors and, wherever possible, one-way systems with arrows will encourage easier and safer movement for attendees. Doors where possible and safe to do so will be left open so there is less surface-to-hand contact, attendees encouraged to use stairs and venue staff on hand to help direct customers and ensure minimal dwell time at pinch points. Bien Venue will work closely with venues and our clients to propose the best layout to achieve social distance and to meet event needs.

Protecting the safety of staff and attendees is paramount. Therefore ensuring venues have in place the right training, on hygiene, infection prevention, and equipment, such as PPE and protective screens, will be a key consideration.

How will venues be approaching room capacities and minimum numbers?

For event organisers key considerations will be booking an appropriately sized room to achieve social distancing for attendees , this is likely to mean revised layouts where appropriate and possible changes to suitable catering s. Venues are looking to incorporate appropriate social distancing measures for all meetings, room capacities are being reviewed and redrafted. This has been a key discussion point for venues and it is likely that a room that would typically have a capacity of 100 may be reduced by up to two thirds to accommodate safe distancing. Cabaret layout is likely to be the most challenging, however venues are adapting their approach to ensure their maximise room capacities under the new guidelines. Examination, boardroom and u-shape layouts will help and become popular when ensuring attendees are not only comfortable but safely seated throughout the meeting.

To sum up whilst there are still several questions and levels of uncertainty about how the latest government advice will affect meeting and events, it has been refreshing to see the professional and pro-active approach venues are adapting to embrace the future changes.

Whether you’re planning short term or further ahead Bien Venue are here to help. 

Contact our expert team to discuss either a new enquiry or to ask our personal option on how best to adapt your events to the new norm.