The Path To Live Events Pt1
A multi-part series on the return of in-person events.
Written by: Gianna Kreider, CTUS Project Manager
The safe return:
Public health experts estimate it will take some time for a return to total normalcy. That does not mean we have to stop enjoying life until then. We can still produce live shows in a safe and responsible environment and while there is no proven playbook for how we return, there are several steps we should be prepared for as we plan our next live event.
- Masks and PPE: many states and corporations still have mask mandates in place. Planning to have masks onsite for guests can help mitigate these mandates. This could also be a branding opportunity for attendee swag.
- Vaccinations: Some venues and events are asking for proof of vaccination for attendance. Communicate this to attendees well in advance and be prepared to document in advance of the event.
- Social distancing: gone are the days of cramming as many people into a room as fire codes would allow, at least for now. Make sure to have accurate drawings of how many people can safely fit in a room based on state and county restrictions. Also plan for a more limited total capacity.
- Health screening and temperature checks: many venues and clients have implemented these procedures to help catch symptoms early. Make sure attendees are aware they may need extra time to complete new procedures.
- Enhanced sanitation: hand sanitizer and restrooms should be readily available throughout the event
- Physical barriers and guides: providing tape or stickers on the floor to encourage social distancing can help to ensure attendees maintain proper distancing. Single direction entrances and exits can assist in managing traffic flow.
- Covid compliance officers: many unions and event crew are requiring a covid compliance officer be onsite to ensure everyone stays safe. This will be an additional expense to consider when budgeting.
- Cancellation contingency plans: Until we are completely in the clear from COVID, it does not hurt to have a plan if the venue or state cancels the event. Make sure to talk through plans with suppliers and understand how it affects each person in the chain to produce your event. Looking into the venue contract, as well as event insurance can also help prepare for any situation.
Communicating new procedures:
The event business is still in a state of flux, meaning rules and regulations can change at any moment. By keeping attendees informed, we can keep shows running smoothly.
- Pre-event communication: Keep attendees informed through email of any changes made before the event and make sure if you offer a virtual component, that you offer clear instructions on how those attendees can participate.
- Safety guide: creating a list of protocols will make PPE and vaccination requirements clear to all attendees and outlines the steps taken to keep everyone safe and healthy.
- On-site signage: ample digital signage will be the clearest way to communicate and remind attendees of the required safety guidelines. It can also direct attendees to sanitation stations and warn of high traffic areas.
Moving things digital:
The last year has made us all very aware of how many touch points there are during a live event. By moving parts of your conference digital, you can offer a safer, simpler experience.
- Mobile registration: create a user interface that allows attendees to register and check in on their own. Having a self-printing badge station removes another point of interaction.
- QR codes: Codes are very versatile. They can be attached to badges to gather attendee information, scanned for booth information, or linked to important information.
- Mobile ordering: Any food options onsite could provide online menus and mobile orders to reduce interaction.
- Enhanced virtual participation: adding a streaming component to live events not only makes allowances for those who do not yet feel comfortable venturing out but appeals to those who may not be able to travel.
- Satellite events: create small in-person gatherings that are connected via a virtual component like a watch party.
The industry aesthetic is changing, and we must account for that when moving back into live events. Establishing trust will be a critical component in the transition back to in-person.