With an extra-safe precaution plan in place, our event planners recently held an in-person meeting of 150 people in Texas.
Demand for sheltering in place and social distancing to reduce the spread of the coronavirus affected the meetings industry deeply. But for groups that rely on in-person gatherings as integral to their sales strategy, a virtual affair wouldn’t cut it. Recently, a client held its sales kickoff in Texas, with 150 representatives in attendance. Our event planners swiftly stepped in to guide them to success by working with the client to establish advanced safety protocols.
Here’s how it was done:
- A detailed and transparent pre-conference communications plan. A series of crystal-clear email communications helped to set attendee expectations, listing overall safety protocols, and a mandate to remain on the hotel property for the duration of the meeting. The event website as well as the registration confirmation e-mail listed all safety guidelines for attendees. Before the event, the client also supplied a personal protective equipment (PPE) kit which included 5 reusable/washable face masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer.
- Extensive health guidelines. Attendees received and mailed in COVID-19 testing three days before and three days after the meeting. The client and the host hotel also required masks for all guests, staff, and participants. In addition, trained EMTs performed daily thermal temperature checks; anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit would be scanned again and denied entry if they were confirmed to have a fever. In the event it was called for, the client would cover the hotel costs for the individual to self-quarantine upon returning home.
- Additional sanitizing measures. The event space was disinfected nightly with foggers. Additionally, touchless sanitizing kiosks were set up throughout the event space. Between sessions, production staff sanitized the microphone and other A/V gear.
- Social distancing continued throughout the event space. Chairs and table pods were placed six feet apart. There were assigned seating arrangements so that everyone used the same seating for the duration of the event. Other measures include designated entrance/exit locations to minimize potential bottlenecking and foot traffic. Additionally, transportation from the airport operating at 50% capacity was organized and implemented. Attendees also wore color-coded wristbands to signify their level of comfort being amongst a large group.
- Full-service food and beverage played a role. In this current normal, guests were served by hotel staff to remain as touchless as possible. The meeting F&B used buffet and food stations spaced throughout the event with masked server attendants behind plexiglass dividers. Additionally, catering menus were made available via QR code for attendees to access.
- Detailed on-site policies and procedures. In addition to the hotel policies, there was a nightly curfew of 10 p.m., with a guideline in place that alcohol not be served to attendees after that time.
“The client was thrilled to hold this event and the attendees were so happy to be together,” remarked Kowana Ragland, CMP, the project manager for the meeting.
Following the event, no positive cases of COVID-19 were reported. The meeting exceeded expectations, with positive feedback from the client and the attendees. “So much so that the client is interested in partnering with us to rebook this same property next year for another company event,” added Christine Hilgert, CMP.
We can help you prepare your event for 2020 and beyond. Learn more about our meetings and events services.