Planning a corporate event has always been a bit of a logistical challenge, whether it is an
in-house conference or social event. But, in a post-Covid world, there is going to be an extra level of complexity, and there are a number of questions which you need to answer.
Teambuilder, as part of the Theatre Workout family, has over 15 years of event planning experience. We're guided by advice by leading national and international associations to plan and deliver our events, and here is some of that advice to help you plan your next event.
When can events resume?
The UK government's current roadmap lays out the earliest dates of when the economy and society can open up. These dates can change, but the roadmap's key dates for events are:
Step 2 - no earlier than 12 April. This is when some non-essential shops and indoor services can resume, and some small-scale outdoor events can begin. We're all looking forward to hairdressers reopening, but they, along with libraries and community centres will continue to socially distance, just like supermarkets currently do. So too will outdoor attractions and settings including outdoor hospitality venues, zoos and theme parks. There will also be a cap of up to 15 people for indoor reception events such as weddings.
Step 3 - no earlier than 17 May will be the earliest most event organisers are looking forward to, although there will still be significant restrictions in place. The rule of 6 still applies as a general rule, and while up to 30 people will now be able to attend wedding receptions, theatres and other indoor venues can reopen with a cap of 1000 people/50% capacity (whichever is smaller)
Step 4 - no earlier than 21 June will be the date all event planners are looking forward too, when we hope all remaining businesses can reopen, with easing of restrictions on large events and performances that apply in Step 3, subject to the results of a scientific Events Research Programme. This will be to test the outcome of certain pilot events through the spring and summer.
Even when restrictions are lifted, it is likely we will have to behave differently to keep ourselves and others safe, and some rules and guidance regarding sanitation, social distancing and mask wearing, is likely to remain part of our lives for months, if not years to come.
As an event organiser, you will need to demonstrate you have taken all necessary precautions and given suitable advice to delegates and staff to minimise the risk of contracting COVID-19 by attending your event.
Demonstrating your understanding of risk, and taking all precautions doesn't mean things won't go wrong, but it will give you and your guests/staff peace of mind:
Consider requesting all attendees are tested in the 48 hours of the event starting
Have screening at the door with temperature checks and random rapid testing
Provide sanitation stations throughout the venue
Request face masks continue to be worn where appropriate
Ensure signage is clear and consistent
Know who is at the event and how to contact them should an outbreak occur
Events during the summer months of 2021 are likely to be in high demand, so if you're planning an event, start now!
Look for venues with outdoor spaces, such as rural hotels, or with gardens in city areas, and pray for good weather, but have a backup option to hire open-sided marques to provide rain shelter while keeping the space well ventilated.
Extra cleaning pre and post event will need to be a factor, as will the opportunity to have one-way systems, sanitation stations, and ample social distancing measures to prevent overcrowding.
Indoor venues should also have decent ventilation and/or air conditioning with filters known to be successful at removing bacteria to reduce the likelihood of contamination.
Sit down dinners should be fine, but as too will small plates, but open access buffets may be a no-go for now, as these are prone to contamination. Food which is hygienically served, rather than self-service, will be the way to go.
Nightclubs should hopefully reopen from 21st June 2021, but they are likely to have reduced capacity, so dancefloors will need to be larger to enable social distancing.
Think about how you will manage situations where people can get overheated, and therefore breathing more heavily by having increased ventilation in these areas, remind people to follow the 'hands, face, space' rules, and have cool-down periods.
Will events cost more?
Yes, but for all the right reasons. It is to be expected that with increased costs, your suppliers and venue may charge extra for cleaning, sanitation, safeguarding, staff training and security, insurance, etc. All businesses have lost significant revenue in the wake of COVID, but recouping losses is unlikely to be their motivation for charging more - most are just grateful to be getting back to business, and not overinflating prices will be better for them long-term.
What can we do to make the event a success?
Know what you want and be clear about your expectations with suppliers. The clearer the advice you can give at the start, the easier it will be to plan, co-ordinate and deliver the logistics of the event.
Keep communication channels open throughout the planning stages, and ensure contracts are clear about who is responsible for what should anything go wrong, with joint plans in place to deal with them.
How can Teambuilder help?
With over 15 years of event planning behind us, we have created a bespoke event planning service designed to deliver the event you want.
In the post-COVID world we will be managing events using effective technology and industry guidance to minimise risk to guests and staff, with an end-to-end event planning strategy.
Contact us today for a free consultation and start planning your next event with confidence!