As a planner, you’re probably focussed on the future of your event programs – even while working from home. But the fact is, venue sourcing is now filled with new challenges and concerns for many events professionals—many they’ve never experienced before. Venue sourcing from a distance for safer event planning is a new muscle many planners must develop in a short time.
When hybrid and in-person events return, there will be a whole new way to think about event spaces and layouts, with details that you have not had to consider before. Attendees will expect an environment with social distancing and health protocols in place, and it will be more important than ever to find the perfect venues that can deliver safe event experiences.
The added challenge is finding event spaces with enough room to accommodate layouts that ensure safety, without physically going on-site to see them. In this post, we’ll discuss the ways you can confidently source the perfect venues for your attendees, while at the same time putting them at ease when it comes to safety.
The Future of Event Sourcing is Here
Venue sourcing strategies of the recent past centred on typical factors such as location and destination appeal, budgeting, transportation, A/V, meeting space, nightlife and entertainment, etc. All those aspects are still 100% in-play, with the new layer of safety being the utmost concern to your attendees and staff. So, your requirements need to be tweaked, which means working closely with your chosen venue(s) in new ways.
Finding venues that meet your requirements
We know that different states and localities have different safety requirements, and hotels and venues that want to attract meetings, conferences, and trade shows are working diligently to ensure they meet these requirements. And, your organisation may have stricter (or looser) standards when it comes to safety concerns than state or local guidelines. This wrinkle in your sourcing process means working closely with venues to meet your requirements as well as other guidelines. Additionally, some of your attendees may be anxious about attending events, while others may be raring to go. With all these considerations in mind, drilling down to the basics is a good start when sourcing. Questions you may want to ask your prospective meeting venue may include:
- Can room seals be added to each room door, notifying that the room has not been accessed since its last thorough clean?
- What is the disinfection schedule of the most used guest areas?
- What cleaning guidelines are in place for gyms and fitness equipment within the hotel?
- Are there guest-accessible disinfecting wipes available? What about hand sanitizer? How about rooms?
- Do they offer contactless check-in and keyless rooms?
- What types of innovative disinfection technologies are they employing?
When it comes to social distancing, the layout of the venue is paramount. That goes for 10 guests or 10,000. How the venue or hotel manages social distancing will be on your attendees’ minds. They will also want to know how you plan to keep everyone a safe distance from each other before they commit to registering and then attending your event.
Before you submit an RFP, carefully review the floorplans. If hotels and venues are using event diagramming software, great. If not, you can utilise these tools to help to visualise and lay out the meeting space digitally.
Mapping out space and implementing distancing guidelines for your event
Event diagramming tools ease the burden of not being able to go on site visits and help you plot out your meeting space from the comfort of your desk (or couch!). You can collaborate in real-time to create a safe event experience for all of your attendees, including:
- Designing your event to accommodate social distancing and safety guidelines to ensure that you have the right attendee capacities for each space
- Map out locations of hand sanitising stations, mask stations, wall-mounted cleanliness stations, and more for public areas
- Run a diagram check to ensure your layout meets designated requirements
- Collaborate with stakeholders and visit your venue virtually to see what your event looks like down to the last detail
Customising floor plans to provide a safe environment for attendees
When it comes to planning and hosting safe events, digital event diagramming tools and virtual tours are a great way to accommodate social distancing, including:
- Giving attendees who may be anxious about the changing nature of events peace of mind
- Satisfying all safety guidelines and set up spaces in accordance with social distancing measures based on state and local guidelines
- Providing contactless check-in for stress-free attendee arrivals
- Ensuring the meeting space is big enough for expected attendance and avoid overcrowding
- Utilising arrows to direct attendee flow to indicate smooth travel within the space
- Setting up easy-to-find/access hand sanitiser stations in the ideal locations
Venue Sourcing from a Distance Ensures Safer Events
Forget what you knew about space requirements. Social distancing is changing all that. A venue that used to fit 500 may not anymore. Using technology will help you find the right venue and collect critical information from hotels to ensure the venue fits the new normal and meets attendees' needs and concerns. You can access diagrams on a venue profile to get a true sense of the space without having to do an on-site visit.
More than ever, the wellbeing of your attendees must be your top priority. You must provide peace of mind to an anxious, reluctant public. The more organisers can build and market a safe experience, the more likely they are to have a successful, well-attended event.
That means careful planning of every part of the event experience, from finding and managing the physical space of the venue to how attendees’ check-in, move through your event, consume content, and network with one another.