We all know events are going to look and feel very different from now on, but that doesn’t mean they need to be scary! As venues and event organisers work together to make their events safe for everyone, it’s equally important that delegates not only feel confident in attending but also that they abide by the guidelines laid out and take responsibility for their safety and the safety of others.
It's therefore important to communicate your expectations to delegates so that everyone is on the same page and any pre-event nerves are kept at bay. By keeping in touch with your delegates on the below considerations, events will be a safe experience for everyone to enjoy.
In a recent delegate confidence survey, we found that 54.3% would attend an event if they were invited, and that 94% would attend an accredited Safer Event if it was required of them by their job. Therefore, it's fair to say people feel fairly confident in attending events as long as they're safe. So what are you waiting for!? Download our Safer Events White Paper for more information on safety measures, current guidance and our Safer Events accreditation.
Implement risk mitigation measures
We created the Hire Space Safer Events accreditation to support the industry to organise events again with less risk. If your event is as safe as it can possibly be, then there should be no reason for it to be unsuccessful. Therefore, it's really important to implement risk mitigation measures to ensure you're not putting yourselves or your delegates at risk.
Risk mitigation measures include but are by no means limited to: screening each individual who enters the venue (whether that's staff or delegates), ensuring seating is laid out adhering to government guidelines, providing social distancing reminders, setting up a one way system throughout the venue, ensuring each individual present wears a face mask, providing sufficient hand sanitisation stations and providing individually boxed meals as opposed to buffets.
A full list of risk mitigation measures are laid out in the Safer Events white paper.
We know that people are nervous to commit to attending events currently, so our Safer Events accreditation aims to restore confidence in your delegates that you've gone above and beyond to ensure their safety.
Becoming a Safer Events organiser will also provide validation to clients that you're taking all necessary steps to deliver the event in the safest possible way. The accreditation takes the form of easy-to-follow online training and assessments, which you can read more about here.
Use an event app
Apps for events are becoming increasingly popular in the events world, and are even more important now. By asking attendees to download a free app for your event, you can easily and efficiently send them everything they need to know before the big day. You could provide public transport updates/live agendas, a map of the venue and push notifications to ensure they're being kept in the loop every step of the way. Make sure you send them a notification on the day reminding them to bring things like a mask, pen/pad and water bottle etc. They'll thank you for it!
You can also use the app during the day to provide a registration QR code, digital agendas, speaker info and any other relevant information. This will save the need for contact with staff and is also much better for the environment than printed collateral!
As an organiser, you will have worked really hard to get this event up and running and as safe as possible, but if people don't know what to expect they may decide not to come. Being honest about the process from start to finish will reassure delegates and make them feel comfortable in what to expect.
For example, informing them they will need to have their temperature taken, wear a mask and give their details for contact tracing will avoid any nasty surprises on the day before they've had their morning coffee!
Some delegates may be nervous about queueing. To be completely transparent with delegates, why not provide realistic 'time to entrance' updates through your event app, and if you can, try and offer virtual queueing, so attendees won’t physically be stuck in the queue for too long.
We know how hard it can be to communicate everything effectively, so with every Safer Events Accreditation, we'll provide you with a Delegate Communications Pack. This will include information on the measures that have been taken, prepared FAQs and everything your delegates need to know for the big day regarding hygiene and rules they must follow. This Pack will ensure you've communicated everything they need to know and have all bases covered.
We know it's really exciting being able to catch up with colleagues and industry peers, but all your social distancing and hygiene measures will be rendered useless if everyone hugs and shakes hands the minute they enter the venue.
Remind delegates that it is every individual’s responsibility to make sure they’re not shaking hands, hugging or ignoring floor markings and seating arrangements by standing/sitting too close to each other. You may feel comfortable hugging your friends and family, but a lot of people may not yet, so don’t assume! It's also important to make sure you ask delegates to regularly wash their hands/use hand sanitiser.
Reminding them of these measures is really important - it will take everyone a little while to get used to the 'new normal' at events, so make sure you stick to your guns and remain consistent when enforcing the rules. You can read more about necessary measures in the Safer Events White Paper here.
Offer travel advice
If your event attracts a global audience, ask your overseas attendees to reconsider taking a plane to attend in person, which could put themselves and others at risk. With hybrid events being the norm moving forward, delegates will be able to attend most events virtually and still feel part of the action, so inform them of how the event will take shape for the virtual attendees so they don't feel they're missing out.
If attendees live fairly locally and only need to travel a short distance to the event, encourage them to use public transport (with masks) and offer them staggered entry times to help them avoid peak times. Of course, if they can cycle or walk to the event, that’s ideal!
Offer onsite support
If a delegate starts to feel sick, has symptoms of any kind or is feeling a little overwhelmed and anxious, that’s totally fine! It's important to be sensitive to people's concerns and cater to them.
Provide a healthcare station and inform delegates that if they feel sick at any time to report there or to speak to a member of staff, and be honest about how they feel. If delegates feel overwhelmed, they should be encouraged to leave the event - it will be available online for them to catch up on later anyway and it's much better for their mental wellbeing to remove themselves from a situation they find stressful.
We know all these new restrictions and rules can leave both organisers and delegates feeling a little nervous, and that’s okay! It has been an extremely unsettling time for everyone, but these measures are designed to keep each and every attendee and staff member safe so that great events can still take place.
So above all, enjoy it! We have all been anticipating the return of live events and we can’t wait to see all your events in action. As long as we all respect one another and the measures put in place, there’s no reason why live events shouldn’t run smoothly and be just as rewarding as they were before.
If you're a venue or an organiser and would like to read more about the measures you should be putting in place, as well as our Safer Venues and Events Accreditation, read our Safer Events White Paper below.
If you need further assistance with planning safe in-person or hybrid events, be sure to check out Hire Space 360. With on-demand eventprofs, access to the latest event and registration tech, venue sourcing, and much more, you can leave your events to the professionals and rest assured knowing your events are safe and sound.
Izzie brings a deep understanding of the events world to Hire Space, and keeps busy by writing lots of Hire Space and EventLAB content and managing the Hire Space social media presence.