Coronavirus Outbreak and Event Planning Strategy
The impact of the coronavirus outbreak is now evident in the event industry. A number of event planners have rescheduled their events, while some have no option but to cancel the event.
It’s difficult to predict the wider impact of Coronavirus in the future, the best we can do is manage the situation via strategic planning. Quick decision-making on the part of event planners is important. There are some factors that if imbibed in the Event Planning strategy can help reduce the damage impending.
Being an event planner/organizer in a region that’s coronavirus-affected or the possibility can put you in a stressful position. You must be in one of the following situations-
- Event going live on the decided date and you are taking precautionary measures to ensure the safety of your event attendees
- Event has been postponed/rescheduled
- Event canceled
Event going live on the decided date
Rescheduling or canceling an event is not a practical option for many of the event organizers. Instead, they prefer to equip their events with precautionary actions. Though it’s easier said than done. There are many challenges in keeping the event free from the impact of the virus.
Here are some things event planners can do to ensure the safety of attendees-
As an event planner, you need various arrangements at the event venue to ensure the safety of the attendees. Therefore, you must communicate with the venue owner in advance. The Venue owner will allocate a particular place for the medical team. This place can be used to check all the symptomatic attendees. You must also contact the attendees travelling from other countries to find out if they have a history of infection/symptoms. In order to avoid last-minute rukus, make sure you inform them in advance that they will be put under quarantine.
Make responsive Helplines
You need to arrange responsive helplines and point of contact for Participants. The helpline number must be distributed on priority across all your communication channels (mailers, website, app, social media, etc).
Keeping a list of contact information for the nearest hospitals and centers for disease control can also come in handy if the need arises.
Note- For proper implementation of responsive helplines, you need to deploy support staff. Moreover, connect the venue owner in advance and make arrangements in order to isolate the symptomatic attendees.
Basic Medical kit for Coronavirus
The basic medical kit should be made available to anyone who shows immediate symptoms. If the concerned person is equipped with surgical masks, it will at least save other attendees from being infected.
Once you’re ready with the above-mentioned things, it’s time for final action-
Make sure that you, your attendees and other stakeholders of your event are aware of the guidelines released by WHO and CDC (Centres For Disease Control And Prevention).
Some of the guidelines are –
- Wash your hands thoroughly (for at least 20 seconds) preferably by an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid direct contact with farm animals and wild animals (either living or dead)
- Avoid close contacts with the people who appear to be sick (especially when they are suffering from cold and sneezes)
- Avoid touching your face (and especially your eyes and mouth) with unwashed hands.
Event has been postponed/rescheduled
A postponed/rescheduled event is one of the worst nightmares for event planners. The outbreak of coronavirus has made rescheduling of events so frequent. The situation is more challenging in the case where all the event arrangements are already over and organisers are done with their pre-event marketing cycle. Medium and small level event planners, especially those with no major contingency plan, are suffering the most out of it. Here are these guidelines which event planners should follow in case their events are being rescheduled/postponed-
- Inform all your registered attendees that your event has been postponed. This can be done easily with the help of emailers or in-app notifications.
- Use global event listing platforms (where your event has maximum followers) and put a notice that you have rescheduled your event.
- Utilise the time gap between the original date and the new date to nurture your attendees via digital engagement tools (eg. event apps). You can use event app as a personalised social media platform for your event to maintain networking within your event community.
- As an event planner, you are also accountable to the exhibitors and it’s necessary to inform them about the new schedule. You can leverage various communication channels to reach out to the exhibitors who have requested the booth.
- In case, the conveyance facilities, travel routes etc are affected as an impact of the coronavirus, release the details of updated routes/conveyance in new notification.
Note- It’s recommended that you shouldn’t postpone your event for an indefinite period. There are many different stakeholders of your event viz sponsors, exhibitors etc. Indefinite delay brings restlessness for them. Thus, It’s a good practice for the event planners to finalise a possible date to which the event can be rescheduled.
There are places that are completely locked down under the impact of coronavirus. In such a case, event planners have no option but to cancel the event. Also, we don’t know how long will it take before things get back to normal. If it lasts long, the events which are postponed as of now will be forced towards the path of cancellation.
If your event is canceled-
- Leverage all your communication channels to inform the attendees well in advance about the cancellation.
- You can also plan to refund a definite share of the amount that an attendee had to spend on the ticket.
- It is also important that you take other stakeholders of the event viz exhibitors, venue owner, vendors and sponsors in confidence so that it doesn’t affect future editions.
Event planning is ultimately about the comfort of the event attendees and their enhanced event experience. The job of event planning is about handling responsibility and expectations of so many out there.The current situation is a test of our professional ethics and empathetic event planning. A responsible and human approach to event planning is the need of the hour.
You can write to us if you are an event organizer and you need support to postpone your events or if you need any kind of support reach out on firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can fill this form.
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