Most of us meeting planners out there are sitting at home thinking “How are we going to move forward with holding any type of meeting in the future?” While at home these last weeks, I have been fortunate to participate in informational, industry specific webinars that have had extensive conversation around meetings post COVID-19. These conversations have been held with industry professionals that range from large, conference style planning to smaller, offsite business meetings.
For me, I handle the meeting side of our business and I have strong concerns on how to proceed. I feel our venue, which is a historic manor house, has somewhat of a niche in the market in regards to hosting smaller headcounts. But, even with smaller headcounts comes the challenge of how to safely accommodate a smaller number of attendees and how can we build trust in our clients and their guests to attend.
Most, if not all, meetings will become virtual at least for the near future. When marketing your meeting space to potential businesses, one area that would catch their attention is the venue’s ability to accommodate a virtual meeting without any technology glitches. What this means is you need to ensure you are using the right tools to accommodate their needs. This may cause the need for you to increase your web speed or band width to accommodate streaming meetings without any hiccups in the transmission to the attendees. This also means you provide the technology in the respect of a projector, lap-top and necessary connectivity to the attendees so that the planner doesn’t have anything to worry about. The meeting facilitators are going to come in and want to have a fully functioning meeting without having to trouble shoot upon arrival.
A clean, healthy and sanitzied environment is going to be a big concern to your clients and their guests. Many companies are now going the route of offering a “fumigation” type spray between events taking place. This is a bit pricey but provides 99.9% coverage for germ killing. And, being that it is a mist type product, will touch every area of your meeting space. We must keep in mind, as well, any chairs, tables, paper pads, pens, etc. that are provided in the meeting and the need for them to be sanitized after each function.
Food and Beverage Options
Food and beverage are going to need to be approached differently in the future as well. Instead of the open, self-serve buffet, a more conservative boxed lunch or some type of pre-packaged food offerings will be necessary. If a buffet is even considered, it will need to be manned by a gloved and masked server not just anyone attending the meeting picking up a tong or spoon and serving themselves.
Another “peace of mind” offering could be a “Safety Bag”. This bag could include a mask, small bottle of sanitizer and gloves along with some type of handout that wraps around the safety protocols of the venue.
Moving forward in this new world is going to be a challenge but we will come through this and by thinking through how to accommodate the new normal in regards to meetings and implementing some of these ideas we will be successful!