With much of 2020's public gatherings put on hold until later in the year, conference organizers now have the task of designing replacement events that take into consideration new concerns about crowds and exposure to COVID-19. How can you help your conference be a safer and more confident event in a post-pandemic world? Here are five key steps to take.
1. Add Screening. Many crowded venues will likely take up additional screening measures to prevent potentially infected individuals from entering. Your entry process may need to include security personnel watching for physical symptoms as well as using screening questions. In addition, consider adding temperature check stations or thermal cameras, depending on the budget and size of the event.
2. Minimize Traffic. One thing that most organizers will need to do is to limit the highest traffic areas so crowds can keep some respectable distance between people. It may seem counter-intuitive to limit attendance, but it will create a venue that gives people more confidence. Consider using timed tickets or metered entry to help prevent clogged booth areas or dining halls, for instance.
3. Increase Available Space. Build additional space into all areas of the conference so you can handle the same number of attendees while encouraging social distancing. Larger booths, wider tables, and spaced-out chairs are all easy ways to accomplish this without impacting the guests' experience.
4. Use Touchless Options. Touchless technology reduces the need for guests to touch potential infection points and makes everyone safer. Look for touchless payment methods, automatic doors (or leave doors open), touchless restroom options, and badge entry systems. Even a simple move like preparing disposable water cups for meeting attendees helps prevent people from spreading germs while getting their own refreshment.
5. Integrate Virtual Ideas. This might be the best opportunity to start integrating more virtual elements into your conference. Create an event portal or website where patrons can do everything from downloading maps to meeting up with other attendees in video chats. Offer virtual handouts and meeting materials rather than physical ones. You can reduce physical waste to reduce potential germ-carrying debris while encouraging those who aren't comfortable with attending to participate in virtual meetings or demonstrations.
If your design team gets creative about reducing physical interactions in ways that won't take away from the conference's goal, you can build a model even for 2020. Want more ideas? Meet with an event designer in your area today.