Scene: The attendee arrives at a beautiful castle, with mountains painting the sky. Upon entering the gala, they pass through an incredible structure of fabric, color, texture, and light. The decor is charismatic and induces the feeling of sophistication and class. The over-sized signage for the meeting, jazz flowing from the tent, and servers greeting them with trays of delicious foods and wines gives the attendees a warm welcome. For centuries, the all-mighty ‘Sense of Arrival’ has been an important part of almost any event.
Make it Sexy
Travel-Industry-Dictionary.com defines sense of arrival as, “The special feeling a guest experiences during the first ten seconds or so after entering a hotel or other location.” Whether it is a glamorous gala or an important business meeting, planners have worked to orchestrate feelings of awe, amazement, or simply just – you are where you are supposed to be – through décor, signage, staging, and other means. The sense of arrival is more important now than ever. During the COVID (and hopefully post-COVID era), attendees will need to feel like they have arrived somewhere safe and well-managed.
Keep the glamour, the directional (we know those are needed everywhere), and the wondrous sense of arrival at the events. Keep the excitement. But do you know what is super sexy and exciting in 2020? The sense of arriving into a safe space. Making your attendees feel safe is the most glamorous thing you can do right now. Information keeps changing but the CDC has created a planning tool comprised of guidelines for all to know. Make sure the basics are covered and then dig deeper for other things you can do to keep your attendees assured. Make hand-sanitation stations sexy and make them easily accessible. These from Stylish Stations are hard to miss and fun!
Make it Interesting
There are many resources on the ‘How to Meet During COVID’ variety and plenty of blogs on the subject. We are here to talk about how to make meeting interesting. That’s what we do! Make things different and fresh. In the current climate you want to ensure attendees and staff have easy access to sanitizer. Add pretty stations on tables, bars, and at every corner.
Do you have people assisting with sanitation? Make them stand-out and be jovial. We’re a fan of anyone in a costume; how about a greeter or two on stilts squirting sanitizer into guests hands! Keep it obvious while also making it part of the decor. Hand sanitizer centerpieces? Heck yes! Have fun with what is now an essential part of every gathering. Show off that you are constantly cleaning during the event.
Make it Clean
Marriott has staff continuously cleaning during all hours and is proud to show of those workers. Dress up your event cleaners. Make them fun and obvious. Have signage ready for the attendees to direct them on how to participate in the event safely. Reminders on social distancing while also providing proper guidance on how to navigate bars and food safely is essential. Take time to make this clear to attendees while having fun with the delivery.
Knowing the sanitation regulations at the hotel, venue, or other attractions is essential. You also need to do some homework regarding regulations in the city and state your event is located. Put rules and recommendations on an oversized sign. You can always do more than what is suggested. This will reassure those attending the event that you are complying with these rules (make sure you are). This also gives you a place to point when the inevitable individual that has been sleeping under a rock decides to walk in without a mask and does not want to use hand sanitizer. This is better than the ‘idiot’ sticker we all want to apply to their forehead. Pointing to a sign usually, but not always, helps deflect a little blame from the rule enforcer.
Overall the use of sanitation and exercising caution is important for every event. Keep it obvious and like all corporate event management elements, make it unique. Add some flair and excitement wherever possible. Safety is the most important element in events these days but feeling a part of an amazing experience is a close second.
-Melissa Murray, Mosaix Group Owner