What Meetings & Events look like as recovery gathers pace?
Who knew a full year would pass in Ireland and we’d still be in state of suspension of live, in-person, face-to-face meetings and events? 12 months later, virtual meetings and events continue to be the norm but, with the gradual easing of restrictions, hybrid meetings and events are definitely on the rise.
The staggered unfolding of the pandemic and its various waves gives us a good understanding of how other countries are dealing with meetings and events and their safe resumption following periods of lockdown. So where are in-person meetings happening now?
Live Events in Germany
Since the beginning of March, for example, live meetings and events have been taking place in Berlin, indoors for up to 20 attendees, and outdoors for up to 50. Social distancing (up to 1.5m) and face masks are de rigeur but interestingly, Germany considers business meetings to be “essential travel” and places no restrictions on meetings and events attendees from other EU countries.
Marina Parra-Flechsig is Managing Director / Owner at Weichlein Tours + Incentives in Munich. Following months of on again / off again as the lockdown measures ebbed and flowed, she’s delighted to be back to a combination live and virtual: “Virtual events are wonderful for transactional meetings but when you want to motivate your people, you really need to be face to face. These days for us it’s all hybrid with small pods of presenters and attendees in-person at the venue and content streamed live to a virtual audience”.
Live Events in the UK
The UK announced an ambitious re-opening plan in February and “essential” meetings for work, training or education purposes have been permitted there since that date. Site inspections at venues for future in-person events resumed at the end of March.
By the middle of May, indoor events for up to 1,000 delegates (or 50% of the capacity of the venue) will be permitted, with up to 10,000 fans allowed back to stadia (or 25% of the stadium’s capacity) for the final matches of the premier league. The recovery and resumption pace is heartening overall and sets out a clear roadmap for what we can expect once we reach critical numbers with our vaccination programmes.
Compliance at Meetings & Events
Regulatory authorities all over the world have done a good job at setting out the protocols for in-person events at venues. There’s are extensive details on the Fáilte Ireland website, for example, aimed specifically at business conference and event venues. Detailed information is provided around operational guidelines and employee well-being and there’s a learning portal with 15 on-line modules, covering topics such as road to recovery, management and operations.
The challenge for venues as we tentatively re-open won’t be around the tangible infrastructure required to ensure health security – all of that is already in place - but the intangible behaviour of people! We haven’t seen each other face to face for over a year so when we do, appropriate behaviour is key!
Sven Boelhouwer, a conference and event specialist in the Netherlands came up with a novel way of ensuring compliance during a three-day event he organized in Amsterdam last September. He employed artists to act as “health referees” and they whistled and gave out yellow cards to noncompliant individuals. Rather than getting upset at being called out, people laughed.
Once we re-open for meetings and events, we can see great use for yellow, black and red cards here at Croke Park Meetings & Events. After all, we have years of experience – don’t say you haven’t been warned!
Hybrid Meetings and Events at Croke Park
And yes, we will soon be open for your events. Virtual, educational, and public service events have kept us busy over the last year and we have adapted our infrastructure in line with advice from the regulatory bodies.
Contact our team now to discuss your upcoming meetings & events.
Our virtual event offering has been busily streaming events from our two virtual studio options – a full scale broadcast quality studio and smaller streaming spaces. Additional options include pitch-side pieces to camera - a highly motivational backdrop and sense of place that puts even the most impressive green screen background in the shade.
As we transition back through the various Covid levels and are finally able to welcome delegates in-person we can guarantee hybrid meetings to the highest health security standards. Our virtual and hybrid events are powered by our in-house technical specialists AVCOM who deliver an elevated event experience where nothing is left to chance.