I miss the early morning General Sessions, the hot coffee and the crowds mingling in the hallways or foyers between breakouts. The connections that are created and the people I have worked with over the years. Convention Photography, capturing the smiles, the engagement at the tradeshows, the speakers and of all the people attending is what I miss most of all.
It is my hope that Conventions and Meetings be back soon but the reality is, the year is off to a slow start for Conventions and meetings of all sizes.
The majority of meeting planners are focused on rescheduling and rebooking events and my guess is also the locations that are available for later dates.
A survey of, 242 respondents were polled from the meetings and events industry. Below are some insights from their poll.
Key insights from the responses included:
There is a clear shift towards hope for face-to-face meetings to resume in the latter part of 2021 with most planners (53 percent) now predicting that their in-person meetings and events will resume sometime in Q3 & Q4 2021.
The General health and well-being of planners and their family and friends is the top concern now, as opposed to fear/uncertainty, travel & government restrictions, and job security in Q3 2020.
Also 92 percent believe a vaccine is the most important factor in bringing back face-to-face events, an increase of 10 percent from Q3 2020.
The Third quarter of 2021 seems a long way from February 2020 but, it’s now February 2021. The struggles and changes we all have had to make will get us there for the 3rd quarter or sooner. Just have to keep the faith. Q4 will certainly be better, that is my opinion and I am sticking to it. I believe that we may see companies schedule their meetings more in October and November to make up for Q1 and Q2.
Health protocols Conventions and Tradeshows. As I get back to offering Headshot Stations, I see all meetings highly recommend the use of masks. For example, Nevada state requirement for face masks will be required at both the Sands Expo Center and Caesars Forum. Every state has different rules. I will be sure to know in advance when I am on location. Even with the vaccine rolling out, there are still many that feel it will be some time before we all are safe.
Here is a list I found on a show that was in Las Vegas and posted their Health and Safety precautions.
Everyone is required to use face coverings, frequent hand washing and social distancing
Significantly increase entrance and exit areas to the exhibit halls to spread out gatherings of people more evenly throughout the facilities
Designate entrance and exit areas to control and screen visitors with discrete daily health queries, incorporating non-invasive thermal cameras, etc.
Reduce number of people at registration by requiring preregistration and mailing of badges
Prohibit new registrations on site so only pre-qualified and registered individuals will arrive at the SHOT Show
Configure traffic flow with one-way aisles
Install hand sanitizing stations throughout the show, and provide hand sanitizer to each and every individual attending the show
Enhance physical cleaning with hourly sanitizing of high-traffic areas throughout the show floor and common areas, including doorways, elevators and escalators
Collaborate with the Sands Expo Center, Venetian Resort and Caesars Entertainment in their advancements to be among the first in the nation to pursue certification for safety measures aimed at outbreak prevention through actions such as sanitizing the facility nightly. You can find more information of how the Sands Expo Center and Venetian Resort are combating COVID-19 by CLICKING HERE.
Tradeshow and Exhibitor companies will most likely create new ways to have attendees feel safe walking in a booth. Thermal Screening stations will be used. Additional hand sanitizers in all booths as an example. This alone is a subject I will go more in depth on my next post, stay tuned.
Travel is another challenge as many companies are having their employees working from home but as the vaccine rollout improves and the infection drops employers will start getting their staff back in the office which in turn, I can see that changing to allow travel to meetings. So let’s keep our fingers crossed hey even our toes.
Business travelers are going through an evolution and it is being reshaped. We all can agree that change is always going to happen in any circumstance. Fares may dramatically increase to cover the cost of deep cleaning planes after each flight and that cost will be added to the plane ticket.
I can remember back before this Pandemic I would see the occasional person wearing a mask and thought it was a bit odd. Now it’s so common. The transition to this new normal took time but it took and just like that we will get use to whatever is needed to be safe.
Touching on Virtual meetings. This will continue to be a large part of this industry for some time to come but also the fatigue of sitting in front of a monitor of any kind is growing. Keeping the viewer engaged can be a challenge and recent studies some have saying that the micro delays in audio, poorly lighted portrait images and lower resolution screens are just a few reasons of the fatigue.
Listed here are the most popular video conferencing systems in 2020.
FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, Google Duo, Google Hangouts Meet, Microsoft Teams, Amazon Chime, Houseparty and Marco Polo. Which do you use?
As we move into the new year it will be wise to continue the safe protocol.
I read recently that Flu cases are unusually low and my guess is the masks we are all wearing and social distancing. Last year 9 million cases of the flu were reported.
This is a time of crisis for the meeting industry and it poses real threats in all areas that support this industry. My guess is that we will be ok but countless jobs have been lost and may never return. Even more worrisome is the loss of the conventioneer who drives the economics of the meetings that are created. Let’s keep trying to do all we can to bring a better outcome. Get people back to what they love. Drive the virus away by wearing your mask, wash your hands and social distance. This a challenging time for all of us.
I look forward to the days that are ahead with confidence. I will end this quote that I really like.
“Having a positive mental attitude is asking how something can be done rather than saying it can’t be done” – Robert Foster Bennett
If I can help you with your meeting or convention send me your RFP. Looking toward 2021 to be a better year!