Intro 

It is no secret that there is a huge amount of anxiety surrounding the planning of safe meetings & incentives after nearly 2 years of nothing but business uncertainty. 

Most companies will have faced some kind of internal change, whether that’s an increase or decrease in workload, teams working from home or even structural change. Now more than ever, employees are crying out for recognition and face to face interaction. This being said, it comes with no surprise that M&I organisers will face difficulty getting needed budgets signed off without carefully crafted, low risk travel plans in place. 

The good news is, safety & risk management has already been addressed by MANY global safety advisors, health organisations and experts within the industry. Over the past year, we’ve been helping clients to put all anxieties at ease with practical steps. So, here are our top tips to enable the safe management of (and participation with) meetings & incentives.

Contracts, negotiate flexible cancellation policies: First things first, everybody has been in the same boat over the past year and a half. Venues, hotels and further suppliers will understand that you need to prepare for an emergency. So, use this as a stand to negotiate a flexible cancellation policy if there isn’t already one in place. This way, the stakeholders can be reassured that in case local levels of Covid-19 are high and it is unsafe to hold the event, you will not lose out on the money you have already invested and will be able to cancel or rearrange.

Testing controls, pre-arrange & manage: Here, you will require every attendee to complete a temperature check, show proof of vaccination OR provide a negative Covid-19 test result. For re-assurance, in the UK event research programme, during April 2021, 58,000 people attended staged trials of mass gatherings from the UK Government and due to on site testing, just 15 people were found with Covid-19 and were refunded on the spot for their tickets. This is positive evidence that with the right controls, mass gatherings are safe. 

Cleaning, allow time for cleaning standards: This is our new normal and set of standards. So, let’s just embrace it! When you’re planning your timings, allow for deep cleans and proper disinfection between group interactions. Ensure hand-sanitizer is at every entrance, whether it’s outdoors or indoors, use and abuse it – we need to treat it like it’s our new best friend.

Air-flow, organise fresh air or air filtration: Ensure all venues have the capacity to make air-flow adjustments – from opening windows to using ozone air purifiers, it all helps to minimise the risk of contagion.

Digital tech, use where appropriate: Over the past 1.5 years we have been testing the capabilities of technology, so let’s not stop it here. Make use of digital scanners for contactless registration, there are many event check in websites that will allow you to do this from your mobile. It may be a good idea to also invest in contact tracing technology, you will need to be prepared for outbreaks on site – contact tracing will enable you to have complete control of this.

People movement: Introduce one way systems and staggered group timings. We need to be in a position where we can have complete control over group traffic, you can do this by simply creating one way systems and implementing staggered timings during crowded moments.

No handshake policy: If it’s not necessary, let’s scrap it. Control the physical aspect of your meetings & incentives by implementing a no-handshake policy. Digital business cards and name tags can be used for all attendees to exchange information.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner: Use staggered meal times. Before your trip, request attendees to confirm their preferred meal times out of selected options to avoid crowding and to create a safe dining experience. If you’re dining al-fresco, ensure your food stations are server attended to remove the risk of attendees cross-contaminating food. Or, you can offer to-go containers so attendees can eat in their rooms if they are more comfortable doing so.

There are many elements to think about when planning and controlling the safety of your meetings & incentives. At Make Happen, we’re here to do all of this heavy lifting for you. To find out how we can work with you on filling your stakeholders full of confidence with the safety management of your meetings or incentives, simply book your free consultation here – hello@makehappen.co.uk