The role of an event planner continuously lands among the top five most stressful jobs in the United States.
That was pre-COVID-19.
Today, meeting professionals are tasked with leading health and safety risk mitigation at a brand new, monumental level.
In a post-2020 world, the health and safety of attendees is priority number one. That’s why we are here to share how you can ensure YOUR self-care and sanity is also a priority as you make endless critical decisions to lead a safe event.
Here are six practical tips to help ensure that your wellbeing is taken care of as you navigate critical and logistical decisions required to deliver a safe event:
Safe planning is complex and confusing. There is so much information out there that it can be difficult to know what to trust. As you dig into your research, use substantiated information from official sources and experts, that way you can always point your attendees in the right direction if and when they have questions about the protocols you have mandated.
Some helpful resources include:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID Data Tracker which includes maps and charts that track cases, deaths, and trends of COVID-19 in the United States, updated daily,
- The U.S. State Department’s County Specific travel guide for real-time updates,
- Meetings Mean Business Tracker that showcases the latest U.S. state-by-state protocols for in-person gatherings – including occupancy limits, mask requirements, and travel protocols, and
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s outline of Coronavirus testing options
- The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s COVID Vaccination Tracker, showing the number of vaccine doses delivered and administered
Pro Tip: Schedule a discovery call with your event destination’s visitors bureau (often referred to as a CVB – Convention & Visitors Bureau). These organizations exist to provide factual and thoughtful guidance and connections to tourists and meeting professionals. Additionally, they have the most up-to-date details from government agencies, health ministries, and hospital systems.
For more tips on how to assess your destination’s safety landscape, check out 9 Questions Meeting Planners Must Ask Before Selecting Event Destinations During COVID-19.
Serving as the strategist and decision-maker for safety regulations is overwhelming. Establishing and enforcing rules for adults is a tricky thing, especially if they have differing opinions about what is necessary to maintain a safe environment.
Ultimately, it is up to you to take every measure that will result in a safe, COVID-free event. Try your best to think of your attendees as if they were your own family members. What protocols would you want your mom, dad, spouse, siblings, or kids to experience in order to feel safe at your event?
Framing your safe planning initiatives in this context can help you make the best decisions for your attendees.
Pro Tip: Our team at Achieve recently led a COVID-free event in Cancun, Mexico. They found that using these five questions helped guide their safety protocol strategy. Use these tips as a starting point as you outline your plan.
You’re already leading the event logistics, managing program content, coordinating vendors, troubleshooting pre-event and on-site issues, and communicating every tiny detail to your attendees. On top of all of that, you have to ensure that everyone is enforcing the safety protocols for every aspect of your gathering.
You don’t have to do this alone, and you shouldn’t. Find partners and experts you trust to support you in researching best practices and regulations and planning and executing your event. You certainly won’t have time to spot-check that your attendees are following social distancing and mask-wearing rules. Bring your partners on site and delegate them as your “Safety Ambassadors.” These individuals can be your partners in ensuring that your protocols are followed.
Another way to add a punch of fun to your safety plan is to consider hiring local actors to serve as your “Fun Police.” These actors can be dressed up in mock law enforcement uniforms and add a bit of humor to the delicate topic of safety as they are enforcing your protocols.
Pro Tip: Ask your third-party planning partners and trip directors if they have led safe events and what certifications they have obtained to prepare. At Achieve, our planners have been certified as Pandemic Compliance Advisors and continue to stay up-to-date on new regulations for each of the host destinations we are planning in.
Once your safety protocol plan has been outlined and approved, confidently move forward with rolling it out. You put in countless hours, weeks, and likely months researching, talking with experts, reviewing the facts, and building your plan. You did all the hard work leading up to this point, so trust your knowledge and yourself. Don’t second-guess your decisions and don’t make exceptions. Once you start making some allowances, you put your plan, and your attendees’ safety, in jeopardy.
Looking for an easy-to-manage pre-event COVID testing solution? Check out Eurofins SAFER@WORK, a company that mails testing kits directly to your attendees. Once they complete their self-collection test, they put the kit back in the mail, and results are emailed to them within 48 hours.
Your ultimate goal is to deliver an awesome event where your attendees can go home safely to their families. The tough reality is that not everyone will agree with the protocols you have defined. Because of that, safe planning can often involve a lot of uncomfortable conversations. That’s exactly why you should recruit and build your safety-first hype squad to help you feel more supported.
To do this, curate a short list of people who are your biggest cheerleaders. When you’re struggling with establishing, conveying, or enforcing your safety protocol plan, get your squad on your side to give you the hype-up you need to stay focused.
There are few experiences in planning as overwhelming as being responsible for your attendees’ health and safety during a global pandemic. That’s why you should have a plan in place for how you’re going to decompress after your event concludes.
Celebrate your hard work with flowers, schedule a spa appointment, register for a virtual yoga or meditation class, get a personalized pump-up video from your favorite celebrity via Cameo, or lean on your hype squad to plan something special for you. Put whatever gives you peace and calm on the calendar – because you sure have earned it!
Don’t forget to put a reminder on your calendar for 14 days post-event to check in on the results of all your hard work putting together a safe experience. By then, you’ll know just how effective your protocols were. Be proud of what you were able to accomplish. Do a happy dance for all the knowledge you gained and share your lessons learned with the rest of our event community.
Now more than ever, being an event leader requires meticulous and strategic coordination. To stay focused, make sure to start off by investing in your own health, safety, and sanity. Create an environment that gives you a strong support network, a confident mindset, and much-needed self-care practices.
If you are looking for a cheerleader to jumpstart your hype crew, count the team at Achieve in. Schedule a chat with us today and we will be sure to give you the information, support, and encouragement you need!