Live events are starting to resume, and we expected that there would be hesitation and confusion on how we all choose to interact. Of course, there are safety rules by event organizers and regulations by the government put in place, but no one knows what to really expect. Every time we go to a new phase, we are learning from scratch. We want to share 4 NEW things we were not expecting to see as live events returned!
New Safety Rules
As we know every event is still affected by the spreading virus, which means event planners need to be careful and continue to establish safety rules. There are a number of new actions organizers are taking such as asking for a proof of vaccination before the event. This is to make sure they adhere to government safety rules of HIPAA which do not allow asking someone in person for proof of vaccination. You must simply accept their answer as the truth. Since event organizers want to ensure safety and maintain records, they get the information at pre-registration and at the event due to HIPAA and social rights, no masks are needed if someone says they are vaccinated.
Another reason why event organizers want to know how many people are vaccinated and not is to ensure government regulations for event operations are met. This helps ensure more safe events, lower chances of shutdown and larger overall revenue. One way organizers help prevent the spread at the event through potential non-vaccinated participants is by strongly urging hand sanitization upon entry.
Unexpected Cost Increases
The overall cost of event planning has increased due to the pandemic. Venues are charging more for the essentials such as audio/visual staff, servers, food, internet and electrical. Planners will also find themselves spending more on hand sanitizer and extra masks for attendees.
We never expected that prices would increase so steadily and wanted to understand why. A few reasons include the fact that employees and trained staff are choosing to stay home with government benefits. The skillset needed has evolved and only a few employees are able to offer multiple services at once. The demand for and cost of hiring workers has increased. There will be a big push for retraining and education for skilled workers and hospitality staff in the future.
Event organizers can help reach their objectives by establishing a budget and working closely with the team. AV companies like us are spending much more on supplies and labor than we did over a year ago and the sooner things return to normal, the faster we can get back to a lower cost model. Another way event organizers and service providers can manage the extra costs, is to build an understanding with clients to offer certain discounts where they can and offset the added cost in other areas. Nurturing business relationships is of equal importance as managing costs, and we will see all participants of the hospitality sector have to adapt to this.
Fear of Shutdown
With the Delta variant rapidly spreading, it would not be surprising to see another shutdown across the hospitality and event industry. This could create another great loss of resources and funding. The industry may not bounce back from another shutdown, as we are already working hard to keep live events sustainable and profitable for all those involved.
Event organizers need to prepare for another shutdown along with AV companies, food industries, technical support staff and venues. We are seeing event organizers be firmer on safety regulations and working strategically to make sure we can sustain live events. There is a definite fear of shutdown amongst all hospitality members, and it is being managed carefully.
Positivity Between Participants
People are more excited than expected to attend live events with their peers. Surprisingly, the fear of illness seems to be forgotten as long as the basic measures are in place. We are seeing higher attendance for events with no concern for empty seats, as everyone rushes to network and socialize. The social distancing measures are accepted as the government has put capacity limits in place.
It is interesting as we see people mingling and talking while standing close to each other. They pull their chairs together and converse closely. Others are hugging and shaking hands at both indoor and outdoor events. We have seen some presenters running through the crowd and giving people high-fives. There is a great deal of positivity and everyone is in high spirits. It makes us wonder if the understanding that most people are vaccinated, has caused this free spirit and peace of mind for individuals!
With a balance of safety and enthusiasm, we hope to keep live events going and to continue to form meaningful connections and see the hospitality industry prosper.