Event Organizers

How to Use an SMMP to Create Safer in-Person Events

Companies with a strategic meeting management program or an SMMP were prepared when event programs were flipped upside down by COVID-19. These programs gave companies instant visibility into all events and used attrition clauses to cancel contracts with lower liabilities. This saved thousands of dollars.

Many program owners now wonder how to show the value of their program so that they can facilitate safe returns to in-person events.

Everybody knows safety and health are the main concerns when people meet again in person. How can an SMMP be of assistance? Continue reading to find out how an SMMP can be used to make your event safer and give you peace of mind.

Your SMMP should be adapted to allow for safer in-person events.

Strategic meetings management, at its core, is designed to guide you on how your company should execute and plan meetings and events, whether they are in-person, virtual or hybrid.

You can expand this definition to include safety and health considerations. Consider these additional advantages of an SMMP for safer in-person meetings and events.

  • Your company policy should be published on your event webpage or anywhere easily accessible to everyone in your organization.
  • Ensure that you are up to date with your health standards for in-person gatherings. This may vary depending on where you live.
  • To ensure that everyone is comfortable and confident with your event plan, create a well-organized project workflow.
  • Keep a list of safety standards for all vendors participating in the RFP process.
  • It is important to clearly and completely outline all legal, financial, or safety risks that may affect everyone.
  • Clear contract terms should be negotiated with vendors to save money in the unlikely event that an in-person event is cancelled.

Learn how an SMMP can make your in-person events more secure

What is the best way to achieve the above standards using an SMMP framework? It is easier than you might think. Planning out your space is a key aspect of maintaining safety and health standards. These are the three main steps:

Safety-minded layouts are possible.

The World Health Organization recommends that small public gatherings be held in outdoor locations. Indoor spaces can be used if that is not possible. However, they should be well-ventilated and well-cleaned. If you can see windows and smell the fresh air, you will know if the event space is well ventilated. If you don’t see windows that can open and if fresh air is present, contact the building management to determine how natural ventilation can be increased. Indoor venues have invested in HVAC systems or air filters that purify the air from viruses.

No matter what venue you choose, it is important to mark the areas where participants are allowed and not permitted. Strategic floor plans are necessary to organize the location of participants throughout the event.

It is now common knowledge that attendees from different households should keep six feet between them. This may seem simple, but you must also account for speakers, venue employees, and everyone else attending the event. With this information in mind, here are some ways Cvent Events Diagramming can be used to create a safe layout for your next event.

  • Place podiums, tables and chairs six feet apart. Use accurate measurements to ensure that your design is scaled correctly.
  • You can use both 2D and 3D event diagramming. This gives you an aerial view of the space, allowing you to place furniture and assign seating. You can walk through the space and see your plan through your attendees’ eyes without visiting it.
  • Remote collaboration is possible. Meet with partners or event venue managers via video conference to review your layout and make updates in real-time. Virtual walkthroughs are used to verify safety guidelines and create a plan that everyone is satisfied with.
  • Key areas for colour code and tags. If you don’t have enough space, some seating and areas for standing will need to be taped. These areas should be colour-coded so that other collaborators can avoid them.
  • Automate compliance. Add custom fare standards to your diagram. Cvent Event Diagramming will alert you to areas that aren’t in compliance so you can correct them before they happen.

Assure compliance with the mandated standards

Your city, state and country will dictate how you can plan and execute safe in-person events. All planners must adhere to these guidelines. Compliance is another area in which SMMPs excel. These regulations should be posted on the event website by program owners. This will allow them to update their meeting workflow and ensure that any in-person events comply with these requirements.

These standards change constantly based on new pandemic cases, travel quarantine rules and research. Cvent Event Diagramming makes it easy to change your layout by simply dragging and dropping quickly.

Other best practices include temperature screening and COVID-19 testing, waivers for everyone attending, and temperature screening. These signatures can be collected by your event management software, either at registration or on-site check-in. You should include the following information in your waiver, regardless of what area requires for in-person events:

  • All attendees must wear masks when entering public areas at the event venue.
  • Participants agree not to attend the event if they have flu symptoms, such as a sore throat or cough.
  • Participants exposed to COVID-19 in the last 14 days are not allowed to participate.

Not everyone is comfortable signing waivers. Waiving liability can also be interpreted as waiving responsibility. This will help you to foster trust and goodwill among attendees. This will make them feel at ease and demonstrate that compliance is a two-way street for all in-person events. They will know that you and they have agreed to certain behaviours when they sign the waiver. This is a win-win situation. Potential attendees can view the event diagram to help them make an informed decision.

You should also ensure you are following the most recent pandemic protocols. This includes keeping up to date with the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and state officials. You can also follow local officials via social media for the most up-to-date information. Los Angeles City offers daily updates via Instagram about pandemics. This includes information on closures of businesses, travel restrictions, and health statistics. Flexible layouts and central communication tools allow you to adjust your plans, such as bans on indoor space use or public activities.

Remember that your event might change from what you planned for today. You should allow for last-minute changes in your budget and timeline.

For in-person events, update company policies.

Now is the right time to review your current event policies and write a policy if there is an SMMP. This gives employees something to use in times of uncertainty.

The following policies are applicable regardless of where you live or what your event goals may be:

  • You will need venue diagramming. Make sure that your guests can safely stand six feet from each other. It is easy to maximize floor space and estimate maximum occupancy using guidelines. You can also make sure there is enough room between furniture.
  • Provide important tools. Hand hygiene stations, closed lid bins and distance markers should be provided at all in-person events.
  • Streamline guest communication. Decide what safety and health information guests will receive before, during, or possibly after the event. Also, decide how this information will be shared.

 

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