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As the Coronavirus shows no signs of slowing down, we will be reviewing the overall impact it is having on global events and what we can do to support the event management industry, during this time of uncertainty.

What is COVID-19?

Public Health England describes COVID-19 as a type of virus. Coronaviruses, as a group, are common – COVID-19 is a new strain. Current information suggests that the COVID-19 virus is more difficult to contain and therefore proving particularly difficult to manage.

We also know that the transmission of the virus is;

  • Following close or sustained contact with an infected person. Spending 15 minutes within two metres (6ft) of an infected person is judged to be a significant risk.
  • If directly transferred into the mouth or nose, or inhaled into the lungs.
  • As a result of touching a surface contaminated and then touching your own mouth, nose or eyes.

Because of the way COVID-19 is spread, the events industry has needed to become hyper-aware due to concentration of people in enclosed spaces.

With that in mind, what can we do to limit the spread of COVID-19 at various upcoming events?

There are numerous factors to consider in addition to the scale or size of event – namely the density of crowds; whether the event is held indoors or outdoors; how do people move around the event – including how they interact with each other and their surroundings; where the staff and attendees are travelling from; whether there are checks on their movements or what their proximity to confirmed cases of COVID-19 has been. Individual event organisers should look to identify the key risks associated with their events and implement sensible control measures accordingly.

What can you do to protect your attendee’s from COVID-19?

Create a plan – A preparedness plan will assure your partners and attendees that you are taking COVID-19 seriously. It will also help you more confidently welcome your attendees to an event.

Proactively update your attendees – Maintaining an update log on your event website will help provide answers for attendees, speakers, and partners who are seeking information about your event. To beat them to the search, plan on sending regular updates over email, social and push notifications (if you’re using a mobile event app).

Form clear and concise health and safety rules for your event (if you’ve yet to cancel!) Creating clear guidelines that your attendees must follow at your event is strict, but it also provides extra protection for everyone attending your event and reassures those who are planning to do so.

Change to a virtual only event – Nothing’s better than in-person, but if it’s a choice between having an event virtually or not having one at all, some organisers are choosing to move things online.

Postponing the event – Demonstrate that you have been monitoring the situation closely and the decision is in the best interest of your attendees, speakers and partners. Reach out to attendees at least one week before the event day to save out-of-town travellers from making the trip. Check with your venue and vendors to see if you are contractually covered. If not, see if you can work something out. Chances are that vendors will be understanding of the global moment and will prefer to maintain the relationship they have with you.

There’s no denying that COVID-19 poses a serious challenge to the events marketing/management world. Millions of pounds in revenue have already been lost and more is to be expected in the coming weeks, possibly months.

There’s no denying that COVID-19 poses a serious challenge to the events marketing/management world. Millions of pounds in revenue have already been lost and more is to be expected in the coming weeks, possibly months.

But here’s the thing, in our conversations with event professionals—even among those who have had to virtualise, postpone, or cancel their events—there still is an belief in the power of events to build communities and serve as a valuable channel for driving business outcomes.

When deciding to open email, recipients first check to see if they know the person sending the message. An email from a company gets marked as advertising immediately, which can get your email deleted. An email that appears to be coming from an actual individual at your firm is more personal and much more likely to get opened.

Looking to make the virtual switch for your next event, in light of the current global situation? Let us guide you, and re-form your event digitally, so you no longer have to stress. You can reach us at or over the phone on 01256 333446.

Doug Norman

Author Doug Norman

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