5 tips for hosting a pandemic-friendly event

The event world was turned upside down in early 2020 with the onset of the global pandemic. Events were canceled, venues shut their doors, and the future of entertainment and celebration was left in limbo. 

Fast-forward to the latter half of this year, and we’ve begun to see the return of social gatherings and small-scale events. Guests are eager to one again meet, mingle, laugh, and have a shared experience — albeit cautiously. 

As you begin to plan for events in a post-COVID world, consider these 5 tips for hosting a pandemic-friendly event that will still wow your guests:

Tip #1 – Evaluate the risk

You’re excited to get back to work and to plan the next great event. However, the reality of the times means that you’ll have to think seriously about the risks associated with your potential gathering. 

How will your guests interact? Will the event include activities that increase the risk of virus transmission? Will proximity and exposure between guests put them at risk? These are just a few of the questions you and your planning team will need to explore.

Tip #2 – Think outside the venue

If the pandemic has taught the event world anything it’s how to reimagine an event space. From parties on porches, to parking lots, and other atypical open spaces, what’s considered an event venue has evolved. 

While we still have good weather, consider utilizing unusual outdoor spaces to create a unique (and safe) event experience for your guests. Be imaginative in your planning of how to use and decorate the space to make it memorable.

If your event is scheduled during a winter month and it isn’t centered around snowshoeing, you’ll probably have to find a way to keep guests warm. Since outdoor spaces will always be safer, consider the use of heat lamps or warming stations that allow guests to stay comfortable and prolong their stay.

If outdoors is simply not in the cards, be sure to consult the guidelines for indoor gatherings in your area and to align to requirements such as limiting the number of guests to 50, requiring the use of face masks, and prohibiting dancing. While we’re all eager to hit the dance floor, following these guidelines is critically important to reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

Tip #3 – Pre-screen attendees
Your guests want to feel excited, and comfortable, attending your event. Show them that you’re serious about their safety by sending a health screening checklist via email the day of the event. 

Remember to make it easy to access and complete, and to add a positive tone. “Let’s eat, drink, and stop the spread. Please take a moment to tell us if you have any symptoms of COVID-19.” The intent is not to downplay the seriousness of the virus, rather to reflect the theme of your event so that each touchpoint with your guests is on-brand — even if it’s a health check screening. 

Tip #4 – Add an elevated (contactless) touch
Guest arrival is a pivotal moment at any event. It’s the first impression that lasts throughout the entire gathering.

Demonstrate to your guests that you’re focused on their well-being and complete event experience with contactless valet and parking management services. With strict protocols in-place to ensure the safety of clients and their guests, Gatsby Valet drives a better first impression and a white glove approach.  

Tip #5 – Ask for feedback
This is likely to be our new normal for some time, so why not leverage the opportunity to perfect the pandemic party? 

Consider sending a follow up email or brief survey requesting feedback on the event — specifically how your guests thought you did on catering to their needs while keeping the event space safe. This approach is two-fold. As long as it’s easy (and not time consuming) to respond, people often love to share their opinion and critiques. They’ll appreciate being asked and it’s a great way to have one more touchpoint as part of the holistic event experience. Plus, it gives you a chance to learn, adapt, and evolve your next event to create even more wow moments.

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