For everyone, the post-COVID-19 world looks a bit different, and the meetings and event industry is no exception. As organizations look to get back to in-person events again, Toast of the Town wanted to provide a snapshot of some key elements that will set your next destination event up for success.
Go Big On Design. It’s The Right Time To Do It!
Hallelujah! Live events are back! We are hearing this more and more, and it’s true, people are excited to gather again. After two years of feeling cooped up, unable to travel, separated from
our friends and colleagues, it’s a welcome sight to see cases dropping, restrictions loosening, and events turning the lights back on. As event planners we urge our clients to play off of this energy and enthusiasm when designing an event. In our words ‘GO BIG!’ on event design and decor. Integrate tech solutions such as touchless check ins, and QR code scanning around the
event venue for up to date scheduling information or to promote social networking opportunities. Provide grand photo ops at the entrance, at the exit, on the stage, by the silent auction, next to
vendors or pretty much anywhere you can. Don’t just welcome back your guests – Wow them with design that is impactful and grand.
Hire A Planner
Event planners exist to make an organization or group coordinator’s life easier! Setting up the details and logistics of a multi-day conference or group excursion, then executing a flawless
program, and leaving you to focus on your group and the event agenda at hand. But add to that a constant mix of new and varying Alaska covid restrictions, that may fluctuate day-to-day,
venue-to-venue, and the additional number of event details quickly gets to be overwhelming. As event planners, our role is to ensure our clients are aware of restrictions or regulations that
will or could impact their events and guests, and to then provide options and a plan for managing these restrictions in a way that reduces attendee disruption to instead promote ease
of access, while increasing event success and guest enthusiasm. COVID restrictions continue to make gathering a bit tough right now, don’t stress, hire an expert.
People Want To Socialize
For many, it’s been a while since they have last attended a gala, or been in a collective group, and there is lots of catching up to do. As planners our job is to not only arrange and coordinate details so an event goes smoothly. But to also be onsite day-of, ‘reading the room’ and being prepared to make adjustments as needed. Our current read is people want to socialize. At the event. In the reception. While standing in hallways. By the check in. At the photo booth. You get the idea.
Our suggestion is to plan for this from a flow perspective, guiding attendees through the room to eliminate congestion in areas. But also to create space for social interactions. This means go
light on the programming – provide breaks and larger than usual gaps between sessions to allow for mingling. Create spaces or nooks perfect for breaking away from the main event where small
groups can chat or meet. Keep reception volumes lower so people don’t feel like they are shouting over each other to talk.
You will be pleasantly surprised by how a room ‘lights up’ by just the sound of friendly conversation, laughter, and the overall joy your guests are experiencing just being together again.
The biggest challenge we face as planners is navigating this ‘new normal’. With so much change over the last couple years, the landscape for meetings and events looks a bit different.
Many businesses have closed. Venues may be less available while dealing with rescheduled dates, and leading to scheduling conflicts. Rental companies, caterers, and activity providers
are dealing with staffing issues also creating scheduling and availability issues.
And while we have always been an advocate for supporting local Alaska businesses, these new challenges make it more important than ever to have that knowledgeable ‘eyes on the ground’
support. Not only do local planners know who is working, what is available, where can be booked, etc. but they are also the ones who helped to keep things moving when times were tough, by finding options and creative alternatives to challenges at hand. These are businesses that were essential to keeping local economies moving during the hard times, and will be just as key to rebuilding during this recovery time. Hiring local will make planning your next event much easier, plus right now – it’s just the right thing to do.
Toast of the Town is proud to introduce its new Destination Event service, and as a Destination Management Company (DMC) that serves Alaskan businesses and those traveling here from out of state, if you find yourself in need of support know we are here to help!