When we were all constructing our goals for 2020 and dreaming up all the impactful events we’d be executing for our businesses in this fresh decade, no one saw our current situation on the horizon. COVID-19 has changed the landscape of the world and the way we do business as we know it in a matter of months, and its impact will last for the foreseeable future.
While nearly every industry has been impacted by the pandemic, the live events industry has been perhaps one of the hardest hit. Luckily, event professionals are trained to be versatile, to roll with the punches, to get creative, to find a solution when one is not apparent. Our job is to pivot for success at the drop of a hat, and at Savvy Events, that is exactly what we’re learning how to design, plan, and strategize for events during the time of COVID-19 with our valued clients.
We know that this is an unprecedented and difficult time for all, and we’re getting lots of questions from those looking forward to the future of events as they start to plan for the latter half of 2020 and beyond. Our team has taken a sampling of those questions to share, so we can learn how to navigate the new normal of the events industry together.
What is Savvy doing to adapt to the new restrictions on events?
The safety of our clients and their attendees is of the utmost importance to us at Savvy Events. As we begin to start gathering in person again, we will have a variety of special protocols in place. This includes, but is not limited to: getting creative with room layouts to ensure appropriate social distancing, temperature checks, extra hand sanitizing stations, and working closely with our hired creative partners to ensure high compliance with mandatory safety standards.
Will the services Savvy Events offers change at all in the near future?
We’re firm believers in in-person events, but we’re also understanding of this difficult time. To cater to the needs of the new normal, we have rolled out some new services that are geared towards maintaining social distancing guidelines. Services will range from pop-up style events, styled in-home/in-office events with curated boxes delivered to the door of each attendee, as well as specialty, personalized gifting services for both corporate and social. You can view the new services offerings by clicking here.
How will the world of events change?
This is a loaded question and one that no one truly knows the correct response to. A few things are for sure – people crave in-person experiences so events aren’t going anywhere, they may just look a little different. Heightened cleanliness and food safety procedures, creative layouts and food and beverage innovation, more focus on insurance and risk mitigation when sourcing venues and creative partners– just to name a few things. As the country begins to reopen, we are sure there will be more guidance on what events will look like to mitigate the risk of spreading the virus while still creating experiences that influence and impact attendees in a positive manner.
How do you see the cost of events being impacted by the pandemic?
With more staff required for foodservice, more staff required to deep clean the event spaces multiple times a day, we see labor costs increasing. You may need increased audiovisual equipment on-site so speakers aren’t sharing microphones and sessions can be broadcasted to multiple locations. This is one reason why working with an experienced events team with vendor connections will be even more critical than before, negotiation will be key for successful, affordable, low-risk events.
How are caterers you use responding to the new industry safety standards?
At Savvy Events, we work with only the most highly-regarded, professional vendors – especially when it comes to catering. We’re working closely with each caterer we hire for each event to ensure ultimate compliance to standards like staff temperature checks, usage of gloves and face masks, additional hand sanitizing stations, safety training pre-event, creative setups, and more.
Will events be able to host buffets?
For the foreseeable future, it’s unlikely that events will be able to host open buffet options in the traditional sense we’re used to seeing. Rather than a standard buffet, some catering companies are offering a “buffet-in-a-box” option. Guests will be able to enjoy the same elevated cuisine typically found on a buffet line like salmon or steak with delicious roasted veggies, rather than a boxed sandwich lunch that many are more accustomed to.
Some will also replace buffets with staffed stations spread throughout the room that will allow for social-distancing and food items made-to-order rather than on display. In a way, this allows for more creativity!
Can companies still host in-office celebrations with food?
Absolutely! In a way, in-office celebrations are a better way to host events during this time. As a team is already together on-site, you will not have people leaving the property to bring food in from external sources who may not be following the same strict food service protocols as our caterers. We’ve seen some companies start to plan weekly themed luncheons with fun décor and giveaways as a thank you for a job well done during these unprecedented times!
What are some fun food and beverage options that could work moving forward?
· Bento Boxes – Both entrees and desserts!
· Food Trucks
· Mason Jar Welcome Cocktails with Colorful Paper Straws
· Bubbly in a Can
· “Adult” Juice Boxes
How will meeting and event spaces be set for social distancing when events return?
It’s likely that seating arrangements and room layouts will change drastically. You may see more open concept designs, no more than two to four chairs per table, tables spaced a little farther away for appropriate social distancing, keynotes streamed to smaller breakout spaces, additional space between booths, limited guest numbers, signage or creative prompts to guide traffic flow.
We’re dreaming up all the luxurious greenery and statement walls lined with branded displays to not only help break up the space but allow for more to explore throughout the event space with socially distanced displays.
How can we make the on-site experience safer for attendees?
There are so many ways that we use technology these days, and in times of COVID-19, we may rely on technology on-site at events more than ever. Think contactless mobile check-in with the scan of a QR code, virtual product demonstrations on large screens, temperature screening devices at entry points, revised capacities for event spaces, PPE and clip-on hand sanitizers provided with your company’s branding plastered all over. There is a lot of opportunity to comply with new restrictions to keep guests safe, while still creating buzz.
How can we use design elements to make sure that events are still creating an impact with new restrictions?
One idea we really love is utilizing 360-degree video in a space to transport attendees to a different world before they feel safe traveling again. Does your company have headquarters in Switzerland? Let’s plan a chocolate tasting with wrapped truffles, as the room evolves into a Swiss chalet winter wonderland – in the middle of Los Angeles. There are a lot of ways we can use design elements to create a story that will inspire buyers, create memorable moments and boost morale as we emerge from this trying time.
What are some trends you see popping up in result of the pandemic?
· Outdoor events
· Creative culinary packaging
· Pop-up events
· Brand activations delivered to your door
Will virtual platforms be integrated with in-person meetings and events?
It’s likely that as people start to get more comfortable with the idea of attending large gatherings that virtual platforms will be integrated, especially in the corporate world. Welcoming speakers and panels from afar broadcasted live at the event with participant interaction, participants dialing-in to sessions being live-streamed from the event floor, recorded sessions to be viewed post-event – these are just a few ways we may see this come into play when events start to ramp up again.
For our last question, we wanted to get a response direct from our fearless leader, DeNeitra Burnett.
DeNeitra – what is your hope for the future of the live events industry?
There is so much energy and excitement at a live, in-person event and my hope is that we are able to gather in-person again as soon as it is safe to do so. I firmly believe that when events come back, there will be so much energy and excitement in the room. People are craving the in-person connection, they want to see cool activations in person, and they want to engage with your brand in person. We’ll get there – and when we do, it’s going to be special and amazing.
Together we will rebuild, together we will meet again, and together we will continue to navigate this new normal to create unforgettable experiences.
The Savvy Events team is keeping up-to-date on all the latest industry requirements and they’re here to answer all your questions about how to safely host your corporate, influencer, and social events moving forward. Let’s chat!
Savvy Creative Agency
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Savvy Creative Agency is a full-service Los Angeles creative agency serving big brands worldwide.