While the UK government has yet to announce details of what comes next after this current period of lockdown, many other countries around the world are revealing how they plan to ease restrictions and get businesses back up and running in the coming weeks and months.
In our latest micebook talks session, we heard from #eventprofs in Italy, Germany and China to find out what is happening in other key MICE destinations and what they are doing to prepare for recovery. Here are some of the key highlights, or you can watch via our forum here. Or listen via our Podcast.
Italy and Germany are only just beginning to come out of lockdown, but China is much further ahead in the process and there are some lessons we can learn from what is happening over there.
Destination China General Manager Gunther Homerlein shared his previous experience of dealing with SARs and gave some key insights into how his business is preparing to host its first meetings and events post-Covid.
While restrictions on movements between cities in China are lifting, strict controls remain in place, and Homerlein doesn’t expect business to return properly until a vaccine is found. “When we went through SARs, we only started to see RFPs coming back once a vaccine was found, because that is when insurance kicks in,” he explained. “There is corporate travel that will have to go ahead for business reasons. But nothing that is voluntary like incentives will go ahead without a vaccine. With SARs, within days of a vaccine was announced, we got a request for a car dealership event, that we delivered three months later.”
Homerlein said he is preparing to deliver a small meeting for 60 in Shanghai at the end of June, however the meeting will have to adhere to strict controls. These include:
*anyone wanting to travel to the meeting in Shanghai will need to fill in a questionnaire online to get a green QR Code that allows them to travel on the train into the city
*delegates temperature will be checked before getting on the train before entering the hotel/venue and before entering the function space
*all delegates have to wear a mask in public spaces and the meeting space
*you have to allow 2.5 sqm per person in the event space
*The meeting room and lunchtime layout needs to be carefully planned so people are not seated close together
*there are regulations on air conditioning. Venues that use systems with recirculated air will not be able to use them, so may have to look at providing alternatives such as freestanding units.
*you have to follow government advice and measures, or they could shut your meeting down.
Other issues discussed during the session that eventprofs can start to prepare for include:
*being prepared for the fact that people might initially be concerned about attending meetings. “You have to be really prepared. Everyone that comes to any event we deliver in the coming months will get a care package including hand sanitiser, a wipe and their own retractable straw. Try and look at things that make people nervous and what you could do make them feel comfortable,” said Homerlein.
*Pre-empt questions that you might be asked about hygiene or distancing and have all your protocols in place and information ready to hand.
*Be prepared for the registration process to be more in-depth and the fact that people will have to give more information, what that means for data protection and security. You may also need to introduce temperature checking or medical testing pre-event and on site.
-Adjust proposals to take into account social distancing measures, for example a venue that can hold 1,000 may only be able to have 400.
-Make sure all your partners and suppliers understand and follow any restrictions that are imposed. Train your staff so they are ready.