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Tips for Running a Safe Meeting During Covid-19

Flexible and safe meeting spaces at Vintage Hotels

Hosting a meeting during Covid-19 can be unpredictable. From ever-changing restrictions through to concerns surrounding health and safety, event planning during a pandemic is challenging. With that said, it is possible to host a meaningful corporate meeting as long as you plan ahead and work with a venue who is supportive of your needs and readily able to adhere to the evolving demands of Covid-19.

At Vintage Hotels, we not only provide beautiful accommodations and award-winning amenities, but we aim to be a source of support and best practices for event planners and the companies they serve. In the spirit of helping businesses and their employees navigate the complexities of event planning during Covid-19, we’ve provided a check list of the most important things to keep in mind when hosting a corporate event.

If you have any questions about the suggestions below or you are looking to learn more about hosting a business meeting with Vintage Hotels, please don’t hesitate to reach out and we will gladly provide all the information you need to make the best decisions for your circumstances and company.

When deciding whether to host an in-person meeting, these are some things you should consider during the planning stage:

1. Consider how much value an in-person experience may add to the meeting.

Some questions to ask in this regard may include:

  • How long has it been since your employees have had the chance to collaborate and connect in person?
  • Is the meeting’s focus strategic or tactical? If the former, there’s a good chance being together face-to-face may generate more creative approaches to challenges and opportunities
  • How many people need to be included? Can you manage the number safely within a venue? Would it be more effective to host that number together rather than trying to manage the attendees online?

2. Can you host a hybrid meeting?

If so, does the venue you are looking at provide the technological equipment and support to enable an effective mix of in-person and digital interaction?

3. Is there any opportunity to host part of your corporate event outdoors?

This may be a great option for team building events. Many venues now offer flexible indoor/outdoor meeting spaces.

flexible indoor/outdoor meeting spaces at Millcroft Inn & Spa

4. Decide whether you will be hosting a multi-day event.

If so, confirm with your venue they have accommodations suitable for your guests to minimize travel, additional Covid screening, and the concern surrounding the increased risk of exposure is properly handled with well-though-out measures.

5. Are your team members willing to attend an in-person meeting?

Don’t assume they are. Poll your stakeholders and confirm their willingness. Also ask which safety measures they would require to feel comfortable fully and actively participating in the event.

Once you have decided to host an in-person corporate function during Covid-19, we recommend checking off the following “to dos” and things to think about:

Put attendees at ease

Help everyone feel organized and more at ease by providing an itinerary before their arrival. Be sure to include the steps you and your venue are taking to align with cleanliness and safety protocols to keep guests safe.

Ensure this pre-emptive outreach includes a comprehensive screening questionnaire, so you can be sure all attendees are feeling well.

Make expectations clear

Provide a forum for questions and answers leading up to the event and ensure there is an option to attend remotely. Provide clear instructions on how to do this and, as much as possible, create a digital version of your conference holds comparable value for attendees.

Plan the schedule with Covid in-mind

Plan out a schedule that allows for extra for transitions, so people are not being forced into crowded waiting areas for long lines. This may be most relevant when managing arrival times, transportation or dining options.

Think about dining in advance

Consider the added complexities with dining. As eating and drinking requires the removal of a mask, plan out how to organize mealtimes and dining space to ensure everyone is socially distanced. Your venue’s special events manager should already have the necessary plans in place to make this an easy process.

Review safety signage with your venue

Discuss with your venue whether they provide Covid-19 safety protocol signage. If so, ask that it be displayed in key areas with high visibility. If not, create and post your own. Your venue should have an understanding of the necessary signage required and should be able to arrange this for your event.

Use flexible spaces

Take advantage of breakout rooms and larger spaces with great ventilation, such as ballrooms, to ensure that attendees have space and feel comfortable participating in planned activities.

Plan seating arrangements in advance

Confirm with your venue they are able and willing to arrange rooms to facilitate social distancing, if required.

Consider transportation

Arrange transportation that caters to safe social distancing and staggers arrival times.

In addition to all the important Covid-19 related to-dos, your prerogative as a meeting planner should be to prioritize guest experience

While safety is your top concern, creating an in-person meeting that allows for enjoyable and valuable experiences should be a close second. If you are asking people to leave the comfort of their work-from-home environments, it will be more important than ever to ensure they leave your event feeling appreciated, energized and like they really took something away.

Whether your focus is professional development, relationship building or strategic planning, you will want to work with a venue that makes it easy to check off all the above, so you can focus on delivering on your goals.

At Vintage Hotels, we take pride in facilitating safe and successful in-person meetings. We are dedicated to collaborating with event planners and corporate clients to create seamless experiences within our hotels in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Caledon and Twenty Valley. Reach out to our event planning team today to learn how we have continued to host purposeful business meetings and professional development series throughout the pandemic. We look forward to working with you to overcome the unique challenges presented by Covid-19.

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