While the spread of COVID-19 is threatening almost all businesses and industries globally, Travel, Hospitality and Events industry are on top of the list.
Events industry is highly capital-intensive and vulnerable; it gets affected quickly, but it is also capable of bouncing back even faster. Once the fear of falling victim to COVID-19 and the embargo on travelling are lifted, the industry will inevitably bounce back better than ever before. A lot of Indian corporations have their incentives and conferences in SE Asia and Middle East as part of their employee retention programme. Once people gain back the confidence to travel abroad again, it will be exciting to see how domestic hotels and service providers make use of this opportunity post COVID-19.
This pandemic will surely bring about a permanent change in the needs, consumer behavior and regulations. Post the COVID-19 era, the same business practices and service design will not help us sail through. The world may not be the same anymore. The contagion has proven itself to be far more catastrophic than any of us had imagined.
For Event Planning Trends
These daunting times call for serious introspection and the need to seize this opportunity to restructure the status quo of our businesses, as they enter into a new phase post this cataclysm.
1. What protective measures can you take for events post COVID-19?
The focus should be on amplifying the measures to minimize the risk right from the beginning. The entire event management staff must be monitored every single day in terms of daily body temperature and the people showing signs of any potential health risks should be advised to stay away from the office, event and rest at home as much as possible.
2. How to conduct hygiene awareness and frequent checks at your event?
As an event planner, ensure that event venues are ventilated and are adequately equipped with facilities for hand washing. You will also have to create awareness about the need to build personal hygiene among attendees present at your event. You must advise people to – avoid coming in close contact with the people who are unwell or have been showing symptoms of illness, advise them to observe good personal hygiene by practicing frequent hand washing with soap and water before and after eating, after using the toilet, or after they have coughed or sneezed.
Before entering the event venue, temperature screening of the staff and the guests must be carried out; entry to an unwell guest must be politely denied and; frequent reminders should be sent to attendees to not attend the event if they are unwell through pre-event reminders, prominent notices at entrances to an event, notices during pre- or onsite registration.
3. A Future-Forward Mindset for Mass gatherings
Mass gatherings are extremely visible events. They have the capacity for serious public health consequences if not planned and managed carefully. There is ample evidence that mass gatherings can amplify the spread of infectious diseases.As an event planner/organizer, you must be well-versed with WHO’s Public health guidelines for mass gatherings.
4. What should Hotels and Restaurants do post Lock down / COVID-19?
The number one concern post Covid-19 will be health and safety which translates into hygiene and sanitation issues. The key is to provide physical evidence for health and safety. For that:
- Restaurants and Hotels must erect hygiene stations for sanitizers, masks etc at the entrance and other public areas. Contactless payments and billing should be the new norm. Apart from that, checks and screening should be erected for health purposes at the entrances of all hotels and Restaurants.
- The security should check for fever with a remote thermometer, shower a light sanitizer mist, keep hand sanitizers at the reception, elevator lobbies and guest rooms.
- Ensure circulation of fresh purified air in the guest room and banquet hall; they should display indoor air quality too.
- The venue should have a sign mentioning “This area has been sanitized for your health and safety on date XXYYZZ”.
- At restaurants the food menus must display Table d’hote each day, instead of a full a la carte menu. It will save the cost of having high food inventories.
- Hotels should take into account that supply chain vendors will take time to respond to full capacity. Tables in the restaurant should be spaced out.
- Self-service as far as possible should be encouraged to reduce human contact. All staff should continue to wear surgical gloves and masks to give confidence to the guests.
- Social distancing has to become the new norm for social interaction and hence result in customers to be seated at a safe distance. This will in turn force the banquet halls to imbibe layouts featuring lesser seats with acceptable distancing norms.
5. How can you make use of Technology to promote health and safety post COVID-19?
The introduction of technology to the world has proven itself to be a boon in our daily lives.Post the COVID-19 era, advanced technological inventions could become our aids in promoting utmost health and safety through building a contactless menu, contactless order and contactless payment method:
- Use of QR code on the table to scan and explore the menu.
- Order using the digital menu on your phone
- Review the bill and pay through your phone
- Self-check-in with codes given on the guest’s mobile. This eliminates the need for menu cards and bill books, and reduces avoidable interactions with the venue staff. With features such as the ability to pay for yourself or for the entire table and order a second round right on the app.
- Moreover, Data analytics could be employed to constantly determine the behavior and attitude of guests to give them customized services for their events.
In a nutshell, It is now necessary more than ever that we keep our feelers out for new emerging business and consumer trends. To be future ready, it is important that we optimize this downtime to reassess the service design. The key to success of the new norm will depend on being reflective and adaptive to these changes from a business and consumer perspective.
The situation at the moment, forces us to pause, re-evaluate how we have been approaching events. It requires us to take additional measures developed in consultation with global and local public health authorities(including WHO and CDC) to make our cleaning and hygiene protocols even more rigorous. It is advised to closely work with governments, public health authorities, and medical professionals to navigate through this situation.
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