COVID-19 has been devastating to the events, leisure and hospitality sectors. The nature of these industries is to encourage people to gather, celebrate and enjoy a shared experience, all of which are made extremely difficult with social distancing. Coronavirus and events do not mix well.
The industry will need to work hard to satisfy regulatory bodies, governing authorities, and its staff, and to gain the confidence of its customers to open a safe and commercially viable way. It will need records to prove its due diligence at every stage of the operational process.
At WeTrack, we have been trying to alter and develop products to help our industry get back to operating as soon as possible, albeit in a 'new world'. We do not have all the answers - nobody does - but we wanted to convey our thoughts and encourage people to contribute.
We have formulated a 7-step framework for events and venues to re-open once it is safe to do so, and created a blog series on the seven steps. You can read snippets from each piece below, click the links to view the full articles, or download our full white paper at the top or bottom of the page.
Keeping your company working on what's important and holding people accountable is as essential as ever, but don't put on COVID-19 blinkers and ignore everything else that needs to be done.
Yes, some of your projects will be slowed down, postponed, or reduced in scope. However, it's too easy not to give your regular projects the attention they deserve. Prioritise your projects, but don't lose sight of everything else.
Review your project and task tags as well as which teams and staff are assigned to items, so users can focus on what's important.
Now is not the time to be manually creating lots of reports. Get the right information to the right people at the right frequency, using the automated reporting functionality in your system if possible.
Make your risk and issue register a core part of your project plans, not something that is done in isolation.
Notifications are great, most of the time! But make sure your team isn't getting notification 'blindness' through the sheer volume of messages.
It was essential before, but risk planning suddenly gets even more complicated and necessary. Responsible planning has to begin now.
It might be a world where events do eventually look 'normal' again, but will they be? We all now face huge uncertainty, and uncertainties lead to risks, issues and opportunities.
As examples, will there be a public attitude of increased thrift, and an enduring worry of big crowds? Will there be a business attitude of increased thrift?
Uncertainty has to be responded to with risk planning. Consider risk management technology, which can bring coherence, collaboration and responsibility to your mitigation and contingency planning. Consider knowledge transfer, because if there is ever a time to learn lessons, it's now. And consider event insurance, because that safety blanket would feel very comfortable now.
Here are some starting points for identifying risk:
There is so much to consider here and we can only scratch the surface. Read the full article for more depth.
We want the tools available to the biggest and best prepared events in the world to be applied to events and venues of all types.
A readiness programme tests the operational plans to make sure everyone and everything is ready to deliver the best event possible. Delivering an event is difficult, especially if it's a new event or if there are significant changes to the last time the event was delivered. This makes readiness a natural link between operational planning and event delivery.
When events come back there are obviously going to be huge differences from before. There are many benefits to having a readiness programme:
Pre-opening checks for venues of all types (including stadiums, theme parks, leisure centres, arenas and attractions) are already subject to a series of regulations and standard operating procedures. These are clearly likely to increase in scope and importance.
Here are 7 check types to consider before you can open to the public again.
It is vital to maintain a high level of oversight and open in a safe and controlled way.
Most venues already have excellent hygiene in place, but this will become increasingly important to visitors and staff alike.
It is likely venues will need to review their operating procedures to reduce capacity and occupancy.
If it used, make sure it is of sufficient quality, doesn't ruin the visitor experience, and is disposed of correctly.
Extra checks must be carried out and recorded centrally or risk assessed.
Staff will need extra training, refreshed method statements and time to review new ways of working.
This starts a long time before they reach your venue. Keep clear and consistent messaging from the first contact or ticket purchase.
No event or venue will get this 100% correct the first time, but the more planning that goes into it the more likely it is that you will succeed.
As events return and venues and attractions begin to reopen, event planners and venue operators need to be able to adapt their operations on the fly. Comprehensive run sheets / production schedules / call sheets / running orders are key to ensuring smooth operations - whatever you might call them!
The unknowns that come with operating in the changed post-pandemic environment mean you need the ability to easily update and communicate changes to your schedules.
You'll be following stricter safety precautions and you'll need a fully auditable log of your team's activities to satisfy regulatory authorities and governing bodies.
Three things should be the focus:
We all want our events to be executed smoothly, and in this time the need for accountability has moved to the forefront of operations. When run sheets work as a clear, collaborative and up-to-date tool, this becomes a lot easier.
Once your events or venues are allowed to re-open, it will be event control rooms and their responses to incidents that come under greatest scrutiny.
Be prepared for things to go wrong - they always do! Acknowledge usual patterns and create incident categories for better understanding of how to improve processes. Make information flow effective by fully involving agencies, teams and individuals.
As an event or venue manager, you need to know that the response to an incident will be consistent, whoever gets to the scene first. Build out exhaustive contingency plans and response checklists, aligning them with incident categories and informing all team members.
Stay accountable by logging decisions, discussion and actions. Keep separate lists of general log items and incidents to allow for everything that happens to be recorded, and use event logging software that allows for complete recording and easy recalling of logs after the event.
Thorough preparation, consistent incident response and post-event accountability are going to drive your event or venue's success in the new world.
Long-term event planning, short-term event readiness, event-time delivery, post-event lessons. It's easy to see what gets forgotten if you're only considering lessons learned after the fact.
You're probably working on multiple complex projects at any one time - always think critically about their progress.
How you approach your risks really defines how much confidence you can have in your operations - learn from the past.
There's so much to learn both from every individual readiness test activity and the process of event or venue management as a whole.
Be aware of common issues and spot patterns so that you can focus your checks more directly on known pinch-points.
Look critically at how your day progressed, what elements fell behind or slipped in quality, and adjust suitably for next time.
Live event days are unpredictable - but you can easily group similar incidents and analyse how you dealt with them.
Share knowledge in a collaborative process across your team throughout planning and delivery to integrate learned experience into future operations.
You need to open in such a way that is safe and commercially viable, with a full audit trail of due diligence. Protect your visitors - Protect your staff - Protect your organisation. Here is our 7-step plan for re-opening once it is safe to do so.