As the pandemic spread throughout the world, it became clear that the events industry was about to turn upside down. While no one expected it to last this long, leaders in our industry have been hard at work to ensure that when events return, planners and their organizations have tools to make decisions, and attendees feel safe meeting in-person again.

In response to the challenges the industry faces, in April, the Events Industry Council (EIC) formed the APEX COVID-19 Business Recovery Task Force. The goal of the group is to collect and share accepted practices and guidelines across the events industry, providing a framework for how we can begin to meet in person again when it’s safe to do so. The task force split into work groups focusing on various aspects of the meetings and events industry. The work has taken place over several months with more than 30 organizations represented from planner, venue and supplier communities.

I had the privilege to serve on the Meeting and Event Design Work Group with several esteemed leaders – among them: Liz Warwick, VP, Meeting Management and Event Strategy, Liberty Mutual Insurance and Allison Kinsley, Chief Meeting Architect, Kinsley Meetings. We also appreciated the unwavering support from Amy Calvert, CEO at EIC and her team.

Our Meetings and Event Design work group represented many years of event planning experience and industry leadership. We discussed the areas that would be most helpful to event planners and assessed gaps in available tools needed to manage through these unprecedented times. We then developed guidelines and best practices for the decision to hold a meeting, attendee responsibilities, success measures, stakeholder communications and more. This culminated in the Meeting and Event Design Accepted Practices Guide.

This guide is intended to be a flexible, customizable set of resources and framework for meeting and event professionals when considering the return to in person events including:

    • Meeting and Event Decision Grid – a framework to determine the feasibility and safety of in-person meetings and events by risk level
    • Meeting and Event Code of Conduct – personal actions attendees can take in support of collective wellbeing. It’s designed to stand alone or be added to an existing Code of Conduct.
    • Meeting and Event Success Metrics – thought starters for event planners and their organizations to evaluate the effectiveness of in-person meetings and events
    • Attendee Communication Considerations – for communications with key stakeholders
    • Resource Guide – glossary of resources from various industry groups: events/venues, lodging, and workplace plus global COVID-19 resource sites.

It’s difficult to predict exactly how our industry will re-emerge; however, we hope this guide will assist in decision-making about bringing in person meetings back to life. The goal is to continue to evolve the framework as scientific information is updated and more industry tools become available.

It has been a privilege to serve on the task force and work team and very rewarding to have the opportunity to give back to the industry, collaborate with incredible leaders, and help be a beacon of light during these challenging times. I’d like to thank everyone on the APEX COVID-19 Business Recovery Task Force and in the industry, working together to ensure we survive and thrive again. We will emerge stronger and be more nimble. And…when it’s safe to do so…we will meet in person once again.

To download the Meeting and Event Design Accepted Practices Guide, please click here. Also available on the site are the Health and Safety for Hotels Accepted Practices Guide and other resources.