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What We Learned During the Explore Webinar Series in May 2020

NACE introduced a new webinar series last week titled Explore. We’re all wondering how events will look once we gradually start gathering again. While we know things won’t be the same for quite a while, event professionals are ready to adapt to the new “normal.” NACE gathered tons of useful tips and information from NACE leaders from across the organization.

Top takeaways include:

#1 Make Friends

Steve Adelman, VP of the Event Safety Alliance, explained how the responsibility of making decisions about the safety of events is not on event planners but public health officials. Connecting with local officials will be essential as event planners navigate planning events going forward. Event professionals should be relying on those networking skills right now and looking to make these connections for future guidance. Steve, who is also a lawyer, additionally discussed contracts and legal concepts to keep in mind post-COVID.

You can download the Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide edited by ESA Vice President, Steve Adelman.

Event professionals can access a directory of local health departments from the nacho.org. States and some local health departments have also set up a COVID-19 Hotline or have designated a COVID-19 point of contact. The document with this information can be found here.

#2 It Will Take Time

“We will do buffets. We will do all the service styles we’ve been doing, but it will come with caveats.” Anticipating menus and serving styles going forward, Michele Polci, CPCE, CMP, Director of Citywide Catering Sales for Caesars Entertainment, explained how she is planning to adjust for her groups. Karen Tucker, CPCE, owner of Relish Catering & Events, anticipates time being a significant consideration as business adjust serving options.

James Filtz, CPCE, CMP, also discussed sustainability with the panel as disposable ware will probably be preferred for plating individual and small meals at stations, buffets, and during passed hors d’oeuvres.

#3 Be A Part of The Conversation

Steve Kemble, of Steve Kemble Event Design, encourages professionals to use the more accurate term of physical distancing instead of social distancing. Using this more precise term allows event professionals to respond in a safe way for events to take place while not discouraging socializing.

Be attentive and aware is another piece of advice that Steve shared with attendees on why they should learn what is working and what is not as restaurants and hotels open across the country. An example of what to be on the lookout for is how New Orleans now requires restaurants to take detailed information with reservations to help with contact tracing. Staying informed allows professionals to be familiar with guest expectations and be prepared to answer questions on safety and sanitation.

#4 What Gets Measured Gets Done

The weeklong series kicked off with a panel of NACE members sharing lessons learned in business during COVID-19. The group shared how they have incorporated virtual experiences into their sales funnel, how they have pivoted to other services like consulting, and how they are continuing to keep connections strong with clients and vendors. Sydonie Neysmith, of Black Swan Events, left attendees with a call to action to try and plan out the next three months, “At the end of the day, it comes down to the numbers, and what gets measured, get done!”

All registrants will receive a link to the recordings, and NACE members can access the recordings in the resource library.

Stay tuned as we continue to explore the future together. NACE will be adding more events to the calendar soon.


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