How do you feel about meeting in person again?

In the last few weeks, the team at HTS has finally been meeting with clients and suppliers in person and attending live events again. For us, it couldn't feel better! We've missed the level of engagement and networking opportunities that in-person meetings and events provide. However, we appreciate not all businesses and their employees are ready to get back to live events. It will take time for confidence to build. We have seen our clients start to travel again and we’re working with them on continuing to build confidence.  

What does the industry say about confidence for in-person meetings?

A recent Pulse Survey from Northstar Meetings Group UK revealed that meeting planners were increasingly confident of convening people in person at some point this year.

Of the 107 UK and European event professionals who completed the survey in May:

  • 76.3% expected to hold an in-person or hybrid event in 2021
  • 62% were planning for the second half of the year, with 28% in Q3 and 34% in Q4
  • 24% are planning for 2022 or later
  • 26% said they were booking new events compared to only 11% in February

On entering Step 3 on 17th May, we began seeing an increase in enquiries. As more hotels have opened their doors, the momentum and anticipation of returning to live events are enormously encouraging. Albeit cautiously, commitment is growing and we see a slight improvement in enquiries converting and contracting.

Meet Safe, Meet Smart

As an HBAA member, we fully support the HBAA ‘Meet Safe, Meet Smart’ campaign - aimed to encourage planners to have the confidence to book and organise meetings and encourage delegates to attend meetings in a safe environment.

To build confidence, the ‘Meet Safe, Meet Smart’ campaign will showcase the safety features of meetings with hotels and venues having updated their protocols to be Covid secure. It also highlights the flexibility of contractual terms and conditions at all venues involved; clients want to determine the level of cover should they need to postpone or cancel due to potential further lockdowns.

The campaign provides facts, drive confidence and highlight that booking these venues offers delegates tangible assurances.

Will Covid certificates have an impact on confidence?

The same survey shows that 28 per cent of respondents expect to require proof of vaccination, while a similar number expect to conduct rapid tests on-site.

Although we haven’t received any enquiries from clients regarding Covid certificates for meetings and events, we are supportive of Covid certificates if it encourages delegate confidence in returning to live meetings and events. 

Currently, our client’s main priority is the detail of risk assessments from venues we’re proposing.  The question is, how easy would Covid Certificates be and the technology required to ensure it’s a painless process for clients to manage? 

We continue to strive to add value to our service offering for clients. Olivia Woolley recently passed the Brightspace Events Covid-19 Risk Assessment course. The insight Olivia gained from the course will allow us to provide guidance to our clients and confidence that we can support them to deliver safe events.

So, how do you feel about meeting in person again? Is your business planning for live meetings and events for the remainder of 2021 and beyond? If you’d like a safe and reliable partner to help you deliver safe meetings and events, get in touch – we’d love to see how we can help.

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