How to Work With Destinations to Plan Safe In-Person Meetings

Creativity and adaptability are key to help you welcome back delegates to successful events.

Travel restrictions are loosening and in-person meetings are ramping up. However, it’s still a dramatically different world for associations looking to host in-person events and conferences. Fortunately, there are steps that planners can take to do this safely—and it starts with forging strong relationships with destinations. Here’s a look at a few best practices to equip you as you welcome back delegates.

Start by researching the destinations that appeal to you as a fit for your event. Many destination marketing organizations (DMOs) and convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs) are experts on their destination’s health and safety protocols. By reaching out to them directly, you can ensure you have the most up-to-date information to make an informed decision. Many also have dedicated sections on their website with information on protocols and helpful resources. DMOs and CVBs are also experts in what makes a city unique, and can offer great advice on the best things to do and see to elevate the delegate experience.

In many amazing destinations, there are innovative initiatives in place that go above and beyond standard measures. For instance, Montréal launched a 720° Safety Protocol where a 360° sweep of the city has been completed—twice—checking everything from hotels to taxis to ensure a safe experience during the pandemic. Extra steps like these go a long way to help attendees feel comfortable.

After exploring what steps destinations have taken, take stock of procedures and protocols at a destination’s venues, hotels and restaurants. For instance, the Shaw Centre in Ottawa has developed its own safety guidance plan, including a dedicated team that monitors hygiene standards and clean common contact points. As a starting point, ask your DMO or CVB contact pointed questions: Is technology, such as touchless check-ins, embraced? Is the venue able to host events with both virtual and in-person components? Does it accommodate social distancing?

Finally, it’s wise to assess the types of outdoor spaces that are available. Many people are likely to feel more comfortable meeting outdoors — but not just anywhere. Especially successful events often take place in extraordinary venues, such as the foot of a towering mountain or in a charming coastal city. In addition to promoting wellness, settings like these are also more likely to spark big ideas and leave attendees feeling energized.

As we navigate the return of in-person business events and conferences, it’s important that associations are creative and adaptable. By working closely with local DMOs and CVBs, you can ensure your attendees feel confident in attending.

Plan a conference that people feel safe and comfortable attending—host in Canada and watch your attendance soar. The Destination Canada Business Events team can help you meet with purpose.


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