Staying Up-to-Date on Event Regulations During the Pandemic

Last updated July 29, 2020

We are living in unprecedented times.  Thinking about the future is extremely challenging!  Short-term, our regulations seem to be changing every two weeks.  Long-term, it’s impossible to imagine how the next year will unfold, given the necessary short-term adjustments and sacrifices we are all making to keep our communities as safe and healthy as is possible during this pandemic.  This has especially been tough on the events industry, as planning processes get tossed in the blender with all of the other unknowns.

There are no concrete answers about when limitations might be lifted, when another wave of the virus might influence additional restrictions, or how long it might be before a vaccine is readily available and our society becomes comfortable interacting like we did before COVID-19 hit us this year.  Groups all over the world have had to pivot to virtual events, meeting on video conference platforms and finding creative ways to engage while we can’t meet in person. 

For anyone trying to keep communities involved and move forward with events planned in 2020, here are some resources that might help guide your decisions about structuring events through the end of the year.

Stay up-to-date on event regulations during the pandemic.

Basic Guidance Provided from National Organizations

First and foremost, it is imperative to abide by government regulations and restrictions to ensure that we are keeping our communities safe and as healthy as possible.  For most of us, local ordinances are the most stringent, but overall guidance from the CDC, WHO and national leaders are below:

CDC Considerations for Events & Gatherings:  This site has extensive resources that offer support for anyone considering how to safely bring a group of people from different households together.  Below is a summary of key takeaways, but we recommend that you take in the full website.

  • Stay home and engage virtually whenever possible, wear face coverings when out in public, and practice effective hygiene. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least daily, or as frequently as possible.
  • Limit seating and capacity to allow for proper social distancing.
  • If you must provide food, serve individually plated meals or grab-and-go options, and use disposable dishes and utensils.  Avoid all self-serve food or beverage options.

Download the CDC’s Events and Gatherings Readiness & Planning Tool.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Understanding the Coronavirus Webinar

CDC’s Definition of Proper Social Distancing:  Keep a Safe Distance to Slow the Spread

Current information from the World Health Organization about the Coronavirus Outbreaks.

State Regulations

Here are some resources to follow if you’re planning events in Colorado.

State Guidance for Indoor Events. These are some highlights, but please visit the website for the full info!

  • Under the current “Safer at Home” orders, we are required to maintain a minimum of 6 feet between people at all time. For event space, this means ensuring that individuals can move around the space with a 6ft area surrounding them. So to properly accommodate this, you should plan for 144 square feet per person!
  • Collect contact information for all guests, so in case you learn that someone at your event exhibits symptoms, you can contact everyone who attended with more information about getting tested and self-quarantining.
  • The more signage you have reminding people to respect social distancing the better.
  • No self-service food or drinks!
  • No games or activities that involve contact between people, congregating together, or sharing materials.
  • Add an additional 6 feet in between vendor booths, and require vendors to have booth layouts that promote social distancing. This will likely entail providing larger booth areas.
  • Direct traffic flows in one-way patterns, controlled by ropes or fencing.
  • And performers providing entertainment must be at least 25 feet away from all audience members. (Research suggests that projecting and singing spreads respiratory droplets over greater distances, which increases the risk of virus transmission.

Visit the Colorado Resource Page for COVID-19, a hub of information that includes public health info, state guidelines, and any new information that has come out through medical research.

Track data about the virus in the sate, maintained by the Colorado Department of Public Health.

Visit Colorado Public Radio’s collection of stories and updates related to the Coronavirus.

This Social Distancing Space Calculator is super useful for determining how your group can be accommodated for both indoor and outdoor events!

Masks are now mandatory in all public indoor spaces! A statewide mask order went into effect at midnight on July 16th, and will be in effect at least through August 15th.

Statewide mask order is in effect in Colorado!

Local Regulations

Have questions about your specific circumstances? Our team is always willing to brainstorm solutions and share whatever resources we can. Contact info@paeboulder.com to let us know how we can help! In the meantime, stay as healthy and as sane as is possible during these turbulent times.

Don’t Give Up on Your Goals!

Just like that, January is over.  Now that it’s February, where is the list of goals and resolutions you set for yourself a month ago?  Have you made progress towards any of them?  Have you forgotten any of them?

 

With the best of intentions, we all strive to improve ourselves personally and professionally.  But it can be very challenging to keep those efforts front-of-mind on a regular basis!  Don’t get frustrated if you’re one of us who has lost track of the things we wanted to do better this year.  In addition to clarifying exactly what you’re working on, the best tool for achieving it is finding an accountability system that works for you.

BE SMART ABOUT SETTING GOALS

In order to see meaningful growth, it’s important to focus on two or three goals per year.  Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to make too many changes at the same time.  Download our SMART Goals Template to fill out for each of yours!

 

First, you have to get specific.  Define what your ideal outcome is, and what success looks like.  Second, decide how you will measure that you have achieved success in a clear and finite way.  Ensure that this goal is truly attainable for you by evaluating the obstacles that may stand in your way, and making a plan from the beginning to overcome each of them.  Who can you ask for help?  How can you avoid the pitfalls?  Last, it’s important to know the true reasons motivating you to accomplish each goal.  Why is it relevant for you to bring in additional income, or why do you want to lose weight?  If you can focus on making progress to improve your health, or to be able to participate in an activity that now feel overwhelming to you, you’re more likely to stick with your plans than if you are just watching numbers on a scale.  If the reason you want additional money this year is to plan an exciting international adventure next year, you’re more likely to find motivation to work harder than if you’re simply tracking your bank account balance.

 

Once you’ve gotten clear on what you’re working towards and why, map out a timeline for the specific action steps that you need to take to make progress.  Is planning meals at the beginning of each week going to help you eat healthier and support a fitness goal?  Is reaching out to five prospective clients every day going to help you fill your leads funnel in support of a sales goal?  Set dates that you need to have crossed each milestone in order to move the needle in the direction you want to go.

 

Use these action steps to create habits around the things that will move you towards your goal.  Schedule regular time to work on the things you know need to happen to achieve each goal – add it to your calendar and dedicate that time to pursuing your goal!  It’s also helpful to set aside ten minutes once a month to review your goals and recap the progress you have made.  Sometimes this calls for a celebration, and sometimes it is motivating to realize you haven’t made as much progress as you’d like, and you need to set aside more time to focus on your action steps in the coming weeks.

ACCOUNTABILITY

The most effective way to hold yourself accountable to anything is to find a community to support your efforts to follow-through on your commitments.  According to the Association for Talent Development (formerly the American Society of Training and Development), the likelihood that you will achieve your goal increases by 95% when you have a specific commitment to another person related to working on that goal!  This may mean joining(or creating) a group intending to share goals and highlight progress on a regular basis, or just finding one person you trust to encourage you.

INCENTIVES

There are also two approaches to motivation, and I’ve found that each of us tends to respond best to one of them.  Some people are driven by rewards – their motivation is contingent on earning a treat, while others are more motivated by the need to avoid negative consequences.

 

One of the women in a goal-setting workshop I led last year had a creative approach to this that motivated outstanding results.  She decided that she wanted to train for a marathon, and throughout our course she selected the race she wanted to run, researched the training she wanted to do, and mapped out a calendar of workouts that she needed to complete every week leading up to the race.  We discussed accountability partners, and since she didn’t have anyone in her life willing to commit to the same rigorous workout schedule, she came up with a personal plan built around avoiding negative consequences.  This lady is very liberal and actively engaged in several democratic forums.  She found a colleague who identifies with conservative politics, and wrote him a check for $1,000.  She gave him a copy of her training calendar, and told him that any week she did not complete all of the scheduled workouts, he was to write a $50 contribution to any conservative cause he wanted.  At the end of the training, she would get back whatever money he didn’t spend.  These stakes may sound high to some of you, but guess what – there was only one week that she did not complete all of her planned workouts, and she completed the marathon and got back $950!

INCREMENTAL PROGRESS

In his book The Slight Edge, Jeff Olson explores the idea that you are either moving forward (making progress creating the life you desire), or moving backward (not making progress).  He challenges his readers to make decisions that will move them towards their goals, no matter how small of an effort it is.  What can you do today that will take you forward – even if it’s in tiny incremental steps?  Any movement forward is positive!

 

Let us know if you have tips or tricks that have helped you accomplish goals.  And download our SMART Goals Template here.  Email info@paeboulder with any questions, we love to talk about personal and professional development!

Leverage Social Media to Increase Fundraising

Audience engagement is a hot topic for all event managers, and is a critical factor to consider when you are coordinating a successful fundraising event.  Here are some ways to incorporate social media that will promote your cause, enhance your event, and increase your revenues.

1.)  Tag it!  Personalize and promote a hashtag(s) for attendees to use before, during and after an event.  Find a corporate sponsor to donate $1 for every use of a specific tag, which will encourage fans to post photos and share comments using your tag and offer great goodwill exposure to your sponsor.

2.)  It All Adds Up.  Partner with community organizations to solicit smaller donations online for a chance to win experiential prizes.  For example, for every $5 donation you give, you will be entered to win lunch with the local fire department, or a pass to a community festival, or a signed jersey from a local athlete.  As these experiences happen, make sure the winners share their stories online using your tags.

3.)  Sharing is Caring.  Establish a way for a donation to be earned with every social share of an image, video, or link.  This spreads the word about your event and your mission when friends share something for you on their networks, and encourage their friends and connections to share it as well.  It also increases exposure for potential corporate sponsors who might be interested in supporting the cause.

4.)  Be Inclusive.  If you incorporate technology into your event, be sure to have some devices available to check out for non-tech-savvy guests.  For example, if you choose to use an app for auction bidding, have tablets with the program installed ready to loan to attendees who may not have a smartphone, or who might not be keen on the idea of spontaneously downloading an app to use just for the night. It’s also engaging to solicit high school volunteers to host a guest who doesn’t have access to the app.  They’ll support the process by sharing the technology with the older patron, and make new personal connections.

5.)  Online Presence at the Event.  Instead of simply posting a banner that promotes the hashtag(s) and connections you are encouraging guests to use, set up a screen where people can watch a projected live feed of streaming posts that are discussing and promoting the event.  This is also a good opportunity to solicit new followers for your organization’s social media accounts.  Ensure that this is set up in a central location where everyone will have the opportunity to pass by and see it.  You could also erect a branded backdrop people can use to take photos and selfies in front of, that they will then post to their social media, using your hashtags and tagging your accounts.

When used to its full potential, social media can be a great tool to support your marketing efforts.  It is also valuable because you can measure its impact – how many people were reached by each post, and how many people actively posted on your behalf by using a hashtag or sharing something you posted.  These metrics can be provided to all sponsors who contribute to fundraising efforts.  Attendees are actively engaged before the event, and enjoy sharing their support with members of their social networks who might not be aware of your needs.  When general exposure is increased and guests are more engaged, you are very likely to raise much more money!

Planning a fundraising event, or looking for a fresh approach to your annual event?  Email Plan Ahead Events Boulder today for some ideas and current trends.

Gamify Your Next Event

Gamification is the concept of applying the mechanics of a game or designing a contest to motivate an individual or a group to achieve a specific goal. This approach is so successful because it resonates with our innate human impulse to seek status and recognition.

In the context of a corporate event, contests have been hosted in conjunction with exhibit halls and trade shows for decades. A common application of this has been to provide attendees with something akin to a passport or a bingo card that each exhibitor can check off, which encourages attendees to visit as many booths as possible. When they have visited all of the booths, they may then enter their proof into a drawing for prizes, generally donated by exhibitors.

In some circumstances, this is a productive way to engage attendees with exhibitors and sponsors. However, when the end goal of the attendees is simply to get their stamp or signature so they can enter the drawing, it lessens the effect of each interaction.

How can we encourage interactions that have a positive impact on the attendees’ experience, as well as allow the exhibitors and sponsors to maximize their marketing efforts? Plan Ahead Events has launched a proprietary platform called the Biddit Game that has successfully engaged people on all sides of the expo aisle. Attendees can earn Biddit Bucks and use mobile bidding technology to bid on prizes at the end of the event. Watch this video to see how it enhanced the experience for both exhibitors and attendees at an international conference and trade show. Vendors appreciated the increase in traffic at their booths, and attendees enjoyed the easy competitive nature of the game.

Contact info@paeboulder.com for more information about how we can help you gamify your next event.  The platform is accessible, and easy to customize to suit your audience!

Think Outside the Ballroom

The next time you’re brainstorming potential destinations and venues for an upcoming sales meeting or conference event, we recommend that you think outside the ballroom.  Cruising is a very affordable way to bring a team together for a productive mix of business and pleasure!

If you’re hosting a national – or international – event, your attendees are already booking a plane ticket.  Chances are that flying to a coastal port city will not add much to the cost of their transportation.  The all-inclusive concept aboard a cruise also makes it simple and straightforward for you to negotiate your attendee’s accommodations, which will automatically incorporate all of your food and beverage arrangements.  Along with the variety of gourmet options you will have, you can easily host private functions for your team – the catering teams on board are thrilled at the opportunity to customize their offerings for groups.

Inviting your team to take a cruise will create a unique and memorable experience.  Arrangements made for clients has included free corporate meeting space that is equipped with all of the audio-visual technology they have requested.  The ships sailing right now are state-of-the-art and are beautifully decorated, so you couldn’t ask for a nicer venue.  They also provide direct access to fun team-building activities, world-class entertainment, and breathtaking global destinations.  Another bonus is that any family members who choose to tag along will have plenty to keep them occupied while your group is being productive.

With the ability to customize everything from the coasters in your rooms to the desserts served to your team, the ability to create a branded experience that will have a lasting impact on your attendees is limitless.  Compared to hosting an event in a hotel or convention center where your planners are managing multiple venues, negotiating menus and decor, and coordinating all of the necessary vendors, booking a cruise could easily save you 30%.

Offer your guests the ability to unpack once and see multiple destinations.  With unparalleled value, these mobile cities of the sea are a great place to host your next event.  Call us today for more information!

Refresh Your Conference Events

Refresh Your Conference Events

Incorporate these elements into your meetings and conference events to keep your audiences engaged and active.  These four components have been proven to increase productivity and generate more effective results!

1.)  Get Some Fresh Air:  After hours of bathing in fluorescent light in a conference room somewhere in the depths of a convention hall, the best way to re-energize your attendees can be to step outside and enjoy some sunlight.  Plan a session that offers education or networking outside on a patio, or host a break in a courtyard.  During colder months, utilize interior spaces with windows that let in natural light.

2.)  Problem Solving:  Stimulate creative thinking by leading classic ice breakers to kickoff a session, or by providing games or problem-solving scenarios that teams have to work through.  This enhances cooperation and engages a different part of the brain, which makes for more productive conversations throughout the day.  It also offers a more intimate connection for attendees to introduce themselves and network authentically.

3.)  Kinetic Movement:  Improve brain function by increasing blood flow with 20 minutes of aerobic activity.  Boost your participants’ cognitive abilities with a guided morning hike, an afternoon yoga session, or a competitive photo scavenger hunt.

4.)  Experiential Learning:  Studies have shown that we learn more effectively when we physically do something, as opposed to hearing about it or just watching.  Incorporate activities into educational components that help your attendees make an emotional connection with a leader, a product, a brand or a goal.  Contests and interactive campaigns are a great way to engage an audience, and they can also activate sponsorships from your partner vendors(an easy way to showcase their products and services!).

Integrate activities of all types into your event programming to motivate conference attendees and encourage more active participation.  Leverage the time you have together to inspire the most innovative and effective solutions your teams can come up with, and make the event memorable for them at the same time.