How event producers can cope with COVID-19 uncertainty

In General, Tips & Tricks by Kat RembackiLeave a Comment

COVID-19 guidelines are changing week to week. It can be tough to keep up with. Which venues can open? Should I wear one mask or two? Six feet apart, or is it three?

While it’s great news that vaccine availability is making it possible for us to ease up on lockdowns and social distancing requirements, a lot of event producers feel stuck in limbo: uncertain when they can reopen and what the rules are when they do. It’s especially difficult when trying to make plans for future events. 

If that sounds like you, read on for some tips to help you adapt to the constantly changing COVID-19 regulations. 

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1. Take a hybrid approach

As things start to open back up around the country, venue capacity is often limited to 50% or even less in some cases. If most of your revenue typically comes from ticket sales, cutting attendance by that much really takes a bite out of your profit margin. Many event producers are struggling to make up the difference. 

Including virtual access for your event, in addition to in-person access, will help you be more flexible with the number of guests you can accommodate and unlock unlimited revenue potential. 

The demand for virtual events surged over the past year as many of us stayed home instead of attending in-person gatherings. Even as things start to open back up, there will likely be many folks who are hesitant or cautious about attending in-person events. Instead of losing out on the revenue from those guests entirely, a virtual access ticket can allow guests:

  • Who are immunocompromised to attend without health risks;
  • Who don’t yet feel comfortable attending an in-person event to participate;
  • Who live far away to attend from their home state.

The future of events is a hybrid model, with some guests attending in person and others joining remotely from all over the world. 

2. Use a flexible seating plan

How do you make sure guests are properly spaced apart at your event? You could manually block off some seats in your venue, but that only works if every party is exactly the same size. There will inevitably be some empty seats left and some parties split up with that arrangement. 

If you’re not filling every (socially distanced) space available, you’re leaving money on the table. To solve this problem, we introduced a new feature which helps you maximize attendance while respecting social distancing guidelines: Social Distance Seat Selection. 

Social Distance Seat Selection isn’t just for venues with traditional assigned seats like a ballpark or theater. Your seating chart can be customized any way you like. It can work with bleacher seating, banquet style tables, or just about any other setup you may have. 

You can change the parameters any time you want, so if local regulations allow you to increase capacity from 25% to 50%, you can accommodate those extra guests without having to re-do your seating chart from scratch. Guests can feel comfortable purchasing tickets to your event knowing there will be at least six feet of open space between themselves and unfamiliar parties.

Need some help setting up Social Distance Seat Selection for your venue? Schedule an onboarding call with our support team. We’ll set everything up for you. Or schedule a demo to see how it works!

3. Prepare for Plan B

With guidelines changing week to week, it’s more important than ever to have a solid backup plan. What happens if you need to postpone or cancel your event? How will you handle a staff member testing positive for COVID-19? Planning for those situations in advance will help you be more flexible on the fly. 

Don’t just prepare for worst-case scenarios. If conditions in your area improve and you’re allowed to increase capacity, decide how you’ll handle that and how you’ll communicate any changes with guests. 

4. Communicate, communicate, communicate

Your guests likely feel just as confused as you do about the constantly changing rules surrounding social distancing, mask wearing, etc. Be as transparent as possible with them about the rules for visiting your venue, and be proactive about communicating what those rules are. 

Share your new procedures in as many places as you possibly can, but make your website (or your event page on Passage) home base for all the details. Place information about reopening prominently on your homepage, or display a popup when guests land on your site. You could even link to a dedicated page within your website that has all the details guests need to know. 

Post those details on social media channels. Blast a message or two to your email list. The more informed guests feel, the more comfortable they will be attending your event. 

Don’t forget about on-site communications. Consider adding some physical signage to your location, so guests who may have missed (or just forgotten about) your new procedures can be informed when they arrive. Include social distancing and sanitizing requirements to help their visit go smoothly.

5. Get some extra support

Building a strong support network of colleagues, family, and friends is key to maintaining your sanity and working through the challenges that come with COVID-19 uncertainty. Reach out to others in the industry who you can lean on for advice and guidance when you need to. 

With events shut down for so long, and capacities limited even when venues do open up, this has been an unprecedentedly tough time for event producers. We’ve put together the ultimate guide to COVID-19 resources, including some funding sources, to help you get back on your feet when you reopen. 

We particularly recommend checking out Passage Capital, our program that offers events cold hard cash with no credit checks or payback. It’s not a loan, it’s a shared investment in the future of events. Click below to learn more about the program.

Ready to set up ticketing for your in-person, virtual, or hybrid event? Schedule an onboarding call with our support team. We’ll do all the heavy lifting for you!