As a meeting architect you have a million things to think of. In your planning do you have a Preparedness Plan in place? In today’s world, we have seen everything from tornados to public emergencies which may force you to face unplanned, serious issues at your conference. What have you in your kit for the “WHAT IF’S”?
Here are my top 5 things to keep in mind for a safer conference:
- Force Majeure – Let’s start with this important clause in your contract. Without a clear Force Majeure, you won’t have a leg to stand on if anything should happen. It is especially important to specifically include your host location, nearest airport and dates (both pre and post). It is also important to ensure you include incoming locations if most of your delegates happen to be arriving from one place. Keep the insurance and cancellation in mind when putting this together.
- Site Selection Due Diligence – When considering a hotel or destination be sure your, or your DMO’s, research includes whether any other events are planned for the same dates. (Googling the dates and city can be a starting point.) Next, check if social, political or high-profile causes would prompt protests, issues or activity around the location of your program. Ask suppliers and host properties about any and all potential conflicts.
- Venue Checklist – Consider emergency plans when siting a venue. Check for proper emergency exits, what the venue has in place for emergency response, and identify who is head of security. And are there emergency medical devices, such as an AED, on-site? The AHA/SA Security Checklist is a great tool to use on your next site walk through. Have the venue fill out this form https://goo.gl/5C2EMA ahead of your next site.
- Delegate Registration – Consider flushing out your registration package to address concerns delegates may have for their personal safety. Leave a space for things such as restraining orders, legal issues or any medical alerts they may have concerning allergies and medications they need in an emergency. Given the sensitivity of such issues, ensure attendee privacy by giving them a separate link to a secure site or offering to speak to HR.
- The Back Up Back Up Plan – What IF the power goes out or a massive storm erupts or your keynote speaker or majority of delegates are delayed due to a protest or air emergency? What if there is an attack at or near your host property or venue? These are all very real things which have happened to conference centres and hotels and are events you can plan for. What do you have in your kit to face such emergencies? Hospitality lawyer Tyra Hilliard says, “Preparing for a crisis can be daunting, but remember that any one thing you do to make your meeting safer is one more thing. Don’t be overwhelmed, just start with one thing.“
For more peace of mind on your next conference, talk to us. We’re ready to give you a plan!