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    How To: Manage social distancing at events

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    Simon Clayton, Chief Ideas Officer at RefTech, offers some key advice…

    Since the beginning of August, we are now able to organise and attend socially distanced meetings for up to thirty delegates. This means that event organisers will need technology to manage delegate footfall and create a staggered entry system. 

    Delegates will need a simple to use system to register their attendance (and maybe even pay a fee, as well as be vetted for quality) and then be able to choose and book their own convenient arrival time with the system managing availability.

    When choosing a system, I suggest that you consider the following:

    Limit your numbers

    Organisers will need a simple yet powerful tool to manage the bookings, and one that is flexible enough to allow them to set their own limit of how many people can arrive at any given time, and how long that arrival window is. 

    Arrival communication

    Organisers will need to allow for a few hiccups because people will inevitably arrive early or late, so they will need a system that will monitor attendees in real time, and enable communication with attendees who have yet to arrive. This could be a push message to the app, or a text message to their phone to tell them to delay entry whilst a bottleneck is being dealt with. Organisers can decide how ‘strict’ they want to be with attendees – they can scan people on arrival and only let them into the event within their allotted time slot, or allow some leeway. Either way, organisers are likely to have to be flexible with transport delays or risk upsetting attendees.

    Off-site registration

    It will be essential for delegates to pre-register so that organisers can manage numbers and attendance. Print-at-home badges will be a useful way of ensuring that delegates can walk straight into the venue and not have to linger at the entrance. Badges are still, in my opinion, a good tool to have for smaller events – they present less risk of contamination than supermarket goods and they are a very useful tool to ensure that everyone knows who everyone is – and to save the embarrassment of forgetting a distant colleague’s name. That said, if physical badges are an issue, some event apps can bring up a digital version of the badge quickly and easily.

    Timely Departures

    Event numbers are limited to 30 people, so organisers may need to cap the amount of time delegates can actually be at an event. Sending a polite reminder to delegates to remind them of this, and notify them that they only have 30 minutes of time left, can help an organiser to control numbers.

    RefTech is the company behind event management system EventReference.

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    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien