As the meetings and convention industry begins to plan for reopening, initiatives are popping up to keep attendees from catching or spreading the coronavirus. Almost every hotel chain has announced new cleanliness protocols, and organizations are weighing in with various ideas for how to keep exhibit halls safe, how food and beverage processes need to change, how session seating can evolve, and many other issues. It’s a lot to sort through, and the Events Industry Council has created a new task force to do just that.
EIC’s 44-member APEX COVID-19 Business Recovery Task Force plans to develop “a roadmap to accepted practices” for restarting the meetings industry, said Michael Dominguez, president and CEO of Associated Luxury Hotels International, who is co-chairing the group with Kristin Horstman, senior director, strategic events at Salesforce. Members include industry association leadership; meeting professionals from corporations, associations, and third-party planning companies; hotels; destination marketing organizations; and more.
“We are seeing a number of comprehensive industrywide efforts focused on developing standards to ensure the safety and wellness of attendees, as well as the duty of care protocols essential to reinforce attendee confidence in attending live business events,” said Paul Van Deventer, chair of the Events Industry Council. “The work of this task force is crucial to curate those efforts and present them in a comprehensive way that translates into practical solutions for professionals across our eco-system.”
In addition to providing guidance on accepted practices for reopening the industry, the task force is also charged with examining long-term issues around the stability and relevance of the industry. “Together we will positively impact our recovery,” said task force member Amy Calvert, CEO of the EIC. “We will offer our collective leadership … and leverage this moment to transform so that our industry is better understood, supported, and relevant now and into the future.”