This week we hear from Lynne Coyne, CMP, CITP, Manager of Event Services at Intuitive Conferences + Events. She gives on overview of the SITE Week session on “On-Site Security”.
Meet our SITE Week Ideation Session Scribe:
Lynne Coyne has 15 years experience in the hospitality and meeting industry, including the last 13 years in corporate incentive event planning. Currently Lynne is the manager of event services with Intuitive Conferences + Events (I.C.E.), a boutique event planning firm in Canada. Lynne strives for excellence in all she does and has a passion for customer service.
Lynne has been heavily involved with SITE, spending a number of years on the SITE Canada board as Director of Chapter Meetings, Education and Sponsorship. She has also been a member of the certification committee for the CITP designation and Co-Chair of the 2019 and 2020 SITE Global Conferences.
As countries and states start to open back up to allow meetings and larger gatherings we as incentive travel professionals need to learn to navigate our new normal and figure out how to keep our staff and our attendees safe. Recently Dr. Jonathan Spiro of Inhouse Physicians shared with the SITE Global community his thoughts on this matter.
InHouse Physicians is a company based in the US that specializes in providing access to high quality medical care for attendees at corporate events and meetings. During this COVID-19 pandemic they have been providing support for essential businesses and are sharing with us their learnings.
Dr.Spiro talks to the challenges that we are currently facing as we look at the return of incentive travel which are:
1- Meetings are by nature high risk.
We are bringing large groups of people together from multiple communities and countries into small indoor spaces. We have learned from the COVID experience how quickly this virus can spread.
2- Lack of standards.
Many of the companies, countries and facilities are being left to their own devices to create their own processes. There is currently not a set standard for how to deal with sanitization, medical preparedness or testing procedures.
3- Attendee anxiety.
As we are still facing the unknown with the virus people are anxious about getting back to in person and travelling. Communication is key here to help alleviate this anxiety.
Health Security Strategy
The way to deal with these challenges is by the creation of a Health Security Strategy (HSS). Your companies should be looking at developing an HSS before designing in-person incentives so that this strategy can be ingrained and implemented at all interactions moving forward. A Health Security Strategy encompasses three components: Prevention, Detection and Response.
Prevention – How can we stop the spread of the virus?
- Personal Protection Equipment- masks, shields
- Social distancing
- Disinfection of all surfaces and areas
Detection – How can we protect those attending our events?
- Pre event health surveys
- Temperature checks
- COVID PCR Testing
Response- What happens when an attendee had COVID?
- Sick attendee policy
- Access to medical care
- Crisis management plan
The Issue of Personal Data
As we discussed in the session the current concern with all of these principals and tactics is the balance between the privacy of the attendees and the health security of all other attendees and staff at the event. With all the information gathering and testing carried out on attendees the question is raised what is being done with this information? Is it being housed somewhere post event and how secure is that information? The feedback from our session discussion is that the health and safety of the group is more important than the risk to personal privacy. However, this will change as these practices become the norm and it is better to keep privacy compliance to the forefront when creating new plans.
The Importance of Communication
One of the main things that we as incentive travel professionals can do is to communicate. As we have seen in the past, when dealing with major events and anxieties after national or global incidents, having a communication plan in place in advance will give your team and your attendees the confidence needed. We need to reassure attendees of what we are doing to help keep them safe and how we are going to prevent an outbreak, and if one does occur how are we going to deal with it.
As Dr.Spiro observed, we in the incentive, meeting and events industry are in a optimal position to help be a part of the solution. With our line of work and the meetings that we run, we can work with organizations and countries to help with contact tracing, sanitization protocols, data collection, and ideas for how to contain and stop the spread of this and other viruses.
So, what are the things that we can do now and as we ramp back up to in person meetings?
- Take a seat at the table. Be part of the conversation and the solution.
- Have a table talk exercise with all Stakeholders to walk through concerns, issues and plans.
- Focus on the facts and do not trivialize any questions.
- Communication is key to your team, attendees and the public. Have a plan!
- Remember – Prevention, Detection and Response.
- Boost immunity at your events through the use of food and beverage and sessions such as mediation.
The reality is that there will always be a crisis in one form or another. Pandemics unfortunately are here to stay. However, as we educate ourselves and develop plans we can be better prepared and minimize the risk in the future.
Written by Lynne Coyne
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SITE Week Ideation Session Series:
SITE Week saw SITE Global hosting 46 Ideation Sessions over the course of 2 days, 2 times zones, and catering to over 1500 registrations. The idea was simple – facilitated brain-storming to help us all prepare for the road ahead, collaborating through the sharing of thoughts, insights and perspectives from across the globe, while collaborating and celebrating the togetherness of the larger SITE community. A scribe attended each session, with the role of articulating of his/her thoughts into an informative article which would be a summation of their takeaways from the session.