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Event Marketing Partners – Client Advisory Coronavirus Consequences on Client Events & Attendance

Event Marketing Partners (EMP) recognizes the unsettling impact the Coronavirus has created and felt throughout world. Our sympathy goes to all those affected within our industry both professionally and personally.

What is it?

The Coronavirus, an outbreak of a potentially fatal respiratory illness started in China, with confirmed cases identified in global locations, including North America and Europe. It is an active outbreak that has not been officially contained; some cities in China are under quarantine. Those within our event industry are looking for answers and need to stay on top of the latest information on the potential spread of this virus and the implications to their imminent event and travel calendar.

What is the current situation?

This state of affairs involves many implications affecting both personal and business decisions regarding traveling to do our jobs. We expect many companies to reassess their event participation and attendance in the coming months. Some decisions may be made easier for us with cancelled events. It still remains uncertain how easy it is to contract the Coronavirus from another infected individual, so many are taking precautions. Some companies are cancelling or postponing their in-house meetings and external conference participation. Be sure to review any contracts regarding cancellation clauses and don’t be afraid to have a conversation with the contract holder.

Exhibiting or attending an upcoming event?

EMP recommends the following precautions:

  • Individuals who are unwell should not attend. They should avoid public spaces and contact with others, and instead seek medical attention. Any staff or participant who becomes unwell during an event should leave immediately to seek appropriate medical attention.
  • Individuals placed on Leave of Absence (LOA) should not attend events. They are strongly advised to remain at home and minimize their time spent in public spaces.
  • Individuals with recent travel history to mainland China, in particular Hubei province, should not attend.
  • Individuals should remain vigilant and practice good personal hygiene, such as washing their hands regularly, at all times.

Considering cancelling participation at an upcoming event?

Review your cost and the business implications of the cancellation.  Analyze the associated costs, including your sponsorship/booth, meeting space, hotel blocks, travel, food/beverage and related vendors. Where appropriate, try to negotiate with vendors to avoid fees related to this “act of God” circumstance and request a free cancellation or postpone your commitment to a later date.

Once you have connected with all of the various event sectors, assess and arrive at the “best” business solution for your company.

Organizing an upcoming event?

EMP recommends event organizers consider the following measures to further mitigate the potential risk of disease transmission during their events:

  • Prominently display notices at entrances to your event, and during both pre- and onsite registration remind participants not to attend the event if they are unwell, placed on LOA, or have recent travel history to mainland China, in particular Hubei province, within the last 20 days.
  • Deny entry to staff and participants who are unwell with fever or respiratory symptoms such as cough or shortness of breath, individuals on LOA, and individuals with recent travel history to mainland China, in particular Hubei province, within the last 20 days.
  • Maintain a registration list of participants and their home country.
  • Ensure that event venues are ventilated and are adequately equipped with an appropriate number of restroom facilities.
  • Increase the frequency of the cleaning of commonly used areas, such as restrooms, registration/payment counters and dining areas.
  • Additional recommendations:
    • Offer use of single-use items like bottled water
    • Offer additional hand sanitizer stations
    • Post in-restroom signage detailing careful hand washing techniques
    • Implement temperature screening
    • Increase onsite medical support/availability
    • Create an awareness campaign both online and onsite
    • Awareness and training to all event staff on standard personal preventative measures including personal hygiene, frequency of use of sanitizing/disinfection products, etc.
    • Provide advice to exhibitors on implementing effective cleaning and disinfection of booths and meeting rooms
    • Provide public health guidelines and advice communication to all event hotels, public and private transport, restaurants and catering outlets, retail, etc.
    • Implement a microphone disinfecting and change protocol for all speaker sessions
    • Advise all attendees to adopt a “no-handshake policy”
    • Provide a 24-hour telephone Security and Medical service for all attendees. Include phone number on all badge holders, in the event App and on signage around the venue

Moving forward…

Event Marketing Partners will continue to monitor this volatile situation from a global perspective and advise our clients accordingly. Please don’t hesitate to connect with your EMP Client Services lead with any questions or to discuss your options with any related issues. EMP will continue to partner with you to reduce your risk and cost while doing our best to protect your personal and company well-being.

Best regards and safe travels,

Gordon Stake, Managing Partner
Event Marketing Partners, LLC
Office: 732 927 2450

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