Yesterday there was a kick off event in Offenbach, near Frankfurt (Germany), that demonstrated the German event industry coming together to show an example event for 100 people that looked great, had atmosphere and can give clients an idea of what an event can look like from this point onwards.
The event is called Back to Live and is actually on for the next two weeks. So if you are in the area, get in contact with them (they do 100 guests a day incl. tours) and have them show you around.
The live stream that happened yesterday (9th of June) was all in German, however it gave a quick tour of the space and what ideas were implemented. It is a crass change from the Sample event that I posted about a couple of weeks ago, which was also the catalyst to showing how an event can be done properly. More in the eyes of clients than in the eyes of the cities and Governments, but still with their approval and medical examination.
This event was set up in about 2 weeks and all suppliers, and contributors supported this event free of charge. "Once people knew this was happening, we kept getting calls from people wanting to get involved".
The event is based on the FAMAB study down by their Research Institute for Exhibition and Live-Communication. The english translation for this is below. A really interesting read, especially since the UFI took several elements from this study to base their own papers on.
I took some screenshots during the live stream, however the video will be available on Youtube at some point in time.
First of all they introduced a one way delegate flow, that ensured that guests weren't crossing paths.
Guests had to sign different forms, saying that they would abide by the rules, that their data was kept etc.
There were some areas were masks were essential, such as the cloakroom, where everyone hung their own clothing onto rails, which were in terms separated by individual panels. Fairly doable with 100 people.
The other place were masks were a must was the restrooms. Basically any space were upholding the minimum distance wasn't possible.
They made sure that spaces still felt welcoming, but that distances were still kept. Obviously with such an event being fairly unique at this point in time, they did iron out some kinks. For example at some point the music was too loud, people were coming closer to be able to understand each other and hence they turned the music down in order to reinstate the required distances.
Furthermore they applied little gimmicks to make the whole "keep your distance" scenario interesting and less of an ordeal. They had a 1.5m stick that people would walk around and remind people what the distance was. (I saw it being used on stage).
They split off zones in between different meeting areas with simple screens and wall dividers.
Furthermore they used screens and a traffic light system to show you whether a space still had room and could be accessed (green light) or whether it was full and hence the delegate would need to go somewhere else (red light).
They also showed a dance floor scenario, where circles demonstrated where delegates could dance and spend their time, while still keeping their distance to the other participants.
Basically all food is prepared in glasses that are sealed and cooked in sous vide, as an entire meal, so that when the customers receives it, they have the security that the food hasn't been contaminated due to the "pop" of the glas, without loosing anything in terms of the quality and taste of food.
There was also an interview with this caterer, and what they said was most tricky was adapting their logistics, however the food never lost in terms of quality or taste.
Finally (in terms of my screenshots) this was their panel discussion, with the chairs clearly separated, the host keeping his distance and making sure paths up to the stage were never crossed, and when speakers came in and were standing, they had marks that they needed to keep to.
When it came to their Q&A session, they had one assistant (wearing a mask) walk to the person asking the question, receive it and then the assistant would restate the question into the microphone.
The delegates too were spread out on individual chairs in the keynote room, and all had little safe zones around their chairs in which they could sit and take in the keynote.
In the below panel session they even had a medical professional / virologist on their panel that supported the event in their planning and made sure that everything was as safe as possible to progress.
They also had two clients from the banking sector (from their events departments) come onto the stage and talk about their experience of the day and what their sentiments were. They thought that the idea of going to an event and seeing for themselves what could be done reassuring and also promising in terms of the solutions they could go back to their bosses with to demonstrate why meeting in person is so important. Both felt that now was the time to be proactive and show solutions as opposed to waiting for things to be prescribed and demanded. Everyone is bored by constant zoom meetings, and now more than ever needs to meet with other humans face to face to make these lasting relationships.
Overall a really great idea and something that I think we here in the UK should think about pursuing to bring back confidence in our clients that we as professionals know what we are doing and can be trusted with their events.