5 things that are making events safer in 2022.

A women looking at thought bubbles of people wearing masks, social distancing, and cleaning.

A full year of in-person events is right around the corner, including major gatherings such as SXSW and Coachella. 

But what’s really going behind the scenes to keep everyone safe and healthy at events right now? Also, how much has event safety changed since just last year? Spoiler alert: A lot! Every day new event tech and safety strategies are popping up and catching our eye. So to keep you up to speed, these are our top 5 event safety updates of 2022 (so far).

GIF of man saying "cate to join me for a nasal swab?"

Are rapid tests are here to stay?

CES 2022 supplied each attendee with two rapid tests when they received their badge. This not only allowed attendees to test themselves when convenient, but it also made it easier for the entire CES community to stay safe. 

Buying thousands of tests may seem like a big investment, but we are happy to report that rapid tests are actually available for free right now through the USPS. Attendees can order a free test, then take it at home, when traveling, or at any time attending an event. This is a huge improvement in convenience compared to testing in 2021. 

The CDC has also shortened its recommended isolation period after testing positive to 5 days (with or without symptoms). And if symptoms were present, 5 days plus 24hrs after a fever. Read the full guidelines here

Rapid testing, combined with shorter periods of quarantine and isolation, should give attendees more freedom to attend in-person and hybrid events in 2022. 

Pro Tip: Consider reaching out to a rapid-test maker for sponsorship (Abbott actually donated thousands of tests to CES). The test maker will get free marketing, and your event gets improved safety. It’s a win-win for everyone.

4 people jumping in the air in front of Bowling Green Subway Station in New York City.

Safe venues and safe transportation are key.

GBAC Star, the Global Biorisk Advisory Council Facility Accreditation, is a top-tier safety certification that’s been given to venues such as Wrigley Field, Las Vegas Convention Center, and now the MTA

We find this important because it means that not only are venues achieving high marks for safety, but the city transit taking attendees to events is now just as safe. Rideshares can get expensive and are inconsistent, so it’s nice to know that attendees can hop on public transit and enjoy the same safety as at their hotel and venue.

For organizers, accreditations like GBAC Star can make venue safety will be one less thing to worry about, and you can focus on getting attendees excited about your event. 

GIF of Expo Pass Lead Retrieval being used on an attendees badge.

Opt for contactless hospitality. 

For the last two years pretty much every segment of the hospitality industry has been perfecting contactless experiences. From Hilton CleanStay, to Sonesta Stay Safe, everyone has a plan to do more with less in-person interactions.

At Expo, we’ve actually been perfecting low-touch check-in and badge printing, as well as a way for exhibitors to collect contact info just by scanning the QR code of an attendee’s badges. It’s simple, safe, and even eliminates the need to collect contact info and cards. Which can be a whole job in itself! 

This may sound like we are losing the human interaction of hospitality, but low touch experiences are really all about helping people feel more comfortable connecting. When attendees can print a badge in seconds, or safely gather info of a new potential customer, that’s the hospitality they will remember in 2022. 

GIF of woman saying "I feel like I can communicate with you with simply a look" to her friend.

Communication makes everything easier.

A recent Forbes article outlined all the ways that communication can keep attendees safer and more excited about your event. 

A big point that stuck with us here was that communication with attendees is not a “one-way” street. Organizers need to make sure they are getting feedback and asking questions about the safety procedures they are planning. 

If attendees are unsure about a certain safety requirement, you’ll want to know about that as soon as possible to help explain further or provide different options. 

Things are changing still, and the new normal we hoped for may not be what we expected. The best way to keep events on track is to have an open dialogue about what people are comfortable with. 

This communication can also be a great way to break the ice with potential attendees and get more social engagement going. When safety is part of your brand, everyone will be a little more relaxed meeting in person. Which it’s what it’s all about these days.

Link covid-19 testing solution app on phone screen.

Create a plan that works for your event.

Every upcoming event will need a slightly different plan to keep attendees safe and healthy. 

If attendees are traveling long distances, you may want to encourage them to take a rapid test before they leave (to prevent testing positive when they arrive). For local events, an on-site test may be the way to go. 

This is a good time to mention apps like CLEAR Health Pass and LINK Pass – both can be used for major in-person events, and can securely track attendees’ vaccine and testing information. This kind of technology can save tons of time on health checks. 

Masks, social distancing, and everything related to how we meet face-to-face depend on your specific event needs. If an event is outdoors, attendees can connect with less restrictions. Depending on local and state guidelines, and the size of your event, attendees may even be able to go mask-free both indoors and outdoors. 

Bottom line, the right plan is the one that works best for your event.

Event safety is moving in the right direction.

Compared to 2021, we have many more tools and strategies that are proven to keep people safe when meeting in person. 

Rapid tests are free and widely available, and bring instant info to attendees and organizers. Health accreditations have expanded to major city transit lines. And constant communication with attendees about any safety changes is both a good strategy and good marketing. It’s been a slow process, but we’re happy to see things moving in the right direction!

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