There are a lot of unknowns when it comes to producing events in general, but especially in today’s day and age. Individuals are more and more concerned about the liabilities of hosting an event in a COVID-era. And while it’s happening successfully and safely around the globe, there are a few things that you can do to help mitigate risk for hybrid events and focus on overall event risk management for your organization.
Here are a few of our tips!
Ensure Your Hotel or Venue Contract is Solid
We’re heading back to in-person, friends! At least partially. And there are a lot of things to consider when negotiating venue contracts today for hybrid events. The biggest of which when it comes to risk management for hybrid events is ensuring that you have some flexibility when it comes to liability in your event contract. A few things you can do to help lessen your financial burden in the case you have fewer on-site attendees than you’d hoped for—or heaven forbid something happens, and you have to cancel, these clauses will help protect you. (*Note: We are not lawyers, and this is not official legal advice, this is just what we’ve learned through negotiating contracts throughout the pandemic and industry expertise.)
Whatever you do, don’t sign a hybrid event contract—for any vendor, venue, anything—without a force majeure clause that addresses the pandemic in some way, shape, or form. Plain and simple!
Attrition—For Rooms & F&B
Attendance for hybrid events is still a mystery to most organizations. It’s hard to predict what percentage of your attendees will be comfortable meeting in person. So, when you’re looking at your contract, try to negotiate your attrition liability. If they’re not willing to negotiate overall attrition, ask them to put a cut-off date, say 90-days before the event, where you’re able to decrease your room block or meeting space without liability.
Your event is dependent on the service levels at the hotel. And unfortunately, since the pandemic, hotels are all suffering from short staffing and decreased service levels. To ensure your on-site attendees are getting the experience you desire for them, outline in the contract which outlets must be available on-site and what you deem to be appropriate staffing levels for your hybrid event.
Since the pandemic, hotels and event venues have been increasing fees associated with hosting events in some cases. Be sure that you’re protecting yourself with a clause that states you’re not responsible for any fees not set out in the contract, and no costs will be increased without your prior written approval. Search for “event service fees” that are added on in addition to traditional service fees and taxes. It’s a new charge that will add up quickly if it’s not removed in the contracting phase!
Audio Visual Shadow Fees
The thing with hybrid events is that not every hotel or venue team has the audio-visual expertise to produce a flawless hybrid, live-streamed event. You may want to bring in external audio-visual experts to produce your hybrid event. But with that, will come fees on the venue side. Try to negotiate those out or lower them during the venue contracting phase.
Future Rebooking Clause
Should you have to cancel for any reason, it is helpful to have a future rebooking clause. While not every venue will accept this, it essentially says that a portion of the damages due for your event cancellation will be applied to a future event booked at the property within a specific timeframe. This way, if cancellation fees apply, they at least won’t be totally lost, reducing your overall financial liability.
Decide on Your On-Site Restrictions & Policies
Will you require masks?
Should all your attendees be vaccinated?
Maybe you’ll want to require on-site rapid tests for an extra layer of safety?
Perhaps everyone needs to sign a liability waiver?
Do you need to block enough meeting space for social distancing?
You need to ask all these questions to mitigate risk for hybrid events. Then, outline the answers in your registration information clearly and explicitly, with a plan to execute and enforce on-site.
Focus on Data Security
For your virtual attendees, while physical health and safety are not a concern, data security is. You must choose a trusted, legitimate event management platform to host your event. There are new platforms popping up every day, which is a scammer’s dream. Recruit an expert to help you decide which platform is right for the virtual portion of your hybrid event and ensure they have security features in place to protect your attendee’s data. Here’s a post we wrote about some of our favorites that may help.
Create a Plan B
While no one wants the pandemic to be an issue, it’s still lingering. Make sure you have a plan to turn your hybrid event into a virtual event in the rare chance that may happen. It’s always better to be prepared than scramble when the impossible happens!
What Are Your Hybrid Event Risks?
It’s important to remember that every event is different. There are different audiences, different locations, diverse venues. Each of those comes with a different type of risk. So what you need to do for each event is first meet to access your risk. It’s a simple process:
- What are your risks? Identify them.
- How might they impact your event? Analyze each one.
- How risky are they actually? Evaluate the impact or potential effect.
- How can reduce our risk? Plan for mitigation.
You got this! It’s time to meet again, and there are so many ways to do it safely when you learn how to mitigate risk for hybrid events.
Want Help Producing a Successful & Safe Hybrid Event? EBA Can Help.
At Eventistry by Alecia, we’re pros at all things events. And we are ready to help your team and business meet face-to-face again—whether that’s in-person or through the screen. Our skilled team of event professionals has experience planning events pre-COVID and during COVID, so we know how to help you mitigate risk for hybrid events—while also ensuring they’re super freaking successful! Let’s chat.