Back to MICE in the COVID-19 world
After months of total lockout, the MICE sector is gradually reopening in many countries. This is not only limited to countries that have suppressed COVID-19, but also many where the situation remains precarious as they are facing a second wave of infections.
Consensus is emerging that COVID-19 will remain with us, and the world must figure out how to live with it, at least until a vaccine is found. This may take months or even years. So the new standard is the "COVID-19 world" until we move on to a stable "post-covid world", probably not until 2022.
Even with regulatory barriers to the opening of facilities and borders removed, recovery will depend on consumers and businesses to have confidence that destinations and facilities are safe.
In the COVID-19 world, MICE events will be organized differently than in the past. While the recovery will differ from country to country, we can expect some common directions. More emphasis will be placed on smaller national events with higher demands on hygiene and social distancing, and on a higher level of virtual or hybrid events. The rigor of social distancing is easier to apply to fairs and exhibitions than to conferences. This suggests the organization of more exhibitions than conferences. Younger people are expected to travel first and travel will include nearby destinations.
Digitization and the flexibility of facilities will be very important. COVID-19 will significantly accelerate digital trends. The venues are expected to offer the option of hosting virtual and hybrid events with improved technology infrastructure and flexible venues.
Facilities located in safe locations, offering modern, flexible spaces and advanced technology, are likely to be more attractive for large-scale international events.
Other notable trends include:
New certificates, accreditations and quality standards in the field of hygiene
Virtual tours or site inspections at facilities
Thermal scanning / Temperature controls and other tests
Contactless registration and staggered registration to prevent overflow
Flexible room and seating configurations to maintain social distance
Monitoring and crowd control in high-density areas within the premises
Electrostatic sprayers for disinfecting surfaces in halls and public spaces
Automatic self-cleaning machines for stairs
Disinfecting furniture and equipment after each use
Improved air filtration systems for the ventilation of facilities
Regulations regarding the rules of isolation and tracing contacts after positive COVID-19 tests
Preferring à la carte and boxed lunches over buffets
New contract issues, as organizers look for flexible cancellation conditions while facilities look for stricter conditions to protect their own exposure
More emphasis on contingency planning and crisis management.