Over the last two months I've had a client host two meetings "in the bubble." This was the safest way for the company to gather, in person, and still get business done. Doing a meeting or conference "in the bubble" is logistically challenging at first, however, easy after done one time. Once it's done once, a model can be replicated each time. Below are some tips/tricks my client and hotel used for their meetings "in the bubble".
Why did we do a meeting in the bubble? The reason for these two "bubble meetings" was because vendors and sales people needed to get together, in person, to touch/feel products that were being sold. Demos of the products needed to be done live and in person. A virtual platform could not deliver the experience needed since usage of the product required understanding specific elements of the product. If the company was going to engage with their vendors, it needed to be in person.
What was the timeline? Guests arrived between Sunday night and Monday afternoon for an early Monday evening start time. Once guests arrived to the hotel they were quarantined to their rooms until they were able to be Covid tested. The client provided rapid Covid testing, on site. Once the attendee was Covid tested they were given a colored wrist band that indicated they were "safe." Once they were "safe", they were permitted to move about the hotel freely for the remaining two days of the meeting. Once they were declared "safe," they were not aloud to leave the hotel.
They had to stay "in the bubble."
We blocked off the entire floor of meeting space for just the client. No other meeting was booked on that floor. Only staff and the attendees were permitted access to the meeting floor.
We staggered testing times. To avoid people congregating in the testing area, guests were given staggered times to be tested & wait for their results. This prevented long lines and unnecessary close gathering.
Once everyone cleared, it was time for the opening reception. The opening reception was held outside, and was socially distanced. The type of food and beverage packaging used were individual served desserts in mason jars and small plastic "shot glasses." Bento boxes for larger meals were used and mini "to go" boxes for salads.
Operationally we had to make some changes to the hotel needs as well:
Since everyone is coming in early and locals are overnighting we had to increase the hotel block on Sunday/Monday/Tuesday night. Luckily, the hotel was available.
Since guests are not permitted to leave the hotel bubble once they were there, we had to be sure operationally that all the restaurants, markets and bars are open with full staff Sunday afternoon to Wednesday evening. Many hotels are not running their food and beverage outlets at full capacity/staffing/menus. Since guests will be there 3 full days, we worked with the hotel on having full menus, staff and hours available to our guests.
Covid testing turned into Covid "safe" room. We added a separate Covid testing room for the pre and post tests. That room will also serve as a safety room if anyone felt sick or had symptoms. Temperature checks were done in that room along with pre entry to each meeting.
Both meetings occurred in October and November. The first group was 180 people. The second group was 30 people. No Covid 19 cases were reported and the "bubble" meeting was a great success.
This is proof that a meeting, in person, can happen. If you have to have a meeting for business purposes and the content of that meeting is essential, as this meeting was, it can happen safely.
If you have any questions about how to do a meeting during Covid or a meeting "in the bubble", I will help you design the meeting and collaborate with the hotel to activate their safety protocols. This is the 5th meeting I've done from September through December where no Covid cases were reported and strict logistics were followed to keep everyone safe. It can happen, but must follow specific plans to keep all attendees safe. I am here to help. firstname.lastname@example.org