Kevin Dana is executive director of marketing and product development at CORT Trade Show & Event Furnishings, a leading provider of furniture rental for the meetings and exhibitions industry.
Designing Safe and Inventive Exhibition Spaces
Looking for way to keep your exhibit spaces inviting and warm, yet safely designed? With innovative designs, you can still create a beautiful space with safety and function top of mind. To successfully plan a safe environment, follow these tips:
Facilitate movement through design.
Promoting socialization while safely distancing will be an obstacle for planners, though not impossible. For good measure, limit the number of attendees on the floor with extended hours, timed entrances and personal appointments. Both physical and mental cues will help attendees flow through the trade booths and utilize designated seating. Incorporate dividers, planters and stanchions to enable social distancing and create semi-private spaces. Inside booths, be sure to designate one entry and one exit point to maximize flow. For a greater sense of safety, include plenty of hand sanitation stands and floor decals reminding attendees to practice social distancing.
The technological innovations and design adjustments we’ve seen over the last few months have been nothing short of amazing and have helped planners get back to business during COVID-19. The industry is temporarily focused on offering events with limited in-person attendees, in accordance with local guidelines, and more hybrid-style virtual attendees.
Therefore, it’s important to engage and interact with not only those in-person at the venue, but those joining virtually as well. To do so, integrate live chats and polls so those at home are able to actively participate. Pairing comfortable chairs with individual power will create a truly owned space for each attendee. Utilizing individual power hubs will ensure attendees remain in one seat for the entire event and reduce touches on multiple surfaces.
Every attendee will have a different comfort level, so it’s important to create a calming environment to ensure attendees feel safe and comfortable as we return to live events. Use greenery and airy drapes to enhance the look and create a warmer booth space.
“Entering an event space is very similar to entering a grocery store, except our industry has the benefit of being able to design every engagement as a controlled environment. We can control attendance, attendee flow and design for social distancing,” said Dan Steiner, vice president, Enterprise Risk Management, Freeman. “This may sound like a challenge, but our designers view it as an opportunity – both for creativity of design as well as integration of technology.”
When possible, provide seating arrangements, design layout and check-in policies well in advance of events to allow attendees to thoroughly review and prepare. With open and clear communication, attendees will feel your commitment to a safe environment.
Whether you’re looking for ways to create a warm environment, or embrace the hybrid-event trend, make your next event a unique and safe experience with these COVID-19 design tips.