As event professionals and destinations adjust, adapt and evolve in these uncharted waters, it is imperative that substantial resources be put in place for all of the people responsible for planning and executing trade shows, expositions and conventions. An example is Mohegan Sun, which built an industry-leading, COVID-19 Resource Center with a combination of pictures from recently held successful events (the property reopened on May 1, 2020) along with several widely available and informative documents, such as an evolving operational framework:
Understanding the Safety Resources You Need
The backbone of any trade show or meeting-specific safety protocol is the overall safety plan. https://mohegansun.com/content/dam/mohegansun/PDF/Misc/MSCT-safety-operational-plan.pdf
Convention centers, resorts and hotels are incredibly expansive; so, the logistics of closing and reopening effectively are a major undertaking with myriad considerations. In the case of a Tribal Nation, by being located on a reservation, the resort has access to the resources of the Tribal Government, which includes an established health department. Here, the knowledge and guidance of the health department, which has worked in conjunction with state and federal health organizations throughout its history, are the foundation in establishing safety guidelines and protocols.
The Power of Partnerships
Mohegan Sun’s 10,000-seat Arena regularly hosts global acts, from Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z to Bruce Springsteen and Dave Matthews Band, not to mention various professional and college sporting events. This high-profile venue pivoted at the height of the pandemic to leverage existing relationships with sports partners in order to operate bubble residencies for both Bellator MMA and SHOWTIME Boxing for each promoter’s string of nationally televised fights. The original time frame of the residency was mid-July through late September 2020.
The ViacomCBS team was so pleased with the facility’s safety protocols that they extended the residency into 2021. The successful execution of these residencies allowed Mohegan Sun to attract incredible opportunities in both entertainment and meetings and conventions capacities, and it has also allowed the resort a platform in which to boost its public relations and marketing messaging by informing audiences of these successes.
The key is to be flexible and to adapt when forces largely out of our control are presented.