After the financial crisis, many companies and sponsors have returned to the international events world with renewed enthusiasm, as evidenced by the increased volume, along with a whole new generation of offers from industry providers. Despite many internal, mature risk management processes, most international events still remain an Achilles heel when it comes to the health, safety and security of business travel.
Despite the fact that the event can be held outside the venue or outside the usual workplace, it still does not release a company from its usual duty of care or workplace health and safety obligations.
When it comes to international corporate events, meetings, incentives, conferences and gatherings, this is what every planner should know to ensure a successful, safe and secure event. In this article, you will learn the most important safety and security planning tips, starting with location, activities, emergency planning, monitoring and communication. At the end of this article, you have quick evaluation criteria and a consistent, secure approach to ensure that all your international business events run smoothly and avoid most avoidable incidents that otherwise ruin large gatherings and corporate events.
Too many planners jump to an ideal location and then try to force all solutions and planning solutions around this ideal destination. The best location must meet the requirements for an enjoyable, successful and functional site for all planned activities, but must also meet all support needs such as routine medical, reliable transportation, safe locations and safe environments. Any location that does not meet these initial criteria only reinforces the emergency and is likely to increase overall risk for all involved.
While the original venue is important, it is equally important to evaluate all activities required for the event and identify all social activities that will take place along with the event.
International corporate events
Business meetings, incentives, conferences and events can be high-activity situations, with many people coming and going with information exchange and opportunities to enjoy. Therefore, all proposed and possible activities should be considered and included in the final plan. This should include everything from arrival, reception; check-in, conference events, networking, social / entertainment, sightseeing, land transportation, shopping, internal travel and departments.
It is of utmost importance that all available activities in the chosen location are considered, not only those offered on the official program, as participants or accompanying partners / families always seek alternative options, with high potential for emergencies beyond traditional plans .
An often overlooked element is parallel or simultaneous events and activities. Other corporate functions, holidays, climate changes, religious festivals and even internal corporate events such as product launches or press releases should be considered and how they will impact the course of the event, along with any changed threats or contingency plans.
Only after all activities, internal and external to the event, have been identified and identified, can you proceed to the emergency management and planning phase.
Emergency planning first
This may seem counterintuitive, but in my experience it’s the much better approach. With a fixed location and a list of activities, you can now start creating broad and detailed emergency planning sessions. The reason this is a better approach is that you don’t want to discover areas late in the budget, promotion and management or confirmation cycles that require small or large treatment solutions. For example, if you discover that local medical services were routinely overwhelmed on weekends due to peak tourist activity at your chosen location, you should reconsider the location as a plausible option or include on-site medical support as part of your budget and risk mitigation solution. Especially if you consider the impact and support requirements in your schedule if you have a group emergency, such as food poisoning or a viewer collapse.
Now that an emergency support plan has been established, almost all of your routine issues and considerations are detailed. Spaces, transportation, messengers, communications, medical, security, service providers and much more will have been considered and prioritized in the planning phase and now await procurement and confirmation in a much more organized order by the planning team. These services and requirements in the emergency plan almost always have a routine and daily need anyway, and both cost savings and planning time can be significantly reduced.
No plan or assumption is ever one hundred percent accurate; therefore, a continuous monitoring and evaluation system is also mandatory to ensure success.
Change is inevitable, especially if your event was within reach and planned weeks or months in advance. Therefore, a reliable and effective system is required to identify and manage changes in accordance with the priority required for the changed outcome.
Dedicated systems and resources, often already in place as part of general event administration, should be harnessed to support the inevitable change management challenges. Timings, resources, weather, staff and services will all change in some form before or during your ideal plan. Clearly defined information requirements, lines of communication, prioritization of response and follow-up procedures must be in place and communicated to those affected or impacting the process. This should be supported with a suitable vehicle in which information such as email, SMS, radios, blogs, message boards and so on can be shared.
The more information you collect, the more you need to process, but the better you are informed when making routine and emergency decisions.
Information, information and more information
Plan to capture and access as much information as possible when managing successful corporate events. Too few planners and event managers appreciate or succeed in processing and successfully processing routine data that can dramatically improve the efficiency and productivity of an event, but can also be critical to emergencies.
Consider how to store and access information well in advance. The right information should be accessible to those who need it in the easiest way possible, and coordination and evaluation of all inputs should be continuous. Flight schedules, media events, meals, contact numbers, agendas, weather activities, emergency services, support resources, capabilities, response times, preparation time, costs, expertise and all other requirements must be pre-prepared, captured and managed during the event. All of this information shouldn’t die at the closing of the event, but provides a template for future events and even return options for routine and extraordinary business activities.
With all these preparations, it is almost criminal that too few people prepare their attendees sufficiently in advance with preparations for arrival.
Preparing for Arrival for More Business Events Safety and Security
With all the preparation and information activities to date, it remains illogical why so much is not shared with attendees and planners. A centralized amount of knowledge in which elements can be extracted to provide and prepare visitors is neither difficult nor indulgent.
Group arrival guides, information and important updates must be provided in a “readable” or “digestible” format for anyone likely to attend and support the event. This channel and focus group should be regularly updated with the most notable points until the completion of the event.
A more focused demography, such as organizers, supporters, families, technical staff, alternative language groups, men, new travelers / visitors, women and mixed national or cultural groups, should be isolated and communicated with more specific and relevant content. This isn’t just in the form of a general ‘goodies bag’ that seems to dominate many of these events and is rarely read or held by the majority of those in attendance. Any further segmentation, such as those with dietary restrictions, medical conditions, etc., should also be cared for and involved. Event providers and suppliers can learn a lot to distinguish themselves from the general market by offering this as part of the attraction and delivery offering. All this does not have to be the sole responsibility of the company present, but can be easily provided by the host institution / entity. Remember, this is also a two-way street, with many social media platforms available for fast and widespread distribution if visitors want to share their opinion, dissatisfaction or even during a crisis. Therefore, channel monitoring is also recommended.
Routine and ongoing updates should be available that can be easily changed to include priority / emergency updates as needed. Preliminary development and regular use of any communication platform will only increase the success and engagement of the event.
Communications for security of corporate events
Event planners and managers are almost spoiled for choice with the various means of communication and media. Message consolidation and consistency is the challenge, along with ensuring segmentation of both content and recipient. Facebook, YouTube, SMS, email, blog, website, and a host of other social media platforms are all viable means of two-way communication. Planners should have indicated in their emergency planning which local options, limitations or nuances prevail and what is the best or most reliable for the task.
Regular and enjoyable communication is never a burden, but frequent, irrelevant communication jeopardizes any emergency communication because users may have already turned down or blocked certain channels for abuse. This should also be collaborated with all aspects and planners of the event.
Like all the above elements, these systems do not work by themselves. They need supervision and constant management throughout the entire life cycle of the event and should not be turned off or on until the event is officially completed and all supervised attendees are safely on their way to their point of departure.
It is not the plans that are important, it is the planning. Continuous management and monitoring is a close second. All events, venues and activities require care and management to ensure that they come as close together as can be reasonably expected.
Continued management is a team event and does not depend only on one or two individuals. Succession planning and redundancies should have been identified in the emergency planning phase to avoid vulnerability when one or two key figures are temporarily or unavailable for long periods of time.
Each phase, action and even event must be assessed and analyzed for opportunities to improve the process or identify overlooked aspects.
When it comes to international corporate events, meetings, incentives, conferences and gatherings, these are the main health, safety and security points that every planner should know to ensure a successful, safe and secure event. You now have the most important safety and security planning tips, starting with location, activities, emergency planning, monitoring and communication. Use this as a reference and checklist to ensure you have an evaluation criterion and a consistent, secure approach to ensure that all your international business events run smoothly and avoid most avoidable incidents that otherwise ruin large gatherings and corporate events.