By Sydnie Jones

Media events have always been an exciting way for brands to engage with journalists and influencers. Howevver, the pandemic has made in person media engagement a challenge. With the rise in vaccine rates, more options have become available for brand hosted events. Here are 4 things we have learned about planning media events during this unprecedented time.

Look Into Hotel Accommodations Early

A critical element of planning a media event is arranging accommodations for attending media. To limit guest exposure to COVID-19, hotels have reduced capacity. This effectively reduces the number of available rooms. Like hotels, restaurants have also limited their capacity to comply with state and county mandates. With these measures in place, we recommend book ingyour venue/rooms as early as possible, particularly for larger groups.

Be Keenly Aware of City and State Mandates and Restrictions

We have all experienced the excitement of restaurant re-openings and events, that were previously cancelled, being rescheduled. And then, in the blink of an eye, the mandates change, forcing venues to close and events to be rescheduled yet again. COVID-19 waves are now a fact of life and as they continue, we need to react accordingly.

As event coordinators, it is our responsibility to relay COVID-19 related information in a swift and direct manor. State and city mandates requiring masks and occupancy limits can potentially change overnight. Ongoing communication and coordination with your guestS and the venue, transportation provider, and/or restaurants, are imperative to make sure guests are safe while attending your event. In some cases, state and local mandates may change and not allow your event to take place at all. In anticipation of this dynamic climate, make sure your hotel, venues and transportation providers have cancelation policies that account for any sudden change in local law. Make sure your attendees are familiar with your hotel cancelation policy in the event of an unanticipated change. Read the fine print on all of your  contracts in order to reduce the financial liability of your client.

Know Your Media Guests’ Preferences

Inform your guests of updated destination city mandates, as in many cases they may be unfamiliar. Depending on where your guests are coming from, confirm their vaccination status aligns with destination city laws. Some guests may prefer extra dining or transportation precautions. In these instances, plan for separate transportation for those who do not feel comfortable traveling with the group. You may also want to provide alternative itineraries for those who only choose to attend segments of your event to limit their exposure to COVID-19.

Take Additional Precautions Where Necessary

A supply bag containing masks, hand sanitizer, tissues and other essentials can be extremely helpful in limiting the transmission of COVID-19. As organizers, we are only as effective as our safety precautions. It is better to take extra precautions to ensure your guests can safely enjoy your event.