The need nor the expectation for hard-earned recognition and reward goes away in the face of a global pandemic, which is why the organization remained committed to finding a way to maintain its decades-old sales incentive—a mainstay known for rewarding both employee and family for their collective effort and sacrifice throughout the year.
Assessing the Situation & Recommitting to Original Vision
Besides rewarding and recognizing its audience, the organization had subsequent and timely priorities: introduce newly appointed leadership and re-align on future vision. The event’s centralized Midwest location—drivable for most of the audience—coupled with a venue and program agenda rich with outdoor options created an ideal scenario for continuing as planned in a slightly different way.
After execution of an event risk assessment, weighing factors like destination-specific government guidelines, and in-depth consultation by ITA Group regarding financial impact, organization stakeholders decided to proceed ahead with heightened risk mitigation factors.
Frequent Communication & Stakeholder Alignment Created Pre-Travel Peace of Mind
Over the four-month period, stakeholders and ITA Group’s health risk mitigation practice task force met consistently to discuss attendee communication, hotel risk mitigation protocols and more, and review resources including attendee waivers, health screening surveys and on-site medical support.
Holistic, airtight oversight—through ITA Group’s daily interaction with the hotel partner, plus enhanced documentation and inclusions in planning materials, review of proactive measures and ongoing agenda modifications—positioned stakeholders to prepare executive leadership for a modified on-site experience.
Attendees received pre-travel communication that featured guidelines for healthy travel, the hotel’s COVID-19 policies, packing suggestions and information on what they could expect on site.
Diligently Mitigating Risk On Site
On-site event staff was comprehensively trained in health risk mitigation and emergency preparedness, and received ongoing guidance from ITA Group’s COVID-19 task force. Start to finish, and in total alignment with the hotel partner, event staff was prepared with proactive measures (including the following) to mitigate risk and create peace of mind.
- Face coverings worn by all event staff helped prevent potential spread of COVID-19.
- An outdoor hospitality desk on arrival day promoted socially distant staff/attendee interaction.
- Directional signage guided socially distant traffic patterns.
- Air recyclers ensured fresh indoor air flow.
- Minimal housekeeping services decreased guest room traffic.
- Plexiglass panels protected guests and food and beverage items in one-sided buffet lines.
- Extra staffing, especially during peak periods (e.g. mealtimes), ensured seamless traffic flow.
- Family-centric seating encouraged social distancing during organized functions.
- Hand sanitizer dispensers at every turn promoted constant sanitation measures for attendees, stakeholders, and event and hotel staff.
Delivering on Expectations & Ensuring Peace of Mind
Aligning with partners who share a vision and a relentless commitment to overcommunicating a modified approach positioned the organization to successfully operate a live program with enhanced health risk mitigation. The final product, with no date changes, no destination alterations and no accommodation/venue shifts, took into account varying comfort levels and perspectives in order to deliver on stakeholder and participant expectations while ensuring peace of mind.
Attendee Satisfaction Metrics
Attendees received a post-program survey electronically, and their feedback overwhelmingly proved the approach’s success.