A Practical Approach to COVID-19 Testing

As 2021 rolls on and efforts to vaccinate the most vulnerable accelerate, confidence in resuming in-person meetings increases. According to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 190 million vaccines have been administered in the United States with increases made daily.   Without a doubt, this helps fuel planners’ confidence in resuming meetings.  In fact, i-Meet’s latest Planner Confidence Index reflects this notion as nearly 75% of respondents anticipate resuming face to face meetings in 2021.  This begs the obvious question… how do we keep our attendees safe when meeting face to face? COVID-19 testing for guests can help ensure the safety and wellbeing of all.

Fortunately for meeting planners, numerous hospitality partners have initiated programs to facilitate onsite and advanced testing. Hotel chains including Hilton, Marriott and Accor each have specific testing resources available as part of expanded health and safety initiatives.

As part of Hilton’s EventReady with Clean Stay program, planners gain access to a listing of onsite testing and health screening third-party providers with each event booking.

A handful of Marriott hotels are offering COVID-19 testing and related health protocol options as part of its expanded Connect with Confidence program.

Accor is offering meeting and event groups access to advance testing kits and onsite COVID-19 rapid testing at all properties following the launch of its All Safe and All Meet Well initiatives.

Testing will require additional logistical considerations and expense. Once a testing protocol is selected, a plan of action for positive test results must be determined. Consider partial or full refund of any registration fees paid. Ask your hotel partners to waive individual cancellation fees and attrition tracking if a guest must leave due to testing positive.  Above all, remain calm and take the necessary steps to uphold safety standards. More likely than not, a person testing positive for COVID-19 will appreciate an empathetic response from event organizers and facilitators. If administering a rapid test prior to event entry, consider daily health screenings each subsequent day for multi-day programs. Screenings may consist of a health questionnaire and temperature checks.

As progress combating the spread of the disease is gained, onsite and advance testing options, procedures and pricing will change. Commit to remaining educated and informed by working closely with your vendors and hotel partners. Onsite and advanced COVID-19 testing can ease anxieties and allow your attendees to focus on meeting and networking face to face.

Amanda

Amanda brings nearly fifteen years’ experience in the meetings and events industry giving her significant working knowledge in event management plus unparalleled experience servicing and maintaining a strategic meetings management program. During her time in the industry, her responsibilities have ranged from logistical planning for corporate business meetings and high level advisory boards to managing the site selection process for both corporate and association clients. She has sourced a variety of programs, including incentives, roadshows, international meetings and citywide conventions.  She holds a Master of Business Administration from St. Joseph’s University and contributes to industry-specific pieces for i-Meet, the online business community for people who plan meetings and events  

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