It’s no secret that 2020 has been a challenging year. During these ever-changing times, it’s crucial for businesses across all industries to make changes to adapt to the current environment. Here in The Woodlands, we’re working together to continue to provide safe and memorable experiences for our visitors, attendees, and meeting planners as they begin to travel once again. Using the following five important tips, help your business provide the best experience at your next meeting.

1. GET ASSISTANCE TO FIND THE PERFECT VENUE TO MEET YOUR NEEDS

As COVID-19 has changed the processes for almost all industries, meeting planners have new requirements for hosting events in both indoor and outdoor venues. With social distancing measures in place, larger settings or multiple rooms may be required, while limiting capacity and maintaining clean and safe areas for everyone. Here in The Woodlands, we’re home to 14 dynamic hotel properties and over 160,000 square feet of meeting space. Our options range from outdoor venues to hotels that provide you the opportunity to have both meetings and accommodations booked on the same premise. As safety is the first priority, make sure to schedule a walk through (or two) and identify ways to limit touch points, separate chairs, and promote safety by providing masks or sanitation stations. If you’re looking for assistance to help find the perfect fit for your needs, feel free to reach out to our team at Visit The Woodlands. 

The Waterway Marriott Meetings

Magnolia Meeting Room at The Woodlands Resort

2. ENSURE YOUR ATTENDEES ARE UP TO DATE ON YOUR EFFORTS

There are many conversations happening right now as people turn to digital sources and social media platforms to share and obtain information. As we know, social media is one of the most effective ways to reach a wide audience with your messaging. Whether your active platform is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn, make the time to plan posts and share relevant updates to your channel often. As state mandates change and events proceed with additional safety measures in place, consistent communication will help prepare people ahead of your event. Another way to stay connected with your audience is through email. Encourage attendees to sign up for your e-newsletter and provide valuable resources and inside information leading up to the big day. For the most real-time updates, you can leverage SMS to reach attendees quickly and directly on their cell phone. Mobile pushes would be most beneficial for the day-of the event to text important matters that need to be received immediately. For additional exposure and sharing information with your attendees, work with Visit The Woodlands on personalized web pages, social media posts, press releases, and additional resources that we can execute on your behalf. 

3. LEVERAGE MEETING RESOURCES AND SERVICES TO BOOST ATTENDANCE

One big way to assist your attendees is to provide online and in-person resources that detail new procedures, policies, and important information and announcements. To help event planners, we pulled together Hotel Safety Measures and Event Planning Tips as our hotel properties are prepared and committed to cleanliness when you visit The Woodlands. If you are looking to increase event attendance, we recommend providing ideas for conference attendees and their family or friends that may be traveling with them. Visitor Information Centers are also a great place to direct people for additional information on the area. For example, the Visitor Information Center at Market Street in The Woodlands offers a variety of services and assistance to our visitors. Guests are able to call or walkup for directional assistance, entertainment options, or even to set up a dinner reservation. This concierge-level service is much appreciated by attendees as they choose to explore the area after their meetings. If you need an onsite helping hand, check in with Visit The Woodlands and ask about a personalized welcome booth for your event. This allows you to have an insightful local advocate available to help your attendees get the most out of their time in The Woodlands. 

Private Room inside Sorriso at The Westin

4. HELP YOUR ATTENDEES ADJUST TO THE CURRENT ENVIRONMENT

Many people, including event attendees, are more cautious about traveling and are looking for confirmation that safety precautions are being taken wherever they go. Make sure this is communicated clearly and appoint a member of your conference or meeting team available to answer any questions as they arise. Think about setting up a contact page or email address to connect directly with your attendees. To boost attendance, consider incentives by pushing special offers, deals and discounts for post-meeting outings. As budgets may be tighter, evaluate ways you can make things more affordable for your gathering. For example, The Woodlands has a Show Your Badge Program where conference attendees can receive special offers at local restaurants, shops and attractions by showing off their badge. 

5. ENSURE THE PROPER SAFETY MEASURES ARE IN PLACE TO GIVE YOUR ATTENDEES PEACE OF MIND

Taking proper precautions is required to ensure a safe environment for your event attendees. Determine how much signage your event will need to help encourage social distancing and wearing face coverings. In addition to signage, more safety measures will need to be taken. With consideration of your budget, explore ways to limit person-to-person contact through hands-free check-in. Make sure to connect with your hotel contact to see what health measures they are already taking, and how they plan to reach these new heights of sanitation and safety. Is your hotel checking employees temperatures before work? Have they eliminated buffet style meals? Are they enforcing masks and gloves for employees? These are all important questions to ask in an effort to be as prepared as possible. In addition, we recommend implementing enhanced cleaning operations and informing attendees through signage and online communications the steps that are being taken to give attendees peace of mind. Also, make sure to check in with your contact at Visit The Woodlands to receive information on what local restaurants, shops, and attractions are doing to keep your attendees safe while out and about. 

As you navigate the new normal of hosting events, Visit The Woodlands is here to help each step of the way. Set new guidelines, do your research, and you’ll be on your way to providing safe and impeccable service for your next event. Contact us now for assistance or download our Meeting Planners Guide for inspiration.