HBAA launches campaign to kick-start meetings

By Bev Fearis, published 21/10/20

The HBAA has launched a campaign to stop confusion over meetings and events guidelines and help kick-start the sector.

The ‘Meet Safe, Meet Smart 30’ campaign was created after a survey revealed a lack of confidence in and a lack of understanding about the Government’s rules.

The research revealed many planners are confused about the number of delegates allowed to attend meetings in England – currently 30 – which is stopping them from having the confidence to book and organise events.

The survey’s 40 respondents, of which 38% were from the corporate sector; 31% from charities and 31% from a mixture of Government, Association and Education organisations, expressed continued worries over safety. In total, 71% had concerns over employee and delegate safety.

Some 65% stated they would only run online meetings and events in the foreseeable future.

Almost all of the other respondents said they will organise virtual or hybrid events and will leave it to the delegates themselves to decide whether to attend in-person or online.

As well as communicating and supporting regulations, the campaign will highlight the level of safety and flexibility of contractual terms and conditions at all venues involved.

Guy Mason, Managing Director of Brief2Event, said: “The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has decimated the business meetings and events industry in an unimaginable way. The confusion in the marketplace regarding permitted numbers is stopping planners from having the confidence to even contemplate any sort of meeting or event.

“Venues, organisers, delegates and councils all need to know permitted delegate numbers as soon as guidance is announced or changes. Daily we are arguing with venues that are given false information from local councils regarding numbers of delegates.

“With more than 70% of all meetings being for 30 delegates or less, clarity is essential. This HBAA campaign is leading the way to rectify perceptions and get the industry back up and running.”

Juliet Price, Consultant Executive Director HBAA, said: “It is clear from our survey that there is a long way to go in terms of customers understanding and appreciating how compliant the vast majority venues really are when it comes to Covid-19 protocols and also that the current government guidance supports off-site meetings for up to 30 people.

“There are many reasons why meeting in person is absolutely essential, from productivity to creativity, to positive mental health. However, we completely appreciate and acknowledge that that we must follow the government guidelines, which are subject to rapid change, aligned to infection rates.

“Our industry must continue to unite to build customer confidence in resuming booking and attending small live business meetings, as these will pave the way for the eventual return of safe and secure larger live events in the future.”