Hosting virtual events and webinars was the norm throughout 2020. They proved their worth immensely as we realized we needed inventive ways of communicating using tech, being the social creatures that we are.
Yet halfway into 2021, we're seeing a newer norm taking center stage in the events industry.
With more and more live events marking calendar dates as things get back to "normal," marketers, event planners, and hospitality event organizers are meeting in the middle in how events are hosted to cater to both physical and virtual audiences.
These "hybrid events" are increasing in popularity worldwide as Covid cases trend downwards, yet the idea isn't really that new.
Hybrid events allow people to attend events in person, virtually if they couldn't make it, and organizers can host as many virtual attendees if they wish online.
They're becoming part of the event planning strategy during this "new normal," but pre-pandemic, hosting an in-person event with a virtual audience was just called "live streaming." What separates hybrid events from live streaming events is that the online audience is now an interactive participant versus a viewer.
As we transition back to hosting and attending entirely in-person or hybrid events, trade shows, and even concerts, there are some challenges event planners and organizers face. Such as how to master attendee engagement and even budgeting for future events post-pandemic.
And then, given what we learned in 2020, what should event organizers do to design and facilitate safer and risk-free in-person experiences?
Right now, there's a fundamental shift happening in the events industry. Event coordinators now have to turn their attention and listen to their audience and future audiences' needs. They want flexibility in how they attend events, outlined safety and compliance guidelines, and knowing that their wellbeing was in mind by the event organizers.
Well, three-channel partners: SafeAccess, Virsitour, and Germinator, have aligned themselves to provide end-to-end solutions and services with these challenges and concerns in mind.
We're reshaping how events are sourced, planned and executed using virtual and AI-driven solutions fused by proven methods that keep us protected from the surfaces we touch, the air that we breathe, and even our own bodies.
The Future of Planning Events
With our primary focus on the events industry, while touching base here and there about the hospitality sector, let's organize how current events should be planned using interactive technologies for added safety and fewer risks.
And you'll see how SafeAccess, Virsitour, and Germinator are remodeling the events industry one space at a time. And with that, every in-person gathering, whether hybrid or not, needs to start with a location and proper planning, which brings us to our first channel partner, Virsitour.
They're taking down barriers for meeting and event planners by changing how locations for events are scouted for and vetted. And the future of location scouting is virtual.
Site Tours That Come to You
Debbie Garcia, Certified Meeting Professional and founder and CEO of Virsitour, launched her virtual platform to help meeting and event planners save time and travel costs.
The Virsitour platform allows event planners to virtually visit hotels and event venues before sending a request for proposal (RFP) document. The platform also complements the needs of hotels and venues so they can vet leads, secure and accommodate upcoming events, and allow locations to have the flexibility in how they staff events.
Virsitour empowers event organizers, meeting planners, and even the hospitality and event space industry to have the confidence to make cost-effective choices in advance for both the host and location in mind.
It also gives subscribers free listings of hotels, restaurants, and venues that planners can access to plan and host their next event. Event coordinators can quickly sift through each hotel or venue profile and view answers to commonly asked questions upfront.
They'll find the event space's dimensions, max capacity, and amenities provided. Plus, each listing has video tours shown as an option at the forefront of the listing with images included. For hotels and venues, they can see real-time (24/7) analytic reports that track the number of Requests for Proposals (RFP) sent and measure click counts and conversions to website traffic.
The Virsitour platform lets hotels and event venues update their listing and add time-sensitive information, and event planners can also request specific venues to be added to the directory, and locations that aren't listed can request to be added as well.
She stated that they had about 20,000 event planners waiting to use Virsitour. Towards the end of March 2021, she's projecting to double that with 40,000 event planners worldwide.
She then added, "Virtual site tours are now the way to secure meetings and support the hotels, venues, restaurants, and virtual meeting platforms to thrive in this new marketplace."
Garcia believes that the hospitality and events industry will gradually transition to completely in-person events, but planners worldwide can appreciate Virsitour's ease-of-use, cost, and time saved.
Now Virsitour helps facilitate the planning and scouting for the perfect event location while also boosting leads for event spaces and hotels looking to fill up their calendar dates.
But once the location has been chosen and all the event details are outlined in the RFP, how else can event coordinators go above and beyond for staff and attendees?
That's where SafeAccess and Germinator come in, to address every and any touchpoint of concern.
SafeAccess, Creating Risk-Free Experiences
SafeAccess started as a Software as a Service (SaaS) company specializing in risk management solutions for on-site personnel and visitors, such as employees, students (K-12), media production personnel, etc.
They focused on enabling the easy creation and dissemination (sharing) of health and safety policies and procedures, compliances, etc. to create risk-free in-person experiences. It's all managed via an interactive web app that leverages data, analytics, and live reporting. SafeAccess takes data security and privacy regulations (e.g., GDPR, HIPAA, FERPA) seriously.
Over the months, SafeAccess has enabled 1.8M+ check-ins thus far and has been leveraged by educational institutions, healthcare, construction, media production studios, and enterprises.
All these verticals mentioned or not have one thing in common.
They're places where people gather, and not just a few; they're large enough numbers where there's a need for that extra care, attention, and a preventive mindset to have the wellbeing of others in mind as we "ease the distance" in keeping a social distance.
So how does it all work, and where does SafeAccess and Germinator fit as key partners for event organizers and meeting planners in the hospitality industry? Find out more below.
SafeAccess 360's Exclusive Suite of Solutions
SafeAccess 360 is a partnership-enabled product marketplace with a comprehensive suite of solutions to ensure that safety and compliance requirements can be met within and outside of a pandemic.
SafeAccess 360 has multiple partners, one of which is Germinator, our advanced sanitizing and disinfecting company. SafeAccess 360 also includes additional partners to provide offerings such as contact tracing, meeting analytics, AI-based digital testing, bio-screening, third-party health audits, etc. They also have thoroughbred risk manager partners who can do end-to-end planning and execution,
So practically speaking, how would it work for the event space and hospitality industries?
Event organizers and meeting planners in hospitality using the SafeAccess platform can easily create and share location-specific safety policies and personalized procedures for staff and visitors, from wherever they are.
SafeAccess takes care of notifying people invited to an event so that they can view and accept the policies and procedures, fill out any self-assessments, and — if required — securely offer proof of vaccination or testing (A.K.A "digital health passports").
The data and the analytics can be accessed by the event organizers in a secure manner, or event organizers may decide to not have access to private info (e.g., vaccination records). None of this requires anyone to download any new apps. It can all be viewed on their mobile phones, tablets, or desktop computers.
Event organizers may also install walk-in bio-scanners that quickly scan health metrics such as heart rate, temperature, blood oxygen level, and respiratory rate for a more complete health profile. This allows those overseeing the event to ensure the health status of staff and attendees quickly and at scale.
And this is where it gets really cool. Not only does SafeAccess have partners who offer on-site PCR and Antigen testing kits, but event organizers also have the option of using an AI-based cough signature analysis. It allows people to cough into their web app or phone's mic to get a quick evaluation of whether or not they should be tested (note: their partner is going through the FDA Emergency Use Authorization process).
SafeAccess also has multiple contact tracing partners that offer great contingency (risk prevention) tools to provide protection against any infectious disease outbreaks. They also have partners that offer data analytics that keep track of people in an event and partners who can deploy emergency communications tools on demand.
These options can be customized based on an event organizer's needs and can be modified based on geography and circumstances. In short, site-appropriate options within the SafeAccess 360 suite can dramatically reduce the risk of infectious diseases on-site, provide peace of mind for everyone, and make it possible for people to attend the event confidently and trust that they are in a safe place.
Preventing the Preventable
Risk, like cybersecurity, is best managed when it is thought out from the very beginning. SafeAccess 360's mission is to prevent the preventable from ever occurring, leading us to one of their proactive partners, Germinator.
Before and after each day of the event, event organizers and coordinators can have the option of having their event space sanitized and disinfected by Germinator.
Germinator is ideal for event organizers who would rather have trained professionals come in and leave behind event spaces that have been tested, sanitized, disinfected, and shielded to create clean and hygienic environments.
And they're not just limited to choosing our service. Germinator provides both "Do It Yourself" and "Do It For Me" options. Event coordinators can mix and match between choosing to use both our services and have products sent to the location's purchasing and receiving office. And then there's the option of just selecting only products or services.
We'll outline the essential info about Germinator's steps of service, and later on, we'll tie in their lineup of products that cater to both DIY and DIFM service types.
Germinator Elevates Confidence During This New Normal
The pandemic made event planners realize two things. One, everyone is eager to attend events again, and two, it's up to them to make guests feel safe again.
Helping people feel safe again is one of Germinator's mantras. We have an accurate approach to providing advanced surface disinfection, and it begins and ends with adenosine triphosphate (ATP) surface testing.
Before getting into that, here's a quick biology lesson. ATP is in all living organisms, no matter the size. An example of ATP in action is the light that glows from fireflies and certain species of jellyfish.
Now back to how Germinator's highly trained disinfection specialists test surfaces for ATP — also seen in the video below.
They will first test surfaces throughout the venue for ATP before and after service. Then, what they'll do is collect ATP samples off surfaces using a special swab.
The swab gets inserted into a luminometer (ATP tester), where they'll see how much microbial activity existed on the surface.
Once the results are in, they'll see a numerical readout and light being emitted from the device. The higher the readout and brighter the light, the more need for sanitizing and disinfecting.
Every Germinator technician does this to validate the quality of their work, so imagine how clean, sanitized, disinfected, and protected those spaces are during each day of the event. During service, technicians use two solutions to sanitize and disinfect, and both of them are EPA-registered.
The first one is a HOCl or hypochlorous acid solution. It's a broad-spectrum sanitizer and disinfectant that eliminates odors and also kills a wide range of bacteria and viruses. It's on the EPA N List to meet the criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid.
It's also effective against commonly found germs in the hospitality industry, such as food-related bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli, staphylococcus (staph bacteria), MRSA/MSSA, and germs that cause the common cold and flu.
And then you have the second solution our technicians use called the Shield. The Shield is a water-based solution that creates a durable bacteriostatic finish that's effective for use against the growth of mold, mildew, algae, and odor-causing bacteria. It creates an invisible barrier that can combat deterioration and discoloration while promoting freshness on surfaces for up to three months.
Germinator technicians apply both solutions using an electrostatic sprayer. This is the most efficient and effective means of spraying down surfaces because the solutions are charged with electricity. When solutions are charged, they wrap around surfaces and get in between nooks and crannies for an even application that can dry faster and remain active.
Event spaces and venues that have been sanitized, disinfected, and protected by Germinator will have the Germinator Zone certification. So share the proof of disinfection with guests and tell them what went into it, and like that, they'll have the confidence to return next year.
Speaking of Germinator Zones, 2021 has been an exciting year for Germinator as a brand. We've launched our Germinator Zone campaign that revolves around a forward-looking lineup of surface, air, and body products that promote 360-degrees of protection.
We know that Covid took the spotlight in 2020, but Germinator is an advocate for supporting germ education and best cleaning practices that go hand in hand with their solutions to kill a variety of illness-causing bugs.
We believe that everyone has the right to better well-being and to feel safe in the spaces and places where they work, live, and play. Germinator Zones are designed to fight against the new world of germs beyond Covid.
That's why the products detailed below in our curated Germinator Zone bundle are made for those in the hospitality or the event space industry who face the most common germs that could cause someone to call out sick.
So this hand-picked bundle was made with that in mind, and it wouldn't have been made possible without the help from our newest partnerships with Aerus and Aeras Fog.
Germinator: "Advanced Protection Any Way You Want It"
There's really no limit in the different combinations of Germinator Zones that an event coordinator can request or design with Germinator's, Aerus', and Aeras Fog's lineup of products.
Here's a little bit of background info about them.
Since its beginning as Electrolux in the USA in 1924, Aerus has been an industry leader in creating healthy environments and providing reliable lifetime services. The variety of products they offer ranges from air purifiers, air filters, household appliances, and more, but they're designed to create healthier, cleaner, and protected spaces, surfaces, and even the air.
Established in 2020, Aeras Fog specializes in electrostatic drone technology, and they as well have their lineup of electrostatic sprayers for those interested in doing it themselves.
Together, Germinator, Aerus, and Aeras Fog are equipping hotel and event staff with industry-standard disinfectant sprayers. We have come together to create the Ultimate Germinator Zone bundle.
Even those who choose to request Germinator's services can still maintain cleanliness throughout the event and can have the hotel's purchasing office order this bundle ahead of time. So, what's included?
The bundle includes packets of HOCl (hypochlorous acid) powder, which can be used to kill bacteria and viruses on sight and then diluted from disinfecting strength to sanitizing strength for general all-purpose cleaning.
Event and hotel staff can load these packets of HOCl into the Aeras Mini hand-held electrostatic sprayer that's safe and effective for on-the-go disinfection. This mini sprayer uses AER-Force technology which charges the HOCl solution using electricity to wrap around surfaces for an even application.
The last item in the bundle is the Aerus Pure and Clean air purifier that uses ActivePure Cells to destroy over 99.96% of all surface and airborne contaminants while cleaning the air. The unit uses both HEPA and activated carbon filters to purify the air. It has a range of coverage starting from 500 sq. ft. up to 2,000 sq. ft.
Each item in this bundle can be ordered in any quantity necessary to match the staff's size and the dimensions of the event space. Germinator's Ultimate Germinator Zone bundle has all bases covered to provide advanced surface, air, and body protection.
Besides this curated bundle, head over to the pages under Our Solutions on the menu at the top of the page to see carefully selected products that feature air products by Aerus, Aeras Fog, and our alcohol-free body sanitizing products that work up to a few hours and soothe the skin with aloe vera moisturizers.
Three Channel Partners Reshaping the Events Industry
Without a doubt, the events industry is transitioning from an entirely virtual one to a more familiar environment that's either in-person or hybrid. The way events are planned and executed this year and beyond will take lessons learned from the global pandemic.
There's more of a need for technology to facilitate safer and risk-free in-person experiences. Each channel partner mentioned has a purpose and can reshape how events are planned, managed, and accomplished while playing an active role throughout each stage.
Virsitour is the only marketplace for meeting and event planners to source hotels and venues virtually. Virsitour enables them to tour locations from the comfort of their desk while adding venues to a list and sending RFPs all in one visit.
SafeAccess helps event organizers and meeting planners in hospitality feel confident about their guests' safety and wellbeing. Their exclusive suite of risk management solutions ensures that safety and compliances are met from the days leading up to the event and throughout its entire timeline.
And part of the SafeAccess 360 strategic partner coalition is Germinator. Our expertise and approach to disinfection are unparalleled. With products and solutions catering to both the DIY and DIFM audiences, those who want to instill comfort and peace of mind can easily do so with our Ultimate Germinator Zone bundle made collaboratively possible by Aeras Fog and Aerus. Either Germinator's team of disinfection specialists or an event staff has the power to create a more livable, touchable Germinator Zone.