We look forward to safely welcoming you through our doors when we meet again.

As two of Edmonton’s busiest venues, the Edmonton Convention Centre and Edmonton EXPO Centre, we recognize that events play a powerful role in the cultural fabric of our communities. Over the past 14 months, we’ve proactively engaged with public health officials, industry leaders and event planners as we collectively adapt to our new normal and navigate this pandemic together. We are passionate about the local event expertise that stems from our city and we are proud to showcase local event professionals as we plan to gather again.

While major events have been postponed or have adapted to health regulations amid the global pandemic, our teams are hard at work behind-the-scenes to prepare for major events to return to our venues. In support of this goal, our team  launched our Healthy Venues Plans and are among the first convention and exhibition centers in Canada to achieve the GBAC Star Accreditation, all to ensure the Edmonton Convention Centre and Edmonton EXPO Centre are among the safest venues in the country to plan and attend events.

In collaboration with our friends at Trixstar, we are sharing solution-seeking insights for the future of the live event experience. Through their series of informative blogs and free resources from the Trixstar Academy, event planners can access a well-rounded toolbox for your next event.

Trixstar’s Tips for Pandemic Planning

  1. Safety must be the highest priority in order to prevent an event crisis. Work with certified safety and event professionals to administer training for your stakeholders.
    • Pre-screen and test employees, vendors and guests.
    • Supply masks and PPE or develop bring-your-own policies.
    • Consider the use of metal detectors to limit contact and expediate wait times.
    • Set clear policies for those who refuse to follow protocols.
  1. Cleanliness is essential to limiting contact. Consider the best process to consistently sanitize event areas and by how much your workforce will need to grow.
    • Select spacious venues who are accredited by the highest cleaning and outbreak prevention standards that offer amenities and internal housekeeping for restrooms and food and beverage areas.
    • Invest in quality cleaning and sanitization technologies and practices.
    • Ask your host venue if they can help streamline the distribution of items by pre-packaging food and drinks and pre-serving attendees.
  1. Integrate virtual opportunities where possible by showcasing virtual experiences, streaming live entertainment and pre-recording segments.
    • Offer digital ticketing and payment to reduce hand-to-hand contact, expediate wait times and eliminate the use of print materials.
    • Wristbands or accreditations with RFID could be e-mailed in advance to alleviate the on-site process with touchless RFID pads and green light/red light visuals for security access.
    • Use event apps to integrate site maps, event information, ticket tokens and attendee tracking, additionally providing the ability to assist with contact tracing.
  1. Venues play a key role in the recovery of the events industry. Work with your venue’s team to reimagine its space.
    • Eliminate crowds, limit transmission risk and assist with contact tracing, implement 6’ physically distant, marked and numbered circles, tables, risers or multiple rooms within your event’s floorplan.
    • Offer reservations and tickets for existing social cohorts or households. Additionally, offer food and beverage service, garbage and recycling, and sanitization within each circle to alleviate or eliminate crowding at centralized areas.
    • Take into consideration the internal and external event lineups with 6’ increments of space between each person and between multiple lineups.
    • Prepare for traffic flow by clearing larger and separate pathways for guests and employees with directional signage.
    • When it comes to travel and transit, double or triple shuttle services to avoid cramming staff, artists or attendees into vehicles when they arrive at your event.
  1. From the beginning of your planning stage, prepare for postponed, rescheduled and cancelled events.
    • During the planning process, create an event timeline and contingency plan.
    • Collaborate with your partners and venues to organize flexible holds on potential dates.
    • When your event day arrives, expect a delayed process from the beginning to the end of your event so extend your show flow accordingly.
    • Plan to open your doors sooner, stagger entry times when selling tickets and increase your event schedule to compensation for longer wait times.
  1. With the local and global pandemic status evolving by the hour, communication will be paramount to prepare for your event. Maintain clear communications channels for your event status and protocols to enhance public confidence in the success of your event.
    • Examine the attendee’s entire event journey from their purchase a ticket to when they exit your doors.
    • Involve stakeholders and contractors in the logistics and operations of your planning phase–create a list of stakeholders and determine the correct methods of contact.
    • An emergency response plan and a crisis communications plan will be essential to develop prior to your event launch.
    • Use digital ticketing platforms to communicate event information with attendees prior to the event. Clearly outline contact information for your event and your refund policy.
    • During the event, include an emcee to facilitate house rules and event exits.
    • Prominently display health and safety and directional signage for guest reference.
    • Examine your planning process and post-event reports.
    • Don’t be afraid to ask for support and feedback!

Photo credit: Trixstar

While many aspects of our new normal are out of our control, there are key takeaways in which we can collect information to create the benchmarks needed for innovation within our industry. It takes hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of people to create an event from conception to execution, so we understand that collaboration is key. As event professionals we make the impossible happen and possess a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the health of an event.  As we navigate unchartered territory, sharing resources and partnerships will ensure safe and enjoyable event experiences.

To see upcoming Trixstar events at the Edmonton Convention Centre and Edmonton EXPO Centre, visit The Together Again Outdoor Concert Series, Ice Cube, Saints and Sinners 2021 Tour and Gary Vaynerchuk.