How has COVID-19 impacted the event and hospitality industry?

Here are some of the biggest changes to watch out for when planning your next event:

Lately, it seems like everyone is talking about what it was like planning an event pre-COVID-19 vs. now. A lot of things are different now than they were two years ago.

Here are some of the changes to be mindful of when planning your next event.

Be aware of staff shortages

As an event planner, one of the biggest challenges I’ve seen is the lack of staffing in the industry. Many businesses are being hit with a sudden post-pandemic influx of business – which is great news! But there are fewer experienced, skilled staff members at many venues and companies to handle this influx – not-so-great news. By being able to pull staff from other areas and train/cross-train individuals, a new pool of event personnel can be created, but this takes time as well as experienced trainers to make that happen.

Set realistic expectations

I used to be able to contact a vendor and dictate my request for products, services, event dates, set-up times, and more and always be accommodated. These days, that’s not always the case. I’ve learned that I need to ask more about what’s able to be accommodated so that I can match my expectations – and my clients’ expectations – to current capabilities and available resources.

Be flexible with vendors

Vendors are working hard to meet demands under stricter constraints. For example, if I request a specific setup or tear-down time from a rental vendor, I may be told they don’t have enough staffing and drivers at that time. I’ve learned that I need to work around what they have available.

Don’t be surprised if venues are booked

Due to a backlog of events because of the COVID-19 shutdown, venues are now being booked out for back-to-back events. That may put restrictions and stress on myself regarding what we want to be able to do vs. what’s going to be workable within the established parameters.

And don’t forget …

This is a hard-working industry that’s under time-specific demands. I am so proud of all of my partners and staff who can navigate this changing territory as more and more events resume.

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Shari Zatman is an event producer with more than two decades of experience. She owns two companies: Perfectly Planned by Shari, which focuses on luxury events (like weddings and mitzvahs), and Eventful Event Producers, which focuses on corporate and non-profit events. Her latest venture is event training, coaching, and consulting for event and hospitality professionals. She created a handbook and seminars to work with them to identify problem areas, create solutions and share best practices.

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