Eventbrite hosted the first-ever RECONVENE summit in May. The virtual networking and skillsharing event featured more than 20 talks and workshops from some of the most dynamic thinkers in the event world. We’re recapping the two-day event’s key takeaways on the blog. Watch recordings of every session here.

In 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic halted many live events, Jess Doren didn’t pivot. Instead, she went against the grain and launched Served Up, an in-person series of outdoor events in New York City designed to bring positivity into the community during an uncertain time.

At Eventbrite’s RECONVENE summit, Doren shared how she developed effective reopening guidelines that resonated with attendees — all while keeping them safe. Here are five takeaways for event creators. 

Watch Jess Doren’s full talk below:

Create consistent and clear reopening guidelines

It sounds simple, but clear communication is often evasive. Doren recognized that having one voice would allow patrons to trust Served Up’s platform and experience. She outlined clear and consistent rules on Served Up’s website, Eventbrite page, and social media platforms. Her team sent an email to attendees 24 hours prior to doors with reminders of that guidance, and kept on-site signage simple and to the point. Knowing what to expect prepared patrons for success, she said.

Adopt a design-first approach to your space

Doren created pods with “really beautiful seating arrangements” that kept people seated throughout the event, instead of wandering around. This eliminated the “guessing game” of where to stand, “and it made our space look so much better, so much more full and encouraged people to stay together,” she said.

Use space to your advantage

Served Up took place in a parking lot, and Doren incorporated lots of space to help people feel safe. The event’s creative director created large pathways in high-traffic areas, such as near the restroom and in front of the stage. That allowed those in attendance to feel like they weren’t in danger of bumping into people who weren’t in their pods.

Kill the sanitization station

The Served Up team discovered that sanitization stations were limited in reach and effectiveness. “They weren’t safe, and I was tired of touching the same pump that everyone else was using,” Doren said. So she teamed up with a vendor that provided individual, 2-ounce hand sanitizers to each guest as they entered the space. “That gave our attendees a way to have clean hands and a clean experience,” she said. “This was a really simple and easy way to allow people to feel safe as soon as they walked in the door.”

Eliminate lines to keep attendees distanced

Anywhere you can, cut down on lines, Doren said — specifically, in the restroom, near food stands and at the bar. Doing so was a challenge, she acknowledged, but helped ensure smooth events. Served Up kept people safe by keeping them in their pods and serving their food and drink directly to them, so they didn’t have to stand in line to retrieve it, she said.

Patrons ordered through a QR code that directed them to an app, and then their order was sent to a production coordinator who deployed servers to fetch and deliver it. “It created a nice energy because people were able to sit down and enjoy the show,” Doren said.

Consult Eventbrite’s COVID-19 Safety Playbook for Events before your next event. 

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