As trade shows have been canceled and rescheduled for a few months now, it’s time to start looking ahead for their return – and what that means for traveling to and attending trade shows again soon. As business starts going back to normal, it still may take some time before people feel comfortable traveling again. However, it’s important for travelers to know that convention centers, hotels, and airlines are taking great strides to make traveling a clean and safe experience.
Airline UpdatesWith many people feeling weary to travel, airports are seeing much fewer people flying. However, airports and airlines have been implementing safety measures to do what they can to help decrease the spread of the virus.
With highly efficient HEPA filters that trap particles – including viruses – airplanes may be safer than most assume they are. According to the Center for Disease Control, “Because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, most viruses and other germs do not spread as easily on flights.” This is assuming that passengers are also following the guidelines of wearing a mask and keeping distanced from those around them.
With the need for passengers to still be keeping their distance, airlines are addressing this need by blocking off middle seats, requiring masks on passengers and staff, and occasionally checking staff members’ temperatures. Many airlines have also suspended the distribution of food and beverages on flights and are handing out pre-packaged snack bags with a bonus personal sanitizer included instead.
Airlines are also doing extra sanitizing between flights. Delta stated that it has doubled down on its regular cleaning program to disinfect aircraft interiors and have added a sanitizing process that is often used in healthcare settings. Delta states, “After each flight, crews use electrostatic sprayers to sanitize aircraft interiors from floor to ceiling with a high-grade disinfectant. Cleaning crews then perform extensive manual cleaning procedures to wipe down cabin surfaces including seats, consoles, seat back screens, windows, doors, lavatories, and other high-touch areas of the cabin.”
Delta and many other airlines are also taking the same sanitation measures with check-in kiosks and gate areas. All these measures are important for traveler’s peace of mind whether they are traveling for work, trade shows, or for personal reasons.
Hotel UpdatesWith hotels being nearly unavoidable during travel, it’s important that guests feel safe and know that they’re stepping into a clean environment. As you and your trade show staff travel for shows in the future, know that the hotel industry has also taken large strides to ensure the safety of its guests.
Already in effect, guests will see less furniture in lobbies and common areas to promote social distancing. Hand sanitizer will be prevalent throughout hotels. Housekeepers will be more front and center as they not only focus on room cleaning, but also railings, elevator buttons, and door handles.
Hotels are not only telling guests that their staff is taking extreme measures to disinfect all high traffic areas but making sure that guests are seeing this cleaning firsthand. This will provide more transparency and increase trust from guests, allowing them to feel more at ease.
New technology is also being introduced to the hotel industry as an extra step to help kill germs. Germ zapping tools and electrostatic sprayers will be able to rapidly disinfect guest rooms and fitness centers. LightStrike Germ Zapping Robots are being introduced to emit broad-spectrum UV light. This machine is also used in hospitals and can help destroy viruses and bacteria within minutes.
For the breakfast buffet lovers, hotels will likely create more of a grab-and-go option or still offer a buffet with enhanced sanitizing and will be less hands-on.
Convention Center UpdatesFace-to-face communication is a very important aspect of business, as we all know. Therefore, bringing events and in-person interaction back to normal is a high priority for the event industry. As trade shows and events regain traction, convention centers will have a great responsibility to ensure the safety of their guests.
With attendee safety being a top priority, event spaces will ensure that physical distancing is possible in all areas by planning out efficient spacing in accordance with expected attendance. This means that guests will never feel too overcrowded in any area on the show floor. For example, the San Diego Convention Center is revising capacity charts for all exhibit halls, ballrooms, and meeting rooms to allow for physical distancing standards. Wider aisles will be implemented and walkways will be designated as ‘one-way.’
Attendees will be asked to use face masks or coverings and will be reminded to sanitize their hands frequently. High traffic surfaces will be sanitized throughout the day as well. The San Diego Convention Center is placing touch-free hand sanitizer stations throughout the building and near every meeting room door. They also stated, “All touch-points are disinfected on a continual basis during event hours and overnight, using Oxivir® RTU or Oxivir® Wipes. Touch-points include stair and escalator handrails, door handles, door crash-bars, elevator and ATM buttons, house phones, concession stand counters and tables, cell phone/laptop charging stations, and common-area tables and benches.”
As meetings are an important aspect of trade shows and events, convention centers are finding ways to make sure people feel comfortable in them. Meetings at events will be required to be spaced out to provide a safe distance between all members.
All these updates and more are being put into place by the travel and events industries for the safety of us all. As business makes its way back to normal, we hope that travelers understand that their health is a main priority. Don’t forget to spread the word that enhanced policies and procedures are being put in place for the safety of attendees, exhibitors, staff, and business partners. We hope to see you out on the trade show floor soon!