Executive Planning Summary | Executive Women in Leadership 2020

Executive Planning Summary | Executive Women in Leadership 2020

By:ALHI
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Event Dates: July 30-August 1, 2020

Event Location: Naples Grande Beach Resort

Meeting Overview, Goals & Objectives:

  • Annual multi-day, invitation-only event with typically 75-80 attendees.
  • Agenda includes professional development sessions, experiencing the host hotel and destination, recreation, smaller peer to peer discussion groups, networking.

COVID-19 Considerations

COVID-19 General Modifications to Event:

  • Reduced attendee count to 50 attendees.
  • Converted printed "event book" to an event app.
  • Attendees wore masks throughout the duration of the event. Any time they were not eating and drinking, or distanced, masks were worn.
  • We did not include any in-room amenities or welcome gifts. All gifting and items for the group were picked up by the individual.

Pre-Event Communications:

  • Provided a dedicated link to all invited attendees that included COVID protocols and adjustments for all vendors and partners that touched the program:
    • Delta Air Lines, Naples Grande Beach Resort, PSAV, Naples Tours & Transportation, Naples Grande Spa, and ALHI Event Guidelines
  • Hosted a pre-conference call with all prospective and registered attendees thirty days prior to the event. The call featured presentations from the lead event planners, the main hotel contact, and an open forum for any questions.

Registration:

  • Registration was set up across from the front desk to ensure guests felt comfortable and could ask all questions as soon as they arrived. Arrivals were on a flow to limit number of people at table
  • Hand sanitizer stations were placed on either side of the registration desk.
  • Attendees picked up their own: name badge, individually wrapped lanyard, pre-packed gift set, and a custom event Boundless PPE kit (included two logo-ed face masks, hand sanitizer, two temperature strips, lip balm, and a spa facial mask).
  • Attendees were presented the EIC APEX Code of Conduct and Photography Release, signed by an individually wrapped pen that they kept for the event.

Meeting Details & Logistics with COVID-19 Modifications

Logistics & Meeting Details:

  • General Session room was set in assigned seating for the duration of the event. Set in theater style with individual soft seating and a side table staggered and set six feet apart omnidirectionally. Side table included hand sanitizer, two sanitizer wipes, and name place cards.
  • Around the perimeter of the room, we created small group "breakout pods." These were small groupings of six to eight chairs in a circle. These were used when breaking into group discussions. Masks were required in this set up due to closer proximity.
  • The stage was set up to respect distancing of speakers and panelists, i.e., two chairs six feet apart.
  • The hotel provided signage throughout the resort to remind guests of distancing and placed hand sanitizing stations throughout the hotel, and posted signage to limit capacities on elevators.
  • We had never before offered any portion of this event virtually. We opted to broadcast one general session (Untamed A Conversation with Glennon Doyle) virtually, in partnership with Soliman Productions. More than 150 guests participated virtually.
  • Normally this event would offer a book signing as well as a meet and greet with the speaker. We did not host this; instead, we placed pre-signed books at each person's place setting.
  • For our interactive session, we asked attendees to wear their masks for the duration of that session. When we broke into groups of two or three, we had them share while standing six feet apart and wearing masks. In breakout pods we also kept masks on. The facilitator wore a mask for the entire session while she moved throughout the room.
  • The meeting room was sanitized through hotel's sanitizing fogging machine between Thursday and Friday. 
  • We walked attendees through every step of the event. For instance, as people arrived, we would ask them to be seated and that beverage service would start once seated. Before breaks in session, we reminded guests to wear masks, and to keep distance while transitioning.
  • PSAV sanitized mics in between all speakers. Speakers mic'ed themselves up once the mic had been cleaned. 
  • The group photo for this event is normally very close, and two rows. We opted to take the group photo seated in their distanced general session set, with the photographer taking panoramic shots of the room and editing them together.

Food & Beverage Changes

Overall Adjustments

  • No pre-set bread service, butter, salt & pepper, or condiments (all were available upon request).
  • With pre-assigned seating, we were able to pre-set waters and wine glasses for all attendees.
  • No butler passed cocktails or appetizers.
  • Removed networking receptions from agenda completely. All bar service was provided tableside and through a cocktail server.

Opening Dinner

  • 72" rounds were set for three people to ensure six feet of distance on all sides.
  • Pre-assigned seating.

Breakfast

  • Attended stations served all items. Stations were assembled with plexiglass shields.
  • Individual bottled juices and smoothies were provided.
  • Coffee and beverage stations were fully attended.

Lunch

  • Hotel created a custom bento box lunch.
  • Attendees picked up a sanitized tray, and walked through either side of queen mary's that gave choices on each shelf to take individually packaged items.
  • Hotel used recyclable packaging for all item.

Recreation & Spa

  • Yoga was provided pool side with pre-set yoga mats distanced. Participants filled the space from one side of the area to the other Pool cabanas were open and available for the group. Chairs were distanced. We had to procure a larger portion of the pool to ensure we could accommodate the full group.
  • Naples Grande Spa provided a cycling class. They provided distanced bikes and moved them poolside to host the class outdoors.
  • Spa appointments were available as an optional offering for attendees with the spa following all CDC guidelines.

Post-Conference Learnings

Onsite Adjustments and Considerations for Future Opportunities

  • We had originally rented farmhouse tables for the opening dinner, but on-site we could not achieve six feet of distancing with the tables. We switched the opening dinner to all rounds to ensure full distancing was accomplished.
  • The first night, we offered an "after glow" reception in the hotel bar in a designated area. With live music, and limited space, this reception did fully execute distancing and meeting guidelines. The next night we added more tables outside for the group to spread out. In the future, we would not offer a formal afterglow.
  • We learned that music levels needed to be even lower than normal when people are interacting and speaking with a mask on. This was especially important for live entertainment.
  • One of the sessions featured a panel of four people. For this size group, we were already at a larger stage than normal (8' x 18'). We placed the moderator on the floor in a taller chair and spaced the three panelists out in a "V" with six feet around them. We didn't want to increase the size of the stage and this was an in-room adjustment.

Partners and Sponsors:
Naples Grande Beach Resort
Delta Air Lines
Boundless Gifts
GlobalWorks DMC
Naples Tours & Transportation
PSAV
Soliman Productions
Naples Marco Island Everglades DMC