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Juliet Price, consultant executive director of HBAA

HBAA launches ‘Meet Safe, Meet Smart 30’ campaign

HBAA has announced the launch of the ‘Meet Safe, Meet Smart 30’ (#MSMS30) campaign, after new HBAA research revealed there is confusion over the number of delegates allowed to attend meetings in England – currently 30 – which is preventing planners from booking and organising permitted meetings.

The survey’s respondents, of which 38% were from the corporate sector; 31% from charities and 31% from a mixture of government, association and education organisations, also expressed "continued worries" over safety, with 71% responding that they had "concerns" over employee and delegate safety. 

Around 65% stated they will "only run online meetings and events in the foreseeable future", with almost all of the other respondents said that they will "organise virtual or hybrid and will leave it to the delegates themselves to decide whether to attend in-person or online". 

The ‘Meet Safe, Meet Smart 30’ campaign will concentrate on "communicating and supporting government regulations", which currently allow meetings of up to 30 people to take place in England, as well as "highlighting the level of safety and flexibility of contractual terms and conditions at all venues involved".

It is a ‘free to participate’ campaign for both the venues and the agencies that promote them. The campaign aims to "provide facts, drive confidence and showcases that booking these permitted venues offers delegates tangible assurances".

Juliet Price, consultant executive director of HBAA, said: “It is clear from our survey that there is a long way to go in terms of customers understanding and appreciating how compliant the vast majority venues really are when it comes to Covid-19 protocols and also that the current government guidance supports off-site meetings for up to 30 people. ‘Meet Safe, Meet Smart’ aims to deliver on both fronts and drive confidence while demonstrating why people want to meet – and should meet – shoulder to shoulder – in line with the prescribed measures.

“There are many reasons why meeting in person is absolutely essential, from productivity to creativity, to positive mental health. However, we completely appreciate and acknowledge that that we must follow the government guidelines which are subject to rapid change, aligned to infection rates.

“Our industry must continue to unite to build customer confidence in resuming booking and attending small live business meetings, as these will pave the way for the eventual return of safe and secure larger live events in the future.”

Guy Mason, managing director of Brief2Event, said: “The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has decimated the business meetings and events industry in an unimaginable way. The confusion in the marketplace regarding permitted numbers is stopping planners from having the confidence to even contemplate any sort of meeting or event.

“Venues, organisers, delegates and councils all need to know permitted delegate numbers as soon as guidance is announced or changes. Daily we are arguing with venues that are given false information from local councils regarding numbers of delegates. With more than 70% of all meetings being for 30 delegates or less, clarity is essential. This HBAA campaign is leading the way to rectify perceptions and get the industry back up and running.”

To read the full report, click here.