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Adapt with Arena provides takeaways for event industry

The latest instalment of the ‘Adapt’ with Arena by HireSpace events saw eventprofs equip themselves with new skills as the event industry emerges from the pandemic.

In collaboration with Events at Club Chelsea, the virtual event assessed what is needed to deliver the new attendee experience for in-person events as the Stage Four opening gets underway.

Moderated by Conference News’s digital and community editor Cameron Roberts, panellists included Clare Melton, global head of events at HIS Markit, IMEX Group’s director of operations Mark Mulligan, and Chelsea Football Club’s meetings and events manager Lucy Adamson.

Panel discussion topics included ‘Strategising for the new look in-person event experience’ and ‘Ready for lift off – recommendations from a major event venue’, where Chelsea Football Club’s senior event team staff discussed their experiences of hosting hybrid and in-person events.


Overall, panellists agreed that there is cautious confidence among the industry and event attendees. Although people are keen to get back to attending events in-person, this confidence is theoretical. Planners are being more careful about when they are booking events and attendees are making decisions about how they will attend events much closer to the event date.


The panellists agreed that travelling to live events is one of the main concerns people still have. With many people still having not travelled since before the pandemic, there is a degree of concern around personal risk. Venues and planners, therefore, need to help attendees work through this lost confidence and encourage them to attend, by communicating safety measures that are in place, working hard to understand risk levels, and instilling as much confidence in attendees and clients as possible.

Safety measures

When deciding which safety measures to implement, the consensus from the panellists was that it's about understanding where confidence levels sit and tailoring the approach accordingly. For example, attendees will still expect to see hand sanitiser, masks, and social distancing, even though these measures are not necessarily mandatory any longer in the UK.

From the outset, clearly communicating everything being done to keep attendees safe, is the best way to ensure people feel safe. This should be communicated across all channels, and past delegates should be asked about their sentiments too. Panellists did not think there would be criticism from event attendees if restrictions tighten in the winter, as all planners and venues are adhering to current restrictions for everyone’s safety. If tighter restrictions are put into place, this will still be the case and necessary adjustments will be made.

Attendee experience

Many venues, including Chelsea FC, have taken the opportunity to undertake refurbishments to refresh attendee experiences while venue spaces have been closed. Importantly, the industry has also had to get better at using technology and adopting solutions at all stages of the event process including booking, attending and delivering content.