The Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) hosted more than 1,200 local brides and grooms on Sept. 20, 2020 for the Florida Wedding Expo. Continuing to reimagine and reshape the future of events at the OCCC, show planners strategically modified traditional operations to prioritize the safety of attendees, exhibitors and employees.
With no reported incidents or cases, the direct and deliberate preventative actions taken by the Center and the Florida Wedding Expo are a proven success and testament to hosting live events under our new normal.
Planning, Training and Preparations
Careful and considerate planning lies at the heart of the success of this event. Taking advantage of the OCCC’s premier safety planning services, including its medical concierge program and enhanced support from the OCCC’s event operations team, the Florida Wedding Expo designed a robust plan leading to a safe and responsible event.
Enhanced and Transparent Communications
Following an enhanced and transparent communications strategy, show planners offered full disclosure on new safety plans, policies and procedures to help manage expectations, and guide attendees and exhibitors ahead of time.
Arrival and Registration
The implementation of a controlled registration and arrival process played a pivotal role in creating a safe and secure event experience. On arrival, attendees had the option to use courtesy shuttles, operating at 50 percent capacity, to reach one of two building entrances. By funneling attendees through two restricted entry points, event staff managed attendee flow, avoided congestion and administered essential health screenings in the form of temperature checks at each entrance.
Focusing on delivering a contactless registration process, show managers encouraged online ticket purchases and self-scanning. Event ambassadors and strategic signs were also in place to limit congestion and maximize physical distancing efforts.
The implementation of a controlled registration and arrival process played a pivotal role in creating a safe and secure event experience.
Offering a Safe and Enjoyable Event Experience
Expo Hall Revisions
Returning for its fourth year, the Florida Wedding Expo has developed a strategy for success at the Center. However, in respect to the current climate, planners and organizers made essential adjustments to this year’s show format to create a safe space for all in attendance.
Considering the safety of attendees, exhibitors and employees, planners designed a floor plan with physical distancing in mind. Featuring wider aisles and strategic seating plans, show organizers sought to create a safe, yet enjoyable social space.
Additionally, planners adjusted the flow of the event. Typically concluding with the expo’s infamous Fashion Show, organizers introduced continuous fashion segments throughout this year’s event to stagger attendance. With limited seating areas, staffed entrances, and illustrative signage, planners designed a safe and controlled event for the brides and grooms in attendance.
Planners adjusted the show flow to introduce continued fashion segments throughout the event to stagger attendance.
This year, show planners embraced a number of innovative technological solutions to extend the event’s reach, safety and success.
Adopting a hybrid event format, the Florida Wedding Expo offered exclusive virtual access and experiences via Your Wedding TV. Presenting a forward-thinking approach to meeting safely, the event streamed virtually catered to attendees near and far.
Additional technological inclusions in this year’s event included the use of BrideScan, a mobile app allowing for a contactless information exchange. Prior to the event, BrideScan invited exhibitors to an exclusive training seminar for insights and best practices on using and benefiting from the platform.
When navigating the exhibition floor, attendees could simply scan each exhibitors QR code to receive relevant vendor information and resources in a safe, controlled and organized manner.
Attendees were encouraged to scan QR codes at exhibitor booths to access resources and vendor information.
Following a countywide mask mandate, all Florida Wedding Expo attendees, exhibitors and employees were required to wear a face covering while inside the Center. Ambassadors were located throughout the building to ensure compliance to this mandate, and post-event research concluded that the provision of this policy increased attendee and exhibitor confidence.
As a Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR accredited venue, the OCCC also upheld rigorous sanitation protocols throughout the duration of the event. From increased hand sanitation stations, to regular cleaning of frequently touched areas, the OCCC Environmental Services team followed an extended plan to protect the health and safety of all in attendance. Additionally, following a comprehensive sanitation schedule, staff thoroughly disinfected the facility each evening, and introduced numerous enhanced cleaning measures to protect exhibitors throughout the move-in and move-out process.
Show planners placed strategic signage throughout the venue to encourage safe meeting practices.
Following the event, 96 percent of exhibitors strongly agreed that the safety measures implemented helped them feel safe, comfortable and confident in participating in the expo, and 92 percent noted that attendance exceeded their expectations. With its next event planned at The Center of Hospitality on Jan. 10, 2021, the Florida Wedding Expo will continue to lead by example and connect the local wedding community as brides and grooms embark on planning for the most exciting day of their lives.
Learn more about meeting safely at the OCCC by visiting www.occc.net/meetingsafely, or engaging with #MeetingSafely on social media.
If you are interested in hosting your next event at The Center of Hospitality, please submit a Request for Proposal (RFP), or get in touch with our expert sales team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.