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  • Jennifer Kerhin, MBA, CEM

Sponsorship Opportunities to Protect Your Attendees and Your Bottom Line


The event landscape has undeniably changed for the foreseeable future. With several months of cancelled events behind us, event professionals should begin to consider how events will look in 2021 and beyond as in-person gatherings resume.


Business events and meetings differ from mass gatherings in that they exist in a controlled environment. Capping the number of attendees, planning public space to accommodate social distancing, and adhering to established safety best practices will help ensure the success of your event. Unfortunately, these adjustments translate to fewer attendees and exhibitors at events. Recognizing that registration and exhibit hall booth rental fees account for a large percentage of event revenue, associations must find alternate sources of income to address the resulting shortfall.


While COVID-19 eliminates crowded receptions and packed sessions from a meeting planner’s playbook, it does provide unique opportunities for new sponsored items. We recommend that when creating your organization’s prospectus for 2021 and beyond, you embrace the current health conscious climate and take advantage of the following sponsorship opportunities:


1. Face masks – This accessory will be a must-have at any group event, and your organization can take advantage of this by offering masks as a sponsored item, free to attendees at registration. This high-visibility sponsorship will be attractive to companies looking for name recognition.


2. Social Distancing Floor stickers – Social distancing has never been more important, and strategically placed floor stickers with a sponsor’s custom graphic can indicate appropriate distancing intervals. Stickers can be placed in the registration area, restroom and F&B lines, and throughout the exhibit hall. Arrows indicating traffic flow can also be sponsored.


3. Hand sanitizer – Branded hand sanitizing stations throughout the meeting space will protect attendees and offer brand exposure for a sponsoring company. Distributing individual packets of hand sanitizer is another opportunity to sell branding on a product that will be in high demand at your meeting.


4. Plexiglass – Registration counters and other areas within the meeting space will include plexiglass barriers to protect attendees and those working at the event. These barriers can easily be branded using a two-sided cling with a company logo or custom graphic.


5. Safety video – Safety measures are only effective if they are clearly understood. A video highlighting the steps your organization is taking to keep attendees safe can be branded with a logo or banner at the bottom of the video screen, and videos can be played throughout the venue.


6. Monitoring station – Similar to a first aid tent, a COVID monitoring station will provide attendees with a place to have their temperature taken and any symptoms assessed. Branding on this item offers visibility for the sponsoring company, and the sponsor’s name can be mentioned on the event’s map and program.


7. Signage – Signage detailing social distancing rules and regulations can be branded.


Be innovative when developing your sponsorship prospectus. Creative opportunities offering high visibility for sponsoring companies will be in demand, and will increase sponsorship revenue for your event.


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