Feature areas are a key component of any exhibition, none more so than those used at the entrance and registration where they are used to welcome visitors and guide them to, and through registration. However, in the post Covid19 socially distanced world ahead of us, what will be their form and function as we cautiously reopen the industry?
It is unlikely that we will quickly return to the hustle and bustle to which we have become accustomed when we arrive at the entrance to the halls, people queuing and jostling to reach the registration desks, meet friends, pick up their badges and head into the show.
In a previous blog, we discussed the future of floorplans, which will be intertwined with the development of compliant and safe entrance feature areas. Where a floorplan with wider aisles, one way systems, deals with those inside the show, getting them through the pinch point of registration and into the show is another matter.
We will need a bit of lateral thinking – our designers have taken a look at how a Covid19 entrance and registration may be set out going forward – clearly separating pre-registered visitors from those registering on the day. And all this must fall within venue guidelines on how much of an entrance it is permissible to section off. It may be that we have to move to pre-reg only in order to provide track and trace information, we may need to move to a system of ‘sessions’ in much the same way as are used in swimming pools.
If we are still able to offer registration on the day then managing the footfall as visitors arrive at the entrance will also be a challenge and this may require some space utilisation outside the registration area to create a footfall attenuation effect, slowing the flow of traffic to the desks. Tensator barriers may need rethinking and some form of content provided to those waiting to reach the registration desk to keep them engaged but also sufficiently far apart as to remain within guidance.
We have been giving quite a bit of thought to this during lockdown and designing a few options, for example, the design ideas on this link.
Traffic flow, social distancing requirements, sanitisation points, queuing space, the list goes on and it is likely to be a fluid list that will need us to keep innovating and rethinking how we manage entry and registration areas. Visitor confidence will be key, and designing a registration area that both is, and looks, safety will be a major consideration.
If you are an exhibition organiser and you are considering how you can effectively manage the entrance and registration at your next show we would be happy to chat through some ideas to develop a workable solution.