News

Experts Weigh-In on the Future of Events in the COVID-19 Era

Experts Weigh-In on the Future of Events in the COVID-19 Era

ALBANY, N.Y. — With New York state in various stages of reopening, event organizers are looking to experts on how to safely and successfully organize meetings, events and gatherings. The Albany Capital Center hosted a webinar Thursday, addressing the questions they have been receiving while announcing changes put in place to keep guests and staff safe.

The webinar can be watched in full here.

“Nimble is a word I’m using a lot right now,” said Jill Delaney, president & CEO, Discover Albany. “2020 was shaping up to be a banner year, but in one fell swoop we lost millions of dollars. Tourism is the third-largest industry in New York state. Our hotel occupancy rates fell 70 percent in April alone. But we are looking to the future and assisting with spearheading technology projects that can help bring tourism back for the rest of 2020.”

All Albany Capital Center staff and vendors have undergone thorough training on the changes being put in place at the facility, as part of a massive reopening plan. The panel was moderated by Michele Vennard, board chair of the Albany Convention Center Authority, who has had a long career in tourism and hospitality.

“We have plenty of room to spread you out, but we are selling confidence now. Confidence that we, and ASM Global, can provide you with a safe space to conduct business,” said Doug McClaine, general manager of the Albany Capital Center. “We have created traffic flow. We have signage. We have one way in, one way out. We can provide more than the required six feet of distance for meetings. To be able to look at and have face-to-face conversations, there is a lot of value there.”

“For our clients, we are making plans A, B and C, depending on what restrictions could be in place. We are generating floor plans that accommodate social distancing. We are looking at hybrid events with virtual elements,” said Shannon Licygiewicz, director of sales at the Albany Capital Center. “Nothing is a no. We say, let us try and get creative.”

“We are anxious to get back, but it’s a whole new world,” said Angelo Mazzone, owner of Mazzone Hospitality Group, catering partner of the Albany Capital Center. “Everybody [the staff] will be wearing a mask, everybody will be carrying hand sanitizer, and all staff will have their temperature checked when they come into work and be sent home if they have a (high) temperature. We are looking at everything from pre-boxed meals to limiting the amount of people at tables.”

“No two events look the same here,” said Amelia Barry, sales manager at the Albany Capital Center. “We are encouraging event organizers to reach out to our team to come up with a creative solution to holding events.”

The Albany Capital Center, in partnership with the corporate office of ASM Global, has prepared a Re-Activation Plan following New York State guidelines that includes new policies and procedures. The portion specific to clients and attendees will be made public once updated and completed with NYS Phase 4 Reopening guidelines, yet to be published.

About the Albany Capital Center:

Opened in March 2017, the Albany Capital Center, operated by leading venue manager ASM Global, is a modern, premier event and meeting destination in New York’s culturally rich Capital Region. Connected to the Times Union Center, Empire State Plaza and Renaissance Albany Hotel via enclosed walkways, the convention center hosts a diverse array of trade shows, consumer and social events, and meetings for up to 5,000 guests. It boasts 22,500 square feet of ballroom/exhibit space, six meeting rooms with 9,200 square feet of space, 13,500 square feet of pre-function space, state-of-the-art technology, and impeccable dining options. The ACC is conveniently located in downtown Albany and within walking distance of the New York State Capitol, business and warehouse districts, performing arts venues, museums, shops, restaurants and nightlife. For more information about the Albany Capital Center visit www.albanycapitalcenter.com, or contact the sales department at (518) 487-2009 or shannon.licygiewicz@albanycapitalcenter.com.