To Risk or Not to Risk? Insider Tips on Risk Management with Paul Cook

“Risk will never go away.”

With decades of experience managing and mitigating risk at both hybrid and in-person events, Paul Cook of the Hybrid Event Centre joins Swapcard’s Bob Chain and Mia Masson to discuss all things risk management in a post-pandemic events world.

Paul shares his personal experiences navigating events since the pandemic, having attended an in-person event recently and giving insight on how varied the response has been to safety checks and guidelines worldwide.

He reminds listeners that event organizers are great at making attendees feel special and “like royalty” when they’re in the event bubble. However, it’s equally important for organizers to ensure that the attendees' entire journey, from the time they get off the plane to the time spent at the event & then back home again, is as risk-free as possible.

So what’s the number one way for event planners to mitigate risk? Running a virtual event.

That’s why the first question you should ask yourself when planning your next event is: Does this event have to be in-person, or can it be successfully run virtually? If you’re committed to running an in-person event, event planners have to be prepared to take on a larger risk than before since the past 18 months have “definitely changed everything that planners can expect.”

If you’re wondering what the biggest changes have been for the event industry in terms of risk at in-person events, Paul lists the following:

  • The financial risk of running an in-person event is more acute than before since no insurance company will cover any covid or pandemic-related cancellations
  • Dietary needs & requirements of delegates
  • The security of personal data
  • The health & safety of attendees
  • Climate change & sustainability

Paul notes that these could cast a negative spotlight on your event if not handled properly, which in turn would play into the risk factors you’d have to consider when running your in-person event.

Once you’ve decided to move forward with planning an in-person event in this post pandemic world, Paul’s got four top tips for organizers to remember:

  1. Be far more consultative and far less passive.
  2. Understand audience needs.
  3. Stay up to date on pandemic developments worldwide.
  4. Question everything and assume nothing.

After discussing the viability of vaccine passports and the challenges present in the ever changing health and safety landscape, the conversation turns to the role that insurance plays for event planners. Ultimately, event planners shouldn’t rely on insurance to save the day. Paul reminds us that event insurers, “they’re not charities, they are in business to make money.”

Listen to our latest podcast to learn more about navigating the bumpy post pandemic event waters and discover all the details on mitigating risk. There’s lots to unpack!

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