Because of COVID-19 and the pandemic shutdowns, this is definitely a new era for tradeshows and conventions. Despite the challenges, the Orange County Convention Center continues to lead the way in hosting safe events again through their new fiscal year campaign, Business Better than Usual.
The OCCC has hosted more than 100 live, in-person events since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. No other convention center has hosted this number of events.
Convention Center officials created a model which is unique to the OCCC and they say it is the key to the advanced booking pace and hosting of large-scale events. The strategy involved a collaboration with Orange County, the Florida Department of Health and Orlando Health. As a comparison to earlier in the year, the OCCC held 59 events the first six months of 2021, for the calendar year. As of August 31st, 29 major events cancelled since January 2021, with 406,690 attendees and $868 Million in economic impact. Event reschedules since January 2021 include 25 events with 274,515 attendees and $645 Million in economic impact.
As part of the Business Better than Usual campaign, there are five specific ways the OCCC is addressing COVID-19:
1. Recovery and Resiliency Guidelines: Developed in consultation with Orange County’s Health Department and Department of Health, these data-driven guidelines provide a framework to prevent risk and protect clients, guests and attendees.
2. Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR Reaccreditation: The OCCC established and maintains a comprehensive cleaning, disinfection and infectious diseases prevention program to control and minimize risk associated with infectious agents for employees, guests and the surrounding community. First convention center globally to receive reaccreditation.
3. Medical Concierge Program with Orlando Health and Visit Orlando: The first of its kind in the country, this provides personalized medical services and resources to all meetings and convention groups holding events at the OCCC.
4. Regional Support: The Central Florida region is taking a measured and careful approach to reopening. The OCCC continues to work with Orange County Government, Visit Orlando, and its tourism partners to protect and safeguard guests and attendees.
5. Success Stories: Putting its plans into action, the OCCC has successfully hosted more than 100 conventions, trade shows, meetings, sporting, and consumer events since the onset of the pandemic. The measures taken by the OCCC and show organizers prove to be successful and are a testament to hosting live events under our new normal.
According to Orange County Convention Center officials, the sales team receives inquires on space at the OCCC daily and they continue to book events into 2022 and even through 2030. The booking pace at the OCCC is well ahead of the industry. While there’s still fluidity, as we look towards the future, we have more than 600 events that are tentatively booked through 2035. These events are anticipated to bring an estimated 11 million attendees to the area; generating projected future business estimated at $12 billion in economic impact.
“We actively collaborate with industry partners to show how the Convention Center and Orlando can host events with health and safety policies in place,” the OCCC told West Orlando News. “We are very proud of the regional collaboration and support that we have from our elected officials, partners, hotels, theme parks and local businesses.”