Orange County Convention Center, the Center of Hospitality

A Sponsored Message from the Orange County Convention Center

Author: Jennifer N. Dienst       

Orange County Convention Center

The Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) in Orlando hosted the Together Again Expo in July using safety protocols, including social distancing, it has put into place to keep attendees healthy. (Courtesy OCCC)

Following a three-pronged strategy, the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) in Orlando was the first in the nation to operate under modified operations by implementing its Recovery and Resiliency Guidelines, achieving Global Biorisk Advisory Council’s (GBAC) Star Accreditation and launching a pioneering collaboration with Orlando Health for a new medical concierge program that provides an industry-defining standard on how conventions will operate in the future.

Focused on creating a controlled environment, the OCCC implemented its recovery and resiliency guidelines in June and subsequently hosted back-to-back events, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Junior National Volleyball Championships July 14-22 and Together Again Expo on July 24. The Florida Wedding Expo took place on Sept. 20 and the International Drive Resort Area Chamber of Commerce held its board meeting at the OCCC on Oct. 1, 2020 just before the Orlando Condo & HOA Expo on Oct 12.

The OCCC is also gearing up to welcome back the AKC National Championship in December, which is projected to have 16,250 attendees and an economic impact of $20.8 million. Following AKC, the OCCC will host Spirit Cheer on Dec. 12-13, with 5,000 attendees, generating an economic impact of $6.4 million.

See how the OCCC and its regional partners have welcomed back live events:

Checking in

The preparations for an event begin long before participants arrive at the OCCC. Following an enhanced communications strategy, the OCCC and show organizers openly discuss new plans, policies, and procedures to help guide and educate attendees ahead of time. The implementation of a controlled check-in process plays an important role in creating a safe and secure event experience. By funneling attendees through restricted access points, the OCCC helps show organizers manage attendee flow, avoid congestion, and administer essential health screenings in the form of temperature checks and surveys.

Considering all touchpoints, planners have also designed a new touchless registration process, with a focus on self-service and pre-determined arrival times. For instance, Together Again Expo attendees confirmed their attendance via QR code. Similarly, AAU Volleyball participants arrived at pre-determined times, and were admitted entrance as a team via a single one-way entrance following a successful health screening process.

Discover how sporting events are held at the OCCC:

Meeting Safely

Additionally, following a countywide mask mandate, all attendees, exhibitors, speakers and employees are required to wear a face covering while inside the OCCC. Ambassadors are also located throughout the building to ensure compliance to this mandate, and post-event sentiment reports revealed that attendees were in favor of the mandate, with many feeling safer because of the policy. With 2.1 million square feet of exhibit space, the OCCC has plenty of room for physical distancing.

In partnership with Orlando Health and Visit Orlando, the OCCC offers its unique medical concierge service for the events through 2020. This first-of-its-kind program provides a safer environment for guests by offering a vast network of health-care services and expertise, to further safeguard attendees and instill confidence. “Together, our region has worked on a very measured and carefully implemented plan to keep our convention and trade show attendees safe,” said Mark Tester, executive director at the OCCC.

Safety and Sanitation

As a Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR accredited venue, the OCCC has implemented a series of rigorous sanitation protocols for events. Following a comprehensive sanitation schedule, staff thoroughly disinfects the venue each evening, and has introduced numerous enhanced cleaning measures throughout the move-in, move-out, and event process, including the sanitation of the general session area, all furniture and seating areas, expo hall disinfection, and regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces. The OCCC also disinfects the Expo Halls and General Session Area throughout the duration of the events with electrostatic foggers.

Success, and a Way Forward

With no illnesses or cases reported following any trade show, sporting, or consumer event, the measures taken by the OCCC demonstrate how to hold live events with the nation’s new normal. Offering a blueprint to navigating live events, the OCCC is leading the way by implementing the necessary tools, strategies, and methods to allow us to meet safely today for a stronger tomorrow.

“These unprecedented times have put our strength to the test, but the Convention Center District and the OCCC has proven to be more resilient than ever,” Tester said. “We are working hand in hand with our community and local government partners to make sure that International Drive is ready and prepared for attendees and exhibitors when they return.”

See the convention and trade show of the future through the Together Again Expo:

Top 5 Reasons to Book the OCCC

Recovery and resiliency guidelines — The OCCC is the first to release data-driven guidelines to provide a framework to prevent risk and protect clients, guests and attendees.

Proven safety protocol — The OCCC successfully hosted the Amateur Athletic Union Junior National Volleyball Championships, Together Again Expo and the Florida Wedding Expo with no reported illnesses or cases.

Global Biorisk Advisory Council Star Accreditation —The OCCC maintains a comprehensive cleaning, disinfection and infectious diseases prevention program to control and minimize risk.

Regional readiness — Through Orange County Economic Task Force, Central Florida has launched a measured, careful and safe approach to reopening.

Medical concierge program — The first of its kind, Orlando Health provides personalized medical services and resources to groups holding events at the OCCC through 2020.

Orange County Convention Center

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