Risk experts lead return to face-to-face events

Risk Management Institute of Australasia (RMIA) Conference 2022

Fast facts

Event: Risk Management Institute of Australasia (RMIA) Conference 2022

Dates: 30 March – 1 April 2022

Venue: Sofitel Melbourne on Collins

Challenge

The Risk Management Institute of Australasia (RMIA) is the largest professional risk management institution in the Asia Pacific region. Due to Covid-19, it had been two years since the RMIA had hosted members in-person at its annual Risk Conference and Risk Awards.

With the easing of travel and social distancing restrictions in early 2022, RMIA leadership believed it was time to bring the risk management community back together. This was supported by a member survey in which more than half of respondents indicated a willingness to attend a face-to-face conference.

At a time when many events were still in virtual and hybrid format, the RMIA set the challenge to reconnect its members and be one of the first in-person conferences to return to Melbourne.

Solutions

Aware that some members would still be hesitant to attend an in-person event while others may face challenges with travel, the RMIA adjusted its expectations around registrations. It set a goal of 200 delegates, instead of the normal 400. The motivating factor was not to match pre-pandemic levels of attendance but to take a first step towards bringing its community back together.

In accordance with its risk management plan, careful consideration went into choosing the right venue. The Sofitel Melbourne on Collins was selected for its ALLSAFE program which included stringent standards in hygiene, guest contact and food safety that exceeded government regulations. The venue was large enough to allow for adequate physical distancing while also enabling discussion and networking among delegates.

To help alleviate delegate concerns, the RMIA kept members informed of the reasons for its venue choice via marketing and social media. It also published a LinkedIn editorial by RMIA CEO Simon Levy in which he explained why he would be abstaining from the traditional handshake during the conference and offered alternative Covid-Safe ways delegates could greet each other.

Upon opening the conference, the event MC reassured delegates that there were no expectations around greetings. A sanitising station was set up for delegates and hand-held microphones were sanitised after each use. Event management staff wore masks as an added precaution.

Outcomes

The RMIA’s decision to bring the risk management community back together was reinforced when its goal of 200 registrations was achieved and it became one of the first in-person conferences to be held in Melbourne since Covid-19 restrictions were enforced.

While there were challenges, including reduced delegate numbers and some late speaker cancellations, it was demonstrated that with the right measures in place, a face-to-face conference could be held safely and successfully. This came down to flexibility throughout the event management process, setting new expectations for success, and thorough risk management.