Entrance examination of the Laurea University of Applied Sciences, organised by Messukeskus Helsinki and in co-operation with Laurea, took place October 26-29, 2020 in Messukeskus Helsinki, Expo and Convention Centre. The show welcomed 5,000 participants (1,100 to 1,450 persons/day) over 4 days!
What % of the attendees were international (exhibitors, visitors): Laurea is an international university of applied sciences with approximately 7,800 students. The exact number of international applicants during this entrance examination not informed.
What were the most important factors contributing to the re-opening events overall success?
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced organizations around the world to transform their work into the digital environment. In Finnish universities this has led to social distancing at campuses and learning through distance learning. To organize the entrance examination, Laurea had to find large premises and the event organizer, who could ensure that adequate safety precautions could be implemented in the event, including safety distances and other protective measures. Messukeskus Helsinki could offer extensive halls and suitable equipment for applicants, to applicants with special needs and to supervisory staff. What is more, Messukeskus had prepared for the corona safety since spring, raised the hygiene level remarkably, published complete safety instructions already in summer 2020 and trained its entire staff in specified hygiene and safety practices. Efficient air-conditioning and in some places up to 14 meters high hall facilities improve safety at Messukeskus, too.
What were the biggest challenges you faced, expected and unexpected, during the event?
No major issues arose during the examination. All applicants followed carefully the instructions of the Laurea University and Messukeskus Helsinki.
What key advice would you give colleague event and venue managers to help them better prepare for a reopening?
- The basis for everything is planning. In our case the careful safety instructions and the professional hands-on staff of Messukeskus Helsinki, convincing the client that it was safe to bring thousands of people together.
- As this was a guest event and a new type of event for the venue, it was essential to carefully make detailed plans and to design set-up and safety policies in close co-operation with the client.
- Rely on the UFI guidelines for event organizers, and carefully consider the instructions of local health authorities.