Shopping centers know how to throw great events, and after months of staying at home, people are ready to get out. But hosting events and maintaining safe physical distancing can be tricky. With the holidays just around the corner, we asked Marketing Manager, Nicole Young of RioCan’s Burlington Centre to share details about their recent DRIVE-IN MOVIE SPOOKTACULAR event, and her thoughts on how to get event hosting right.
PW: Earlier this year in an interview about shopping centers preparing to reopen, the President and COO at RioCan, Jonathan Gitlin said “The worst thing you can do is confuse people,” “People want to feel safe. They want to feel like they’re in an organized environment." What were some of the things you did to make sure everyone felt safe?
NY: We required a minimum of 2 metres distance between vehicles and required that guests stay in their vehicles at all times (unless it was an emergency, using the washroom or picking up food/drinks). Any guests outside of their vehicles were required to wear a mask and we had hand sanitizer available at all food pick up locations and washroom areas. We also made sure to disinfect and clean any trafficked areas and washrooms regularly.
PW: We were very happy to work with Burlington Centre on providing the reservation system for this event that helped track and maintain attendance. How did that work for the event? Is this something you can see using after things get back to normal?
NY: Tickets were available on our website and were limited to the number of spots we had available. The spots were then available on a first come, first park basis and we made sure the license plate provided on the registration matched the license plate of the vehicle at the event.
PW: You also used a cool mobile app to give attendees the real drive-in experience - can you tell us more about that?
NY: We encouraged visitors to download the GetintheLoop App ahead of time so they could order food and refreshments during the show from our retailers.
PW: How did it go? Anything you learned or would do differently?
NY: The movie night was well received by the community. The event sold out within one hour of going live. A total of 100 cars per evening attended the event.
Movie goers generously donated to the Gift of Giving Back charity who supports families in need with cash donations and non perishable food items. Overall a very successful event that was embraced by the community.