How to Hold a Face-to-Face Meeting, in Pictures

Northstar's Destination West in Arizona provided a case study in Covid-conscious best practices at the Wigwam resort.

Destination West face-to-face event dinner

An enthusiastic group of 58 planners, suppliers, speakers and event staff experienced best-practices in Covid-conscious meetings last week near Phoenix. The event, Northstar Meetings Group’s Destination West in Arizona, was held at the Wigwam in Litchfield Park, Ariz. 

For most of the group, this marked their first in-person meeting since the pandemic began. All participants agreed to Northstar’s Code of Conduct, requiring physical distancing, face masks, temperature checks and other precautions. Carefully planned by Christy Froehlich, CMP, and Britt Schwendinger, DES, for Northstar, the agenda intentionally omitted cocktail receptions that could lead to close mingling without masks, or off-site outings that would require group transportation. 

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The Wigwam, a 440-acre resort with 331 individual guest units and a conference center all on one floor (no elevators), provided an ideal layout for the event’s protocols. The property’s own stringent guidelines for staff and guest safety were observed at all times.

Following is a photo journey depicting highlights of the meeting’s health and safety measures in action. (Photographs by Ketara Gadahn at Studio Alani)


The Wigwam, with its campus-style layout, was ideally suited to host Northstar’s Destination West in Arizona.


Attendees’ temperatures were checked and recorded daily before they entered the meeting space.

Destination West face-to-face meeting elbow tap

Participants greeted each other with elbow taps or "air hugs."

Destination West liability waiver

Liability waivers were signed twice — first online as part of the registration process, and again on-site.

Destination West plexiglass registration desk

Plexiglas added a layer of protection at the meeting registration desk.

Destination West used pens sterilized

Used pens were placed in the "dirty" jar to be sanitized before future use.

Destination West outdoor table settings

Group dinners were held outdoors, with a maximum of four people per table.

Destination West signage

Signage throughout the Wigwam detailed the resort’s safety protocols, including mandatory mask wearing and physical distancing.

Destination West hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer was never far from reach, inside and outside the property, and throughout the meeting space.

Destination West face masks

Masks were removed to eat or drink — only while seated and appropriately distanced — but otherwise worn at all times. (pictured: Northstar’s Loren Edelstein and keynote speaker Christopher Hodges)

Destination West indoor meals masks

The same protocols applied for breakfast and lunch, which were held indoors: Masks on when not eating 

Destination West servers

Break stations were staffed at all times, with every cup of coffee or other snack prepared or presented by gloved servers.

Destination West Safety Wellness Awareness Team spray

The Wigwam’s Safety Wellness Awareness Team, identified with orange SWAT uniforms, sanitized microphones with electrostatic spray between each presenter.

Destination West Christopher Hodges

All speakers wore masks when approaching the stage and took them off to speak, once safely distanced from all participants. (Pictured, keynote speaker Christopher Hodges)

Destination West appointment table

Six-foot tables kept buyers and suppliers at a distance during one-on-one appointments. Masks were worn throughout these meetings.

Destination West wide aisles

Directional signs indicated one-way traffic through wide aisles on exhibit floor. Appointment times were staggered so that fewer people were moving tables simultaneously.

Destination West linen change 2

Our linen-change trick: A stack of cloth napkins was placed on the planner side of each table. Following their meetings, planners placed the napkin they had touched into a bin, leaving a fresh spot for the next appointment.

Destination West conclusion

The event concluded with participants agreeing to provide feedback on the event, and to share best practices with one another as we navigate the challenges ahead.