By Antoinette Redmond
As the Events Industry slowly and cautiously starts emerging after 16 long months of confinements, and we’re still dealing with trying to align with Covid-19 being able to go out into the world, and start to enjoy life feels like nothing short of a dream and hopefully we will be able to get back to doing what we do best.
As Event professionals, we have added responsibilities, keeping our clients, staff and guests safe while keeping up to date and adhering to different countries’ covid protocols. We need to reflect on some considerations that have changed how we organise and execute our events going forward for the future so we can stay connected.
The new reality, the event industry has had to re-invent the way it holds events. Hybrid gives us the best of both worlds, some people attending in person depending on restrictions at the time and others choosing to attend online from the comfort of their own home or office. The creative minds of the events industry has brought the Hybrid model to great lengths from hosting a business seminar, product launch, conference, staff party to live streaming a music festival or charity event to anywhere around the world without having to cap ticket sales. All that’s needed is an excellent internet connection, good cameras and a good technician, your show producers and directors. The main feature that makes any of these virtual events work is the user interface it uses for the presentations and how easy it is to find the sessions and content that make any virtual event worthwhile for those who attend. Your event can be recorded if there is a lot of information content and this can be shared and accessed at a later date.
Although there is a lot of excitement around hosting a in-person event, the last 16 months has taught us that we can’t take anything for granted and that things have changed but choosing to host a hybrid event gives you a contingency plan should the situation change again. It is also a very sustainable way of operating events. Hybrid Events are here to stay for the future.
The Reset Button
When everything eventually gets back to the so called normal it will still have a sense of unpredictability and will be quite challenging so let’s reset and plan your journey. First and foremost, safety is the number one consideration, safety protocols like mask-wearing, hand washing stations, and socially distanced seating may be the norm at in-person events for a while. Some events are choosing to require either proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test for admission. It’s all in the planning, you want your event to be the stand out event of the year after months of doom and gloom. Engage with your client, build trust, be transparent about the rules and safety regulations prior to the event make your client and their guests feel safe while having the time of their life. Look at the positives of hosting an event and the value you will get from it from your delegates.
During this pandemic, many companies have cut their events budgets as live in person events couldn’t happen. The lingering economic impacts of the pandemic will be felt for a while. However connectivity and engagement are hugely important. So as a business PLANIT were able to utilize the technologies and platforms available to be able to create and host great events and solutions for our clients and now virtual and hybrid events will be part of our day to day how we do events in the future.
Event organisers and clients for hosting hybrid events in the future still need to consider the increased cost of things like extra cleaning measures, cleaning supplies and pre-packaged food, extra staff which could add to the budget of producing an in-person events.
This time last year when so many in-person events were cancelled, postponed or moved to virtual formats. It was such an unpredictable time in our lives but one that taught us that we could communicate, hit the road running getting up to speed with technology. Engaging with our clients, getting the creative minds working, being resilient and still keep the show on the road.
It’s time to rise to the occasion of safely returning to the office environment, having the face-to-face interactions with colleagues and much more which has been missing in our life for the past year or so. However, amidst the chaos of returning, the organisation and individuals have to re-consider the work-style to continue to restore the work-life balance that most of us discovered during the COVID. The lost commute time, the water cooler catch ups definitely was utilised in few self-love activities like exercise, power naps and more.
“We are social creatures and virtual or hybrid events will never fully replace face-to-face meetings.”
Clients are excited to return to live, in-person events. “We are social creatures and virtual or hybrid events will never fully replace face-to-face meetings.” says Antoinette. The need to maybe shake hands, hug and generally share the same space is invaluable. However, finally this experience has shown us that virtual can answer some educational needs better, and especially if we combine it with a face-to-face meeting, the results in terms of education can be much better than when just utilising one of the methods. I expect that the last quarter of this year will allow much of the meetings and events industry to finally get back to what they do best and plan and host some fantastic events into the future.
But for now as we evolve we are delighted to continue to work with our customers on solutions for their businesses that will continue to help them connect and engage through both creative and technology.