Over the past two pandemic years, the world has undergone some major changes, a period of time that has seen the events industry, among others, come under huge pressure. With restrictions on indoor capacities and a population less willing to be in the physical presence of others, the events industry is now adapting to a form of event delivery that will define the future of events as we know it.
There’s a lot more to consider when bringing delegates back to venues, so it’s vital that event organizers consider how the pandemic has impacted live events and are willing to adapt their approach in line with emerging trends.
In-person events are back: In-person events are truly irreplaceable and attendees are eager to return to face-to-face interactions. With that in mind, event safety must be top priority if event organisers want to avoid cancellations or postponements. Most organisers and attendees have already adjusted to the new rules of attending in-person events. Many eager attendees will gladly comply with new events’ rules if they are pre-warned ahead of time and prepared, especially when it comes to travel restrictions. This information must be clearly communicated on your event website. Make it a point to revisit and get familiar with cancellation and booking policies, given the uncertainty and volatile nature of COVID-19. Also, note that event venues, staff and vital event services are in high demand – so book early and work quickly and efficiently.
Virtual events will remain popular: Virtual events are not going anywhere any time soon. Despite the return to in-person events, there is an existing infrastructure available that makes hosting events virtually more efficient than ever before. Attendees are already used to logging into virtual hosting platforms such as Zoom to enjoy a virtual event. After witnessing a boom in the business, tech companies will continue to innovate, upgrade and pivot their product(s) to stay relevant post-pandemic. It is evident that virtual events will still be used across many event platforms for years to come.
Hybrid events: This type of event combines physical presence and the power of technology and other resources to make it successful. Even if you’ve done it before, keeping everything running smoothly isn’t always easy. Challenges include cost, complexity and risks that come with using different platforms and tools, as well as creating an engaging event inclusive of all attendees (in-person and virtual). Therefore, it is crucial to create a strategy that will help virtual attendees stay engaged and feel valued as those attending in person with the help of interactive tools such as live chat, polls and Q&A, and social networking. Implementing a single platform that supports your event size and format is key to planning a successful hybrid event. When investing in technology, be sure to research and select the proper platform that best fits your needs to minimise the cost of managing multiple systems. Last but not least, bear in mind that internet hitches or glitches during events will disrupt not only your online audience’s experience but also your in-person attendees. For your hybrid event to run smoothly, provide uninterrupted audio and video to all participants (in-person and virtual).
Think Diversity and Inclusivity!
Diversity and inclusivity are becoming imperative for hosting successful events. It is an opportunity to add depth to the event by celebrating diverse perspectives. From pre-event planning to on-site event management, incorporate inclusivity into the picture. Here are some factors to consider:
- Avoid unconscious bias in the speaker selection process as people are more likely to attend if they see a varied speaker panel.
- Form a selection committee from a diverse group of people or select expert speakers based on different backgrounds.
- Use non-discriminatory language such as gender or racially neutral words in all communications.
- Provide real-time translation services for speakers and participants as needed.
- Choose a space with elevators and wheelchair ramps for those with physical disabilities.
- Provide virtual platforms that facilitate access for attendees with visual or hearing impairments.