No one can deny that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected all facets of our lives, including face-to-face gatherings. Now that restrictions and mandates have been somewhat relaxed, people are yearning to shed their comfy sweats and pajamas, stop Zoomin’, and get back to making real emotional connections. Event managers recognize this and although virtual and hybrid events are seen as a way forward (there are too many benefits for event managers to give them the old heave-ho), they’re still trying to satisfy clients who prefer in-person events.
As an event manager operating in the post-Covid-19 space, you’ll be tasked with not only ensuring an enriching experience for in-person attendees but a safe one as well. Despite relaxed restrictions and decreasing case numbers, the pandemic is still in force. To give attendees something worth shedding their jammies for, you’ll need to consider the following practices when planning your events:
1. Consider the Why’s
To have a successful event and ensure that attendees have a positive experience, it’s important to consider why you’re holding the event in the first place. Are you looking to boost revenue or strengthen your brand message? What does your audience hope to gain by attending your event? Even with safety measures in place, attendees expect to see your creativity and innovation on full display. Deliver the goods and they’ll likely attend future events.
If you can create an environment in which you meet company goals and give attendees valuable take-aways, you’ll strike gold.
2. Take It Outside
Outdoor spaces have become a safer option for everything from baby showers to restaurant dining, so why not consider an outdoor setting for your events? If your events will take place in locales with favorable weather year-round, you won’t have to schedule them during the spring and summer months only.
Be prepared to provide tents, porta-johns, and, of course, PPE (personal protective equipment) like masks and temperature check devices. This will increase your costs and staffing needs but if it will show that you take the health and safety of your attendees seriously, it’s worth it.
3. Keep ‘Em Connected But Not Too Close
Post-Covid, event managers will need to foster opportunities for attendees to connect yet remain safe. Once events are back in “full swing”, most venues won’t be at full capacity and social distancing will likely still be in place. Consider incorporating additional safety signs and entry and exit points in your event spaces when planning the layout. Some companies are opting for larger facilities and creative layouts to aid in keeping attendees safely distanced.
For added safety, make as many of your processes (from check-in to photo ops) contactless. Take advantage of technology to accomplish this. When promoting your event, convey the safety measures that will be implemented. Although some attendees may be comfortable throwing caution to the wind and doing the “mask whip-off”, there are some who will still want to see sound safety measures in place.
4. Gamify the Experience
Whether your event takes place in an indoor or outdoor space, optimize attendees’ experience by gamifying it. Award prizes to attendees who visit the most exhibits or sponsor booths. Put on your creativity cap and find ways to enhance the experience for attendees while driving more traffic to sponsor booths. Want attendees to visit specific booths (i.e. for top sponsors)? Motivate them by holding contests (with prizes) directed at those particular booths.
Encourage and incentivize attendees to join social media conversations and post about the event.
5. Hybrid For the Win
Although there’s a push for returning to live events, the hybrid event format can be beneficial to both event managers and attendees. For event managers (and their clients), eliminating geographic restrictions leads to increased attendance and reduced costs. Attendees benefit by being able to attend an event without having to travel across the country in some cases. They’re also able to connect with and share feedback with like-minded individuals.
According to Joanne Dennison, School of Hospitality adjunct professor of hospitality meeting and event planning at Boston University, “hybrid meetings will be the norm as opposed to the exception. People can attend face-to-face or virtually.” Again, this increase in attendance yields higher revenue for companies (in the form of registration fees) and allows those who can’t afford travel costs to participate in the event.
If the benefits of a hybrid event resonate with you, prepare to face what some event managers consider to be their biggest challenge when hosting hybrid events: connecting the two groups. In a survey conducted by Swapcard, of 352 event planners polled, 33.5% said engaging two audiences when hosting hybrid events was their biggest challenge. Most event managers seek to connect the two groups of attendees because they feel it allows for more organic networking opportunities and makes it easier for speakers and moderators to engage with all attendees.
To meet the growing demands for hybrid events and deal with this obstacle and others, eShow offers a full range of solutions that will help you accommodate both your virtual and in-person attendees and save time, money, and resources.
Planning an event at any time can be challenging but planning an event when a national health crisis is still in effect presents unique challenges. As companies and the general public yearn for returning to in-person gatherings, event managers are tasked with not only ensuring that attendees have a positive experience but that they have a safe one as well.
Post-Covid, hybrid events are expected to be around for a long time because of the benefits offered to event managers/clients and attendees. With adequate planning, creativity, and taking advantage of available technology, managers can provide all hybrid event attendees with opportunities to make meaningful connections whether they opt to attend virtually or live.
At eShow, we provide event managers with an event “safety net” by helping them move their in-person events (or part of the event) to a virtual format. Our robust platform:
– Allows for better ROI
– Allows event organizers to reach out to attendees who aren’t able to attend in person
– Allows for increased engagement between virtual and in-person attendees
We understand that enhancing the attendee experience is key to having a successful event so we make it easy for attendees and speakers/organizers to connect before, during, and after the event. We can provide everything you need to manage all aspects of your event – from planning to execution. From event branding to strategy to vendor management, we’re with you every step of the way.
Contact us today for a no-obligation demo.