Event management has been dramatically impacted by Covid-19. New protocols have been put in place to protect the health and safety of attendees, protocols which have had the effect of making profitability an issue for many event planners and venue owners. Understanding what events planning will look like in the future is key for making good business decisions.
Consequently, Congrex’s report on the future of events planning could not have come at a better time. The traumatic impact of Covid-19 on the industry is still being felt. With some countries easing lockdowns and some semblance of normalcy returning, we can now begin to think about in-person, or live events. The crucial question is whether live events post-Covid-19, will look like events pre-Covid-19.
The evidence suggests that certain changes are permanent and that events planners will have to adapt to new conditions. If we do not prepare for this, we will not be able to meet the challenges of tomorrow.
Here are some aspects of the future of events that we chose to highlight. .
What Does The Future Of Events Look Like?
Even with the increasing likelihood of a Covid-19 vaccine within the next 12 months, many people will be weary about attending events in-person for some time. Events managers will have to balance those fears with a need to resume live events. This implies small events with easily manageable audiences for at least the near-term.
Social distancing requirements also mean that physical spaces will be designed with social distancing in mind, so certain kinds of events will remain impossible, for example, round table discussions, and networking events with many one-on-one contacts.
We have to make peace with the fact that social distancing is likely to be with us for a long time. Though event management assumes at its base that physical contact and proximity are important, the industry will have to continue to reimagine itself divorced from those ideas. We will have to get used to excess space, booking large venues for small groups will be the norm for a long time to come. Seating arrangements will change. For example, rather than continuing with the theatre style of seating, we will need to move to U-style seating.
In cases where you cannot find venue space to rent that has one large room, individual rooms will have to be connected via video.
The virtual component of events is going to be an intimate part of events planning, with 90% of event marketers committed to spending on virtual events, as this chart from the Bizabbo Blog shows:
It is important to realize that historically, only 25% of event planners have invested in virtual events.
Mobile Apps and Social Media
As the chart below, courtesy of the Bizzabo Blog shows, attendee engagement is a vital part of successful management of virtual events in the future.
Engagement is not only important for virtual events, it can be used to improve the quality of live events. Social media pages and mobile apps can be used to improve attendee engagement while also minimizing physical contact. For example, rather than passing a mic around, speakers can post questions or comments via the event hashtag. Or, people can send questions to the speaker’s screen with their phones, using event apps.