The pandemic has made one thing clear – going forward, it is going to be ‘customer first. Also obvious is the need for further evolution, especially in industries such as event management.
As the world emerges from the pandemic, it is becoming apparent that every industry has evolved during this period of involuntary hibernation. What is also obvious is the need for further evolution, especially in industries such as event management.
In 2020, events depended completely on virtual setups. But this year, because of robust vaccination efforts, hybrid events are finding a place on the calendar. Though many events will continue to remain virtual in 2021, there are a good many that will be a healthy blend of in-person and virtual participation.
To test waters, there have even been a few courageous efforts to stage live events. Since live, virtual and hybrid have to co-exist now, the event industry must adjust to make this it’s new normal. The challenge is to transform virtual and hybrid events in such a way that they emit the same enthusiastic vibe as live events. Especially because people are now experiencing a phenomenon called ‘Zoom fatigue’.
Different industries are taking measures in various capacities to adapt. The apparel industry, for example, has been organizing virtual events for its seasonal fairs but is backing them up with the option of letting virtual participants order fabric samples by the meter. After all, the apparel industry cannot do without the ‘touch’ factor. Wedding planners are dividing guest lists into in-person invites and virtual attendees and then live streaming the event.
As the event industry goes through this transformational phase, here are some factors that will help event planners along the way:
Maximum use of digital capabilities
Like it or not, the virtual platform is here to stay. So ramp up your digital prowess and provide a hybrid solution. Hafla (LINK) can get you hooked up with all the latest tech that you will need for your event. There is always going to be that set of people who will find that the physical venue is ‘too crowded’ for their comfort.
Plus point: Your reach will increase by leaps and bounds – even the laziest can connect from their couches!
Following government directives
Every planner’s mantra for a successful and safe live/hybrid event has to be government directives on health and safety. To be better informed, keep an eye on the international situation as well.
Plus point: Without strong adherence to official protocol, the risk of everything going back to a 100% virtual is very tangible. You will actually help keep the industry alive!
Filtering the guest list
The key to a hybrid event is the number of guests. Filter your list in such a way that you have part in-person and part virtual attendance. Limiting the number of guests is not the answer – being able to distribute them over both platforms is the new measure of success.
Plus point: Other than increased attendance, you will have satisfied guests in the Zoom-fatigued lot who prefer to attend.
Selecting the right venue
It’s surprising that even when virtual rules, the venue is still an important factor. A hybrid model event must be staged at a venue that is large enough to space out your in-person guests at a comfortable/government-approved distance. Overcrowding may lead to health and safety concerns.
Plus point: Weather permitting, choose a pretty, open to sky venue that will be a bonus for your live stream!
Buffets are easily one of the biggest casualties of the post-pandemic event industry. What works now is packed or ready-to-go meals, finger foods, disposable crockery, and cutlery spaced out seating at sit-downs and regulating the crowd at the catering area.
Plus point: You get to cut down the extra frills. Which doesn’t mean that tacky works, just that minimal is a thing now!