The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak sent everyone scrambling to adjust. Businesses closed, employers sent their employees home, and events and meetings had to stop altogether. The world came to a stunned standstill, but as it slowly opens up again, people have to go back to the drawing board.
Even as vaccinations continue to be doled out, we have to be careful not to kick the COVID-19 safety guidelines and regulations to the curb. In addition to encouraging mask-wearing, social distancing, and frequent handwashing
, leaders must keep their participants safe. They have to adjust to the new normal while ensuring the spread of the virus is limited and avoided.
But as COVID-19 shapes how various industries operate, what does this mean for the events and meetings industry? Can they move from fixed virtual interactions to more physical ones?
The answer is that virtual events and meetings aren't going anywhere, at least for the time being. According to co-founder Alon Alroy of CMO and CCO of Bizzabo, virtual events will remain even as in-person meetings increase.
But this brings us to the following 2021 trends that are currently shaping the world of events and meetings.
The Increase in Hybrid Meetings
Since virtual meetings aren't about to go away anytime soon, event planners are starting to embrace the hybrid model. The hybrid model is where both virtual and physical meetings are held. This allows a few people to meet and interact physically, while others join virtually.
Doing this augments the effort to maintain social distancing and avoid the spread and contraction of the virus. Additionally, it allows those that crave face-to-face interactions to have one. It also allows those that are still wary of travel and physical interactions can stick to attending virtually.
But perhaps the main advantage in not ruling out the virtual aspect of meetings and events include:
- Those that are unable to attend due to financial reasons can join virtually
- It allows event planners and Corporate and Association Meetings to have a wider reach
- Help encourage diversity and inclusivity
COVID-19 forced event planners to do one of two things:
- Some had to shut down their event planning business and start a new career
- Others struggled to go digital
Those that successfully migrated their event business online, according to research, still prefer in-person meetings and interaction. This is because they noticed that their attendees had a problem networking. Additionally, they tend to experience what is termed as video call exhaustion, which can lower engagement considerably.
This is where Micro- events come in. Micro-events are essentially events that hold a few attendees. The low number of people is designed to ensure safety in terms of virus contraction and spread.
Ensuring few attendees is in keeping with the CDC regulations
to COVID-19. Moreover, it allows attendees to network on a more personal level with others and even their planners.
The hybrid model can also come into play here. That is, the micro- event can either be done independently of any virtual attendants or with. It all depends on what the planner is trying to achieve in that particular event or meeting.
Virtual Meetings with Broadcast DYI Production
With at least a year of running virtual events, consumer behavior is bound to change. Holding a virtual event from your backyard won't meet the cut as consumers expect quality improvement. That is, not just camera quality improvement, but the content you deliver.
The content is the reason people flock to your events and meetings. Keep it engaging, relatable, but also improve their experience by setting up a studio. A studio equipped with LED lights and quality backgrounds lend an air of importance. It shows your attendees just how seriously you take your job.
Onsite New Protocols
Ensuring the safety of the attendants and participants is of high importance. Setting up the necessary measures can help mitigate the spread of the virus. Additionally, it can make people feel comfortable enough to attend your event or corporate meeting. What measures can one use to achieve the above? They include:
Certified Planners Hiring Pandemic compliance certified planners could go a long way in mitigating risks.
Onsite Temperature Checks Having a high fever is one of the COVID-19 symptoms that we're told to look out for. Having onsite temperature check-ins can help identify those experiencing such a symptom. But according to WHO, temperature check-in can only do so much since some affected individuals may not have this particular symptom.
Therefore, complementing these temperature check-ins with onsite testing would be a safer bet.
Use of Touchless Session Scanners To avoid coming into contact with items that may or may not be contaminated, use touchless session scanners. This way, attendants will have to scan their event badges for allowed entry.
Get Rid of Long Shifts The staff shouldn't have to work long hours or shifts. Have them continuously interchange with each new event.
Use Signage for Doors Use signage as much as possible to remind people to practice safety regulations and guidelines. Use signage to show attendants the entrance, the exit, and even where the bathroom is. This will avoid overcrowding and confusion and encourage a more organized space.
The events and meetings industry are evolving, thanks to COVD-19. And as the pandemic takes on a new trajectory, people are encouraged to keep up with the changing trends. But knowing about them isn't enough; implementing them is the key to stay ahead and maintain an edge over competitors.
This is where we, as EMC Meetings & Events, come in. From fully automating your event to help ease the planning and impending process to offering strategic meeting management (SMM), there's little we can't do for you. Contact us today, and we can help effectively plan your next meeting.