You know those moments in life that make you feel an insane amount of happiness just sparkling within you? The experiences that make time stand still for a minute, the ones that make you look around and think this right here is what life is all about. The moments that you want to bottle up and keep with you so that you can relive them over and over again.
Many of those moments for me happen when I’m at an event. And I’m willing to bet that I’m not alone in that feeling. Think about it, so many feel-good moments are born from gathering together and celebrating special occasions — weddings, birthday parties, concerts, fundraisers, personal development workshops, sporting championships, etc.
I miss events, and I miss the feelings they bring me.
COVID-19 uprooted our “normal”, and although rules and restrictions are loosening up, it’s going to take awhile for life as we know it to return. Just because Safer-at-Home orders are lifting doesn’t mean the pandemic is over and we’ll go back to our pre-Coronavirus, day-to-day routines. Life is going to be strange for a while, and with that, we can expect events to be different for a while too.
When in-person events are reintroduced, things are going to look a bit different than what we’re used to seeing (at least for a certain period of time). Here are 10 predictions for our post-Coronavirus gatherings:
1. Small, local events will be popular.
Event hosts will likely be scaling back their large gatherings into smaller events. It’s going to be awhile before we see our thousand-person conferences reconvene — smaller, local events are key to minimizing risk and exposure. Plus, attendees aren’t going to want to travel (at least not for awhile); so, expecting people to fly cross country to your event is unrealistic right out of the gate.
2. Event schedules will be cut back and shortened.
Again, this is another step that will decrease exposure and risk. The less time spent together right now, the better.
3. We’re going to see an increase in outdoor events.
Moving outdoors will allow for more space, and right now space is the key word.
4. Registration questionnaires might be lengthy and in-depth.
Event planners will likely spend more time tracking who is attending their event, where these people have traveled to in the past two weeks, and what their recent health history looks like. Obviously, people’s privacy will be a concern (and there’ll be a fine line between trying to protect your attendees and invading their privacy), but planners will need to do their part to gather information about the people attending their events so they can detect and mitigate risk, and potentially communicate with these people post-event should any attendee come down with symptoms of COVID-19.
5. Entrances into event venues will look different.
Imagine the same rules you’ve seen implemented at grocery stores: stickers on the ground every 6 ft. so attendees don’t stand too close in line to one another, hand sanitizing stations, designated doors for entering and separate ones for exiting, specific registration times to prevent everyone arriving all at once, etc.
6. Temperature checks at the door might be the norm for a while.
Not only that, but masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, tissue packs, and other hygiene items will likely be included in event goody bags. Be sure to reach out to your local promotional products distributor for the best in branded wellness items!
7. Activities, tables, booths, and other event stations will be spaced out.
Event hosts will be less concerned about trying to fit as many people as possible into the event, and more concerned about giving attendees the peace of mind that their safety and well-being is at the top of the priority list.
8. Extra event staff will be on site to frequently disinfect and sanitize high traffic areas.
Cleaning wipes and multi-purpose cleaner will be the cool new event accessory.
9. Food and beverage service is going to look different.
Say goodbye to buffets and hello to pre-packaged individual meals. I can see event planners using this as an opportunity to showcase their creativity by offering meals in fun, grab-and-go containers. Passed hors d’oeuvres and cocktails won’t exist for a period of time, but something better will replace them, I’m sure. I truly see F&B as a limitless artistic opportunity for caterers and planners.
10. Creativity will reign.
Going off of my last point, I think we’re going to see the best in creativity moving forward. Event planners are (for the most part) adapters, outside-the-box thinkers, and innovators, and when they’re forced into uncharted territory, they use it as an opportunity to challenge themselves to out-smart, out-create, and out-do their past work. I’m excited to see what my fellow event planners, managers, and coordinators are capable of under these conditions!
Events aren’t going away, they’re just going to look different for a while. It’s possible too that maybe we’ve been doing events wrong this whole time and some of these new event trends will be here to stay.
Events will certainly look different in the months to come, but what won’t change are the feelings that events bring us. Humans crave experiences, we crave those moments that make time stand still for a minute, the ones that make you look around and think this right here is what life is all about. We’re going to experience those moments again, and when we do, be sure to soak them in and appreciate them a little extra.