We’re starting to see the light at the other end of the tunnel! Vaccines in the United States are readily available and local, state, and federal governments are beginning to lift restrictions, allowing people to return to in-person events. While we’re optimistic, the reality is, no snap of the fingers will get us back to a time of pre-Covid events. With Covid-19 as an ever-present factor, event planners now have an additional layer to their job; one that includes advance planning, contingency plans, safety precautions and more expenses.
According to Meeting Planners International’s Spring 2021 Meetings Outlook Report, an unprecedented 81% of meeting professionals predict positive business conditions over the coming 12 months. We know your customers are likely seeking your input on how to create engaging events that bring people together safely. At AIA, we’ve found these three considerations help ensure a successful event.
Hybrid Events Are Here to Stay
While some participants are excited to meet in person, hybrid events provide the flexibility, safety and convenience participants have come to expect. Need another reason? Participants are likely to appreciate a hybrid component if they aren’t comfortable explaining their concerns for not attending in person. Keep in mind, event planners now must cater to two audiences and produce experiences that will specifically engage participants on location and at home.
We recently discussed some tips to help plan for a successful hybrid event. Some of our key takeaways included: curating experiences that will make a lasting impression and boost engagement; finding opportunities for sponsors to cover costs while raising their brand awareness; and ensuring in-person participants feel safe.
Plan for Staffing, Space and Supply Chain Shortages
As eager as some people may be to return to in-person events, the event industry is still playing catch-up. Many event spaces are operating with limited staff, leading to reduced availability and smaller events. This factor, combined with the fact that many people are re-booking their postponed events, means that meeting spaces are at a premium.
Event planners will also want to give some of their vendors more lead time. Supply chain issues and low inventory levels require more planning and creativity. Not to mention that very few suppliers are taking rush orders. What used to take five days to produce, can now take 10-15 days. And don’t forget about the time needed to drop ship items to virtual participants. With all this in mind, print and promotional products should be thought through and confirmed well in advance of the event date.
With all these considerations for in-person events and creating an equally compelling experience for remote participants, time is of the essence.
Safety Precautions Are a Must
Involving a safety director or a team member or vendor who is certified in COVID-19 compliance will help the event team implement the right protocols––all of which are necessary to establish trust and make participants feel safe. From masks, sanitization stations, touchless technology, signage, carefully planned event flow to minimize gathering, all these components should be clearly communicated to participants well in advance, so they know their wellbeing is a priority and feel comfortable attending.
We are excited that your customers are beginning to plan in-person events! If you need more ideas and information about how to counsel your customers on in-person and hybrid events, partner with the promo experts at AIA. We have a talented team who is always on top of new and upcoming trends, and you’ll have access to our community of distributors to share ideas that are working in the current market. Join AIA today! Click here to learn more!