It’s hard to say with certainty how events will look in the future, but one thing is certain: it will be different. 

With event venues suspending operations and planners across the globe reevaluating the future of the industry, many are trying to figure out a way to make events in the coming months safe and fun.

Currently, most events are either canceled or postponed until the number of cases in their respective communities has declined. Industry leaders are strategizing about how to make people comfortable and safe while attending events. 

DIGITAL + IN-PERSON EVENTS

In March, organizers of the globally attended South by Southwest (SXSW) conference had to make the tough decision to cancel its event for the first time in its 34-year history. While the in-person sessions were called off, the SXSW team pivoted quickly to continue incorporating an online experience. In coordination with Amazon, SXSW made a number of videos available to view online for free. SXSW also hosted several online sessions. 

SXSW + Amazon PrimeAn online component to events in the future may no longer just be optional, but essential. While some are eager to bust out of their homes and socialize, many are hesitant to attend large gatherings. In order to accommodate both groups, it will be important to have sessions people can attend IRL or online. 

Some conferences like Advertising Week, which is hosted annually across cities around the world, already offer Digital Passes for those who can’t attend in person but still want to glean insight from marketing peers. While these passes are offered at a discounted rate than the general passes, they typically do not include all sessions. Only a select number of talks are made available online 24 hours after the live session.

KEEPING PEOPLE ENGAGED

Speakers will also need to develop interesting ways to showcase their topics for the streaming folks. Right now, many speakers are using platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Groups, or Google Hangouts to host online sessions. But what ways can they make it more engaging? Enhancing the quality of the video production will help make the overall experience better for attendees. Instead of sitting behind a desk in their home offices, speakers can consider investing in some professional-grade lighting and a microphone. 

It’s easy to get distracted when watching a computer screen, so finding creative ways to make the people who are watching from home feel like they are a part of the action is essential. For example, incorporate ways attendees can submit questions to moderators of panels, or ship a swag box that includes items from various participating companies that attendees would have received if they attended the conference in person. 

WFH Swag Box

STAYING SAFE

With the quarantine lasting months, many people are anxious to leave their houses and get back to the way things were before the pandemic struck. And while some parts of the country are opening up, event planners are having to navigate new territories to ensure attendee safety.

In addition to having the usual physical safety precautions, like first responders on-site, planners need to set up ways to ensure airborne illnesses stay at bay. Investing in hand sanitizing stations or providing face masks will be essential to help give some people a sense of peace.

face masksChanges in how the event is set up will be an integral part of the planning phase, including limiting the number of people per session, spacing out chairs, utilizing larger networking rooms with fewer people, spacing out lines, and having protocols for disinfecting surfaces.

LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL

Whether you make your events online, in-person, or both, be sure to have a strong communication plan in place to help your attendees feel confident and safe at your event! Freestyle Creative would love to help with any event planning or event marketing needs you may have. Visit our contact page and let’s chat!