In 2020, nothing went the way anyone thought it would. Kids were sent home from school. Trips were postponed. Weekly group gatherings were no longer in person. Events were canceled. One of the good parts about this year, however, was the availability of the internet. Even though we weren’t able to meet together this year in the same way we have in the past, the internet was, and still is, able to connect us in new ways. Online video chat services we created. The number of individuals working and going to school from home has skyrocketed. Screen time likely grew as well.
We have moved quickly towards a more electronic or virtual world than ever before. The event industry is most likely one of the largest industries that came to a halt earlier this year. This year’s VMAs were held to strict standards, as they pre-recorded the entire show, using proper social distancing practices, and no live audience. While it may not be like this forever, it’s safe to say liver in-person events are going to look very different in 2021, and possibly a few years to come.
Read below to find out exactly what events will most likely look like in 2021.
Some events are able to be in person, however there still are great conditions and restrictions in order for these to happen. The most basic conditions for in-person events right now is social distancing (6 foot distance), continual sanitation and disinfectant availability to all event goers, and wearing a mask in higher traffic areas. While these are the minimum requirements of in-person events, some are going beyond, with mandatory temperature checks and other testing for everyone before they enter the event.
Events will start coming back in phases based on each state’s different regulations or mandates. However, the general consensus is to come back in 3 stages.
Starting with Stage 1, groups will allow no more than 10 people to gather at once. Additionally, travel will be limited. Companies are now having local, satellite events which will allow for attendees to still experience the event but with little to no travel and less people gathered together.
Stage 2 will allow groups of up to 50 people gather together, with social distancing practices in place. Nonessential travel, or recreational travel, to the event will be allowed. Most large venues will be able to open and operate, however most likely not at full capacity and within proper distancing protocols.
Stage 3 is not much different from Stage 2. The main difference will be the ability for all large venues to operate. However, mass gatherings will still not be allowed to happen. Therefore this will most likely mean venues won’t be able to operate at full capacity, as they could before.
Keep in mind these stages could change or be postponed as new updates to the virus are still emerging. Additionally, these stages may look a little different countrywide, as each state is left to decide what is best.
Combining a mixture of virtual and in-person events may be the best idea for the time being. Virtual events provide more safety, while in-person provides a certain experience or connection that can’t be mimicked electronically.
In order to put on hybrid events, hosts will need a few things:
- Event HQ (the office, living room, outdoors, etc.)
- Virtual Streaming Provider (Zoom, Adobe Connect, GoToWebinar)
- Participant Engagement (comment section, mail-in content, etc.)
An event headquarters can be anything you want, for business meetings perhaps the office is best, or for a concert maybe an outdoor venue or spare bedroom would be enough. The headquarters serves as a meeting place, so perhaps you have some people physically there, but the majority of members should meet via a virtual streaming service. Depending on the streaming provider, you should be able to customize it to better fit your events needs. Scheduling and registration options should also be available on most virtual streaming providers. Now more than ever, it’s all about the experience. With the obvious restrictions on in-person gatherings, event planners and entertainers are going to be looking for new ways to still give audiences that enjoyable experience from home.
Eating food is part of the experience of going to an event. The pandemic has certainly changed every aspect of events, and unfortunately, that means food too will be affected. While there is always a safe option to opt-out of providing food, it certainly is not the only option. Some event coordinators are moving away from the self-serve buffet-style feast. Catering companies that follow the correct guidelines could be a safe alternative and a classy one for all in-person attendees. Pre-cooked and single packaged meals may not be everyone’s first choice but it does allow the option for food if participants choose to partake. Sending a care package or comping delivery dinners of their choice would be a nice treat for those who can’t attend in-person.