The pandemic has forced businesses and individuals to change how they live and work. As a result, many organizations have canceled or postponed their events, while others are still attempting to go ahead with them, albeit with some new safety measures. Despite the setbacks, the events industry has shown resilience and even created recent trends as it adapts to the current situation.
As the pandemic wanes, many people are looking forward to attending in-person events again. However, as things slowly get back on track, you might be wondering whether in-person events will thrive after Covid. Have things adjusted permanently, or will things go back to the way they were?
According to the 2022 Global Meetings and Events Forecast, the 11th annual report produced by American Express Meetings & Events, a division of American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), in-person meetings and events will grow this year, with 81% of events expected to have an in-person element.
Moreover, according to global survey respondents, virtual and hybrid formats will still play a vital role despite the rise of in-person meetings and events. According to the said survey, the number of attendees is expected to increase across all event types and formats.
Can we hug, shake hands, or bump elbows? Do we need to observe social distancing? How do you feel about giving and receiving physical business cards?
It’s been more than two years since the pandemic struck, and not seeing your colleagues for a long time gives you that eager feeling to meet face to face. But unfortunately, some people are still hesitant even to shake hands despite the current circumstance. Should we carry our vaccine cards regularly to ensure the comfort of these individuals? Would it help the people around us to feel safer?
With the development of vaccination programs worldwide, some organizations might require that attendees show proof of vaccination before being allowed into the event's venue. While this might seem like a hassle, it's an optimal way to ensure that everyone is safe and healthy. If you prefer not to carry your vaccination card with you, choose a platform that gives the attendees the option to upload an image of their vaccination card. It would be even more accessible to add it to your badge!
Additionally, given the heightened concern around germs and infection, it's not surprising that security measures will increase at in-person events post-pandemic. These security measures could include temperature checks, mandatory mask-wearing, or social distancing. Don't be surprised to see attendees seated at least a seat apart from each other or the speaker wearing a face mask while presenting to the audience.
To ensure attendee safety, many event organizers are changing their event format. Adjusting the layout could mean shorter sessions, fewer speakers, or different venues for in-person events.
Moreover, with the pandemic still causing disruptions here and there, many event organizers are turning to hybrid events to ensure their attendees can still participate. A hybrid event combines online and in-person elements, making it a convenient option for those who can't attend the physical venue.
As for ticket sales, hybrid events are a better choice since they offer a broader preference for the attendees - meaning attendees have the option to attend online in case they aren't able to go to the venue. Therefore, having this option is a better alternative than canceling or requesting a refund.
Even though the goal of in-person events is to lure more attendees to the venue, organizations can still provide value to those who are unable or unwilling to attend in person by offering online and in-person options.
One of the most popular post-pandemic trends is contact-free technologies, including badges and contact-free payments. Though the effects of the pandemic have lessened throughout the year, long lines at registration still pose a danger.
The excellent news is event platforms came up with ways to assist in-person events by providing solutions such as:
Enjoy the convenience of efficiently managing your attendees' data without the paperwork. In addition, you'll be able to collect registration fees without having your attendees line in a queue.
Check-in your attendees by simply scanning the QR code on their tickets.
Badge printing provides a means of identification, grants access to sessions, and includes relevant information such as the schedule without stress and prolonged check-ins.
With in-person events happening post-pandemic, people view them as something to be grateful for and appreciate. People long for face-to-face interaction, and event organizers may harness that energy to drive better engagement in in-person events. How will you do this?
It's essential to have powerful sessions and well-known or experienced speakers in their respective fields. After all, your attendees attend your in-person event because they want to learn, network, and share their experiences. They wouldn't travel to the venue if there was nothing for them to gain.
In addition, you may also want to consider conducting live polls to collect data and make your event more interactive. Furthermore, gamification does not only happen online. For example, a scavenger hunt or an early bird challenge may drive engagement and help build meaningful relationships while following safety protocol during a live event.
The silver lining of all this is that we will be a more close-knit society as the pandemic’s effects diminish. We'll have to relearn how to socialize in person (remember when people used to talk without looking at their phones?), and it might take some time for things to get back to normal. But when they do, the events industry will be booming again. Get ready for an influx of in-person conferences, trade shows, and fundraisers!
So what can you expect at your next in-person event? Probably a lot of hand sanitizer, semi-awkward small talk, and people trying to figure out how to live their lives again. But it will also be a chance to connect with your community and share experiences - something that we all sorely need right now. We hope you have the opportunity to attend an in-person event soon and that it proves to be everything you hoped for.
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