Everything we learned from in-person events around the world. Including the Olympics!

Maybe it’s the Olympics, maybe it’s the Bill Murray in Cannes meme, but we’re pumped to see international events bounce back these past few weeks.

Just a year ago the Olympics weren’t even on the table, not by a longshot. So this feels like a good time to do a little write-up to mark how far in-person events have come right now. We’ll also go in-depth on what’s working around the world, what we’d improve on, and as always, everything organizers can emulate at home. Spoiler alert: Lots to learn from our event friends overseas! 

Tokyo Olympics

The biggest news in the international event world is obviously the Tokyo Olympics. They are actually happening, with the help of some good planning, as well as maybe some not-so-good planning.

The good first – no spectators. Sure we wish there were spectators, but with thousands of athletes coming from around the world and staying in close-knit villages, keeping attendance down makes the whole thing less stressful, and safer. So no spectators were probably the right move here. 

Cardboard beds for the athletes? This could have been better. If we were competing in a sport we trained for our whole lives for we might want a little more comfort. But to Tokyo’s credit, the beds have been proven to be virtually unbreakable.

Global Esports

The Global Esports Executive Summit (August 31 to September 1) will take place in-person in Busan Esports Arena in South Korea, and in hybrid format everywhere else. 

Keynote speakers will contribute both live and virtually, and the entire event will take advantage of all the screens and broadcasting technology that’s already equipped in the Busan Esports Arena.

While we all want to go back to in-person events, full time, we have to say that for events where connectivity is king, such as Esports, tech, and big product launches — hybrid is still a great way to bring people together around the world.

Space Tech Expo: an international event happening in Europe

Space Tech Expo Europe

The international event Space Tech Expo Europe will return in-person to Germany this summer. It will feature over 400+ vendors and 4,500+ attendees, all under one roof.

To accomplish this, the event will use the Smarter Shows – Safer Shows event guidelines. These guidelines provide various protocols for social distancing, pre-event safety communication, special food and beverages, additional staff, and much more. We know how to meet safely in 2021. We know what works, but it all comes down to a good plan. Professionals like Safer Shows can help create that plan, and bring everyone a little more peace of mind. Especially organizers. We covered some other helpful tips, like this, for hosting an in-person event.

Pokemon Go Fest

Day 1 of Pokemon Go Fest happened in-person this year in 20 cities around the world, while the rest of the event was held virtually. 

When we think of Pokemon Go, we picture a bunch of Pokemon gamers (Pokemen trainers?) running through the park and chasing Pokemon together. So it makes sense that there were some local in-person events planned.

Pokemon Fest’s idea of simultaneous outdoor events is also an easy way to bring people together in-person, across the world, without needing to travel. It does help to have a wildly popular mobile game to make this happen, but still — a concept for organizers to think about.

International Cannes Film festival 2021

Cannes Film Fest

The Cannes Film Festival, which included about 28,000 attendees, also spent more than 1 million dollars on covid tests for all attendees. Anyone who was vaccinated, and from the EU, could opt out of testing. 

We think there are two important lessons here for hosting a big international audience in-person. The first is that it’s definitely not cheap (if you want to pay for tests for attendees). The second is that testing and vaccines are a strategy that works. Cannes found very few cases out of thousands of tests.

In the future, organizers could even cut costs by encouraging attendees to get vaccinated, or even offering more sessions or swag to vaccinated attendees. Everyone loves free stuff right?

Dutch Design Week: another international event in 2021

Dutch Design Week 

Dutch Design Week will return this year with the theme, “The Greater Number,” which will explore a post-pandemic future, and a call for reflection and change. 

We may all want to just move on from 2020, but the world is different now. We work differently. Do business differently. And the events should reflect that.

An impactful theme gives people a chance to debrief from last year. To share the good and bad. Maybe even for the first time in person or with a group of people. A theme can also help people keep an eye on better times ahead. Which is what it’s about right now.

Lots to learn from the international scene!

Just from a brief look into international events, we’re already inspired by what’s possible. Outdoor pop-up events are definitely something to try. Testing can make the difference when you’ve got lots of attendees from out of town. Also, a comfy, high-quality bed, chair, room, etc. is the key to a good event. Or at least keeps you from going viral (and not for the right reasons)!

August 2, 2021

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August 2, 2021

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