We all want to get back to a life of packed convention centers and noisy lobby bars. But for obvious reasons, we’re not quite there yet. The good news is, even without the crowds, in-person events are still very much something to look forward to. Venues and organizers have been working for months to add safety, technology, and creativity to our new event world. We may not be able to sit shoulder to shoulder together through a 2-hour keynote anytime soon, but we promise in-person events will still be fun! Here’s our rundown of all the ways organizers can help attendees get excited about meeting in person again. At last!
Make safety part of your brand.
Warner Media recently superimposed masks onto famous characters from their most memorable movies. The ad campaign was catchy, simple, and promoted proper safety measures in public spaces. Something all entertainment companies should be doing. For people to get excited about in-person events again, they have to feel that companies and businesses are doing everything they can to keep people safe. This is why we recommend weaving safety information into your brand as much as possible. Reach out to presenters and influencers in your community to create unique content around event safety. We know that there are ways to stop the spread of the virus, and the next step is making sure everyone is working together to stay safe at events.
Not to toot our own horn too much, but here at Expo we’ve added antimicrobial/antiviral screen protection to our already low-touch check-in experience. It’s just one of the ways we hope to help future attendees feel safe and relaxed at events.
Keep it fun!
For the first day back to work in the fictional world of Mythic Quest (an Apple TV show about a video game company), the bosses threw a LARPing party (Live Action Role Play) for all the employees. Very little work got done in the office during this event. But it definitely gave people a chance to come back and feel good about meeting in person again. We all know that events can start to feel like work, especially with all the Zooming we’ve been doing this past year. The number one thing that will get people motivated to be in person, is events that are focused on real, unvarnished fun. People need an opportunity to reboot their brains, to find a little inspiration beyond their respective pods. In-person events will be the first opportunity for many to do just that. So make it about having fun. And yes, LARPing is fun.
Enjoy the great outdoors!
The Tribeca Film Festival is going all outdoors for spring this year. From June 9 to 20, moviegoers will be able to enjoy films under the moon at outdoor venues all across Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island. It’s unclear in the rendering above what the plan is for rain, but we don’t want to get into the weeds on this one — because it all just looks like a great idea. Not only that, we can’t imagine a better way to spend this summer than outdoors all the time, jumping from event to event. Oh, and if you need any more encouragement to plan or attend outdoor events, the CDC says outdoors is a safer choice for just about everything we want to do. Just have a plan for rain!
Lots of space to stretch your legs!
Due to social distancing measures, upcoming in-person events will likely feature tons more open spaces than events of the past. Pictured above are some scenes from recent in-person events at the Hilton in Norfolk, VA, where attendees are socially distant, while still able to easily connect. This is all good news for attendees that weren’t looking forward to cramped convention halls, long lines, and sitting shoulder to shoulder for hours on end. The extra space will also create a more relaxing environment overall. While we long for the thrill of the crowd, keeping things mellow as we get back into things is just fine for now.
Hybrid events mean more flexibility.
Hybrid event venues can now provide numerous streaming options for attendees that don’t want to attend the whole event in-person. Pictured above is a new space called Chop Shop, from AV Chicago, which is developing a top notch broadcast studio for hybrid events. We also wrote recently about other amazing venues and their new hybrid technologies. All of these hybrid options will make it easier for people to fit events into their work schedules this summer (which will probably be in flux as more people start to go back to the office). Hybrid will also help people attend in-person events only for moments that they really want to be there for. At a time when we are all weighing the necessity of each social function, this new flexibility will give everyone a bit more peace of mind when registering for an event.
Encourage guests to connect virtually before the event.
After the rise of apps like Zoom and Clubhouse, future attendees will be much more confident connecting in the virtual world long before event day. Let’s be real, in person introductions can be tricky these days. Everyone is wearing masks and 6 feet apart. Virtual networking will help people set-up meetings that they know will be beneficial on event day. Not only that, a few virtual introductions will make everyone more comfortable being around new people as they head into their first in-person event in over a year. Exciting!
Keep it safe. Keep it fun.
The events that will get people most excited are the ones where people can feel both safe, and inspired. Big spaces and fresh air will always be your friend when planning an event right now. Also, don’t be shy to use technology to help people network, or attend on their own schedule. Most importantly, upcoming events should focus on relaxing and having fun. Afterall, it’s almost summertime.