The event industry is one of the many industries that experienced the greatest impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. With government lockdowns and quarantine guidelines in place, in-person events are now extremely limited or otherwise banned in some areas where the rate of transmission remains high. These implications have forced many event businesses to adapt in order to stay afloat.
While vaccines are already rolling out all across the globe, signaling that the end of the pandemic is near, we are still quite a ways away from returning to the pre-pandemic normal. And for the event industry, this means that the adaptations made in 2020 are going to continue to be the norm this year, or perhaps going to evolve into something better.
That said, here are the trends that are making waves in the industry this 2021:
1. Live events
With COVID-19 forcing people to stay at home, live events are now more valuable mediums of presentation more than ever. Whether it’s for brand promotion or internal events, companies can use live broadcasting to hold events without an in-person audience. Event design specialists like COSM can work with companies to broadcast their content through immersive live production, helping create an experience that will resonate with viewers, even if they are just watching from their homes.
Aside from the obvious benefit of maintaining safety and making event planning simpler, live broadcasting also gives companies an opportunity to offer a more ‘personal’ experience with their audiences. This is due to the fact that live events can provide more opportunities for audience interaction, such as Q&A sessions and live commentary from viewers.
2. Hybrid events
Hybrid events combine both a traditional audience and a virtual audience. These events allow a limited group of people into the venue and share the event with a larger virtual audience. As such, hybrid events can have a heavier appeal to audiences who want to attend in person, but also accommodate audiences who don’t want to attend an in-person event.
Since vaccines are now rolling out, it may also be a good idea to allow only vaccinated individuals to be part of the in-person audience. In this way, there is little to no chance of the virus transmitting from one attendee to another.
3. Educational content
Boredom is one of the most common effects of quarantine for many people across the globe. Hence, it’s perfectly understandable why there was a suddenly higher interest in online courses, video tutorials, DIY blogs, and online workshops. People are sick of binge-watching TV shows and scrolling through social media — if they’re going to stay at home, they want to make the most out of their time.
For event planners, this new audience behavior implies that educational content is one of the most effective ways to bring in viewers. Find out what they want to learn — be it skills, recipes, or just plain knowledge — and who they want to learn it from.
4. Outdoor events
In areas where health restrictions are easing, outdoor events are increasing in popularity. Holding events outdoors where there are good ventilation and more space to maintain social distancing is a safer option than indoor events. Moreover, outdoor events may increase the capacity for in-person attendees without adding unnecessary risk to health and safety.
5. Anti-COVID technology
When it comes to preventing the spread of COVID-19, especially in face-to-face events, technology has and continues to play a vital role. Take this bracelet called RiskBand as an example. When the wearer gets too close to someone else, it emits a light vibration to remind them to maintain their distance. On top of that, the band records the information of the person that the wearer came in close contact with to make contact tracing easier in case someone in the event tests positive for the virus.
Another great example is an AI camera system that helps maintain social distancing by sounding an alert when people get too close to each other. In events where there is a lot of movement, this type of technology makes it easier for organizers to follow health protocols without hiring additional staff just to keep people away from each other.
Other technological solutions that are relevant for the event industry include thermal cameras, bracelets with GPS tracking, digital signage, and contact tracing apps, among others.
It’s still not possible to tell when the pandemic is going to end for good, but we can be hopeful that ongoing vaccinations can help speed things up. While it is still not a hundred percent safe to conduct in-person gatherings, event planners can use these trends to deliver great events without risking the health of both attendees and staff members.