In some countries, such as the United Kingdom, Israel, the United States, and Chile, the rapidly-progressing coronavirus vaccination programme may finally be the breath of fresh air the events industry has been waiting for.
However, given that in many other countries the vaccine has not arrived so quickly, such as Brazil, Thailand, and Egypt, many questions remain about what the next stage in our sector will look like.
The contrasting conditions across the globe make it difficult to make broadly-applicable predictions. However, it’s important to consider what we might realistically be able to expect in our home context.
With a focus on the UK, let’s take a quick tour of what the resurrection of the event industry could look like.
On the vaccination programme
The Health Foundation has said that the UK’s vaccination rollout has provided vaccines at a faster rate than anyone else in the world, with more than 32 million people receiving at least one dose by the end of February 2021.
This is good news! According to current projections, the country is on track to offer a first dose to all adults by the end of July. The BBC reports that the UK has ordered more than 400 million doses of seven of the most promising vaccines. If this is true, people will soon be able to connect in a much easier way.
What to expect
Surveys have revealed that most event organisers expect virtual and onsite events will combine to form another ‘new normal’. In other words, by providing the best of both worlds, hybrid meetings will become the best option since they allow for the number of physical attendees to be limited while the event’s reach remains unlimited.
Forbes likewise predicts that the paradigms of the event industry will need to be rethought again and again. In the past, onsite events were the standard, but that may have now changed for good. The event industry will have to evaluate all the ‘old’ ways of organising an event to eliminate or adapt what no longer works.
As we move forward, the following items will require careful consideration:
- Reinforcement of sanitation measures
- Patience in dealing with attendees
- Testing prior to entry
Given how much time the UK has spent under restrictions, we would do well to be prepared for excitement about the revival of physical gatherings. Networking is likely to have one of its best moments, even if some limitations remain. Therefore, the most important thing is to guarantee a safe and enjoyable space.
Forbes also advises event organisers to focus on the experience rather than the platform, the place, or the time. Hybrid experiences should be taken for what they are, which means taking into account both their potential and their limitations in order to get the most out of them.
Experiences should achieve palpable objectives on emotional, physical, and social levels. Event planners would therefore do well to take great care in managing the expectations of clients so that desired event outcomes remain achievable.
Surviving in the hybrid world
Finally, here are some tips that may help you retain a competitive advantage as our ‘new normal’ continues to evolve:
- Technology as an ally: Remember that on-site and virtual are not the same. It’s important to take into account the advantages of each and enhance them with technology!
- Virtual education as a must: Teach, guide, and organise practice sessions! This is a new and unknown but exciting and versatile world. Guidance on how to navigate this new space is essential for the enjoyment of our new circumstances.
- Attention to needs as a mantra: Listen to your target audience. Now more than ever you can satisfy your audience’s wishes. While it is important to manage expectations, virtuality and presence combined ultimately give you the power to fulfil the most tricky audience desires.
- Creativity as a calling card: Don’t limit yourself! There is no need to follow the same old paradigms; the hybrid world is much more flexible than either virtual or face-to-face alone! Give your audience the opportunity to enjoy a new experience.
At Shocklogic we offer a range of virtual/hybrid event experiences along with powerful technology solutions to suit your needs and desires. Our products can help you adapt to any changing circumstances as we begin to see a revival of the UK events industry.
Written by Samuel Peña, Marketing Associate