The Future of Events in a COVID World: Smaller, Seated and Safer?
There has been a lot of fear and uncertainty in these trying times. We are all not alone in wondering when life will resume. Is “normal” ever going to be the same? What is the new normal? How should we be adapting as a society? Hospitality and events were hit hard when we all had to distance, isolate and become less “social”. The industry has had to adapt: all guests had to be seated, contact details left for tracing, sanitising, sanitising and more sanitising. With all these adaptations to survive, where would the world of events be headed to next?
Physical vs Digital
The uncertainty in the industry would mean more events will become hybrid ones to accommodate both physical and digital experiences. To fully invest in one or the other might be a risk too large for businesses to take on because of the low cash flow everyone is experiencing. Companies need to reevaluate their priorities and budget accordingly, the opportunity costs of having only either a physical or digital event need to be carefully evaluated before heading off in any one direction. Being aware of your target audience has never been so important, and how they will respond to your decision will make or break an event.
Digital Events: Now Streaming Live
“Now Live” are the next industry buzzwords. Our fear of missing out (FOMO) will be stronger than ever, “being there” whether virtually or physically truly essential – regardless of geography. Being a part of a digital event has never been so easy, but what event planners now need to reconcile is the interactivity of a virtual event compared to a physical – will a conversation online be as good as a face-to-face one?
Technology will be put to the test and we may see the resurgence of more primitive technologies where software is equally important as hardware – take for example, the humble QR code’s comeback.
Physical Events: Modular, Pop-Up Commodities
Physical events will still continue, but will have to change and adapt quickly with the equally ever changing guest limits and safety measures put in place. Physical events might just become a luxury commodity, leaving the rest of us having to settle for live streaming on micro-sites, and a live chat.
Smaller and safer events means culling, prioritising and segregating of guest lists – only the ones who matter are invited. Budgets will also shift from building expo structures and wedding centrepieces to audio-visual (AV) solutions and hand sanitisers.
Guests going to events will want to feel safe as it is a risk they are taking being out and being there. Events will have to accommodate to curb that risk with more careful planning.
Pop-up activations and modular events like coffee carts and beanbags, outdoor furniture, that can be quickly set up will be low cost because of their transience nature, and being in a wide open space without walls will allow for more room for guests to move around comfortably and keep their distance whilst interacting.
Content, Content, Content
See how Navarra Venues is adapting with a preview of our new secret project here.