August 5, 2021

State of Events: Are In-Person Events Returning?

Right when event planners were solidifying their in-person events for the second half of 2021, the COVID-19 Delta Variant and Delta Plus Variant had different plans. The virus has led to many in-person event cancellations. Consider these recent headlines:

If you are still in the early planning stages, you may want to think about adding in a virtual element and planning a hybrid event instead of canceling altogether. In fact, 66.5% of event professionals are already planning to use hybrid events as their go-to once in-person events resume.

The benefits of planning a hybrid, or virtual, event are endless. Here are just a few:

  • A hybrid or virtual event allows you to have the event no matter what.
  • Having a digital or virtual experience planned frees the planner from having to pivot at the last minute.
  • Organizers gain wider access to diverse audiences.
  • Event content is available on-demand.
  • With a virtual event, you don’t have to worry about canceling flights or hotels if more travel restrictions are put in place.

With the Delta Variant causing so much unknown, it’s inevitable that event planners and conference organizers tap into virtual event platforms. A strong virtual event platform will be perfect for hybrid events as this is where the online aspects will take place. The platform also allows you to tap into new strategies that will still help meet your goals.

Remember To Be Human First

When planning the virtual portion of your event, start by defining everything you were hoping to accomplish in-person. Two things should be at the top of your list, engagement and connection. We all crave human connection, take extra steps to ensure that your event is human-centered with meaningful interactions. Below are ways to keep engagement and connection at the forefront of your event online.

It’s important to keep your audience engaged throughout the event. To prevent screen fatigue, consider smaller segments with panelists or speakers. Smaller segments will allow for more engagement via breakout sessions, encouraging more connection and human interactions.

If you are concerned about creating an engaging atmosphere for your attendees, these fun engagement ideas will hopefully eliminate some worries.

  • Include a networking lounge or Happy Hour room
  • Leverage breakouts -- or breaks in the content -- as much as possible. Utilizing different formats of content is crucial for attention
  • Give attendees the optionality to move between sessions, or choose a session that they prefer
  • Encourage participants to get up and move by having a workout class
  • Liven up the virtual event space with a Spotify Playlist
  • Incorporate a Slido poll that your virtual and in-person audiences can participate in concurrently

COVID-19 has taught us that there are innovative ways to adapt to not the greatest of situations. With a strong plan and organization, you can craft an incredible virtual/hybrid event experience. Do you need assistance in bringing the virtual portion of your event to life? Let’s chat!