When the pandemic hit, the events landscape as we know it changed dramatically and almost immeasurably. Event organisers headed straight to zoom, quickly pivoting, and changing tactics where possible, to engage audiences from their homes.
Sadly though, the industry has been on pause for the most part, but as we see restrictions starting to ease, as life begins to resume, we explore just how event planning has changed and what could be in store for the return of real-life events. (Imagine that!)
Government-sanctioned events, a success?
Several events have now been planned and executed under strict testing protocols, including the first UK nightclub opening since March 2020 in Liverpool, the World Snooker Championships at the Crucible, and the FA Cup at Wembley. Early reports are encouraging at the time of writing, signalling a promising glimpse of a return to the life we knew and enjoyed pre- Covid.
What will events look like over the coming months?
While most of us are desperate to resume physical attendance of the vast variety of events we enjoyed pre-pandemic, the shift to virtual events has enabled us to sample a host of new and exciting options taking place all over the world. Consumers have grown used to, and have become excited by, instantaneous access to gigs, conferences, webinars, and more. Live streaming and ‘hybrid’ events are now an essential consideration as and when we transition to face-to-face events.
A hybrid event usually consists of a live, in-person event with virtual elements added to the programme. Some of the most popular ways to do this include offering live streaming access to ticket holders or inviting special guests to attend via video call. The aim of a hybrid event is to provide a seamless and equal experience for all attendees, whether they attend in person or virtually.
Hygiene protocols and social distancing measures will continue to be essential for event planners, particularly in these early stages of the return to ‘normality’. While ticket holders may be wholly comfortable attending your event, venues with plenty of outdoor space and breakout zones will need to be included in future plans and are vital for offering added reassurance to guests.
Harnessing new technologies too will enable event organisers to run events more easily. Apps for events can provide attendees with a completely contactless experience, as we’ve evidenced recently with bars and restaurants, which have successfully become reliant on mobile devices for orders. This too, offers event organisers the opportunity to provide added value for guests with exclusive additional app-based and online content.
Exploring the ‘hybrid’ events model
The ‘hybrid’ model allows for events to reach far and wide and for greater diversity and inclusion within audiences. With this comes more variety in the tiered ticket pricing structures and new sources of revenue opportunities. While the model can be adapted for just about any event, a mixture of virtual and live elements is ideally suited for conferences where post-pandemic many companies are making strategic decisions to reduce travel spend in favour of attending conferences remotely.
Other events that are ideally suited to the hybrid model include fashion shows. Last year, several cities ventured into the hybrid world and the iconic Paris Fashion Week launched a successful digital and in-person event for Christian Dior, with socially distanced guests and shows streamed online.
We all know that the music industry has suffered throughout the pandemic; however, it’s an easily adaptable industry that suits the hybrid style. As vaccinations continue to roll out and the public becomes more confident with large-scale events, organisers will take the time to put plans in place for safe returns to live events with virtual accessibility as high on the priority list as the in-person event itself.
As a result of the pandemic, there’s been a tremendous amount of creativity across the events sector. In a previous blog post, we wrote about how we can expect to see all sorts of events enter the virtual landscape, including wellness and yoga events, gigs, expert panels, and now as restrictions ease, these can be effortlessly pivoted towards the hybrid model.
We can already tell there’s so much to look forward to when it comes to hybrid events as they rise in popularity and become a consideration that’s front and centre in any event planner’s mind.
While the latest announcement comes as a blow to the industry, the ‘adapt and overcome’ mentality through the numerous lockdowns has seen events weather the storm with some great successes. The creativity that has shone through the pandemic means the future for events looks bright, and we’re looking forward to continuing to be a part of its evolution over the coming year.
We recently delivered a Covid safe launch event for client tenpin, where we were challenged to deliver a VIP press and influencer event for over 150 guests with strict restrictions in place. We’re thrilled that the event is shortlisted for Best Launch Event at the 2021 PRCA Dare Awards.
An award-winning events agency, Purple Riot is experienced in organising and planning a variety of events. From large-scale shopping centre events to intimate product launches, fashion shows and pop-up shops, we’ve had huge success and loads of fun over the years, delivering events for our clients that have driven footfall, brand awareness and sales.
Purple Riot takes care of every aspect of your event planning, from venue sourcing to risk assessments; you’re in safe hands. Call us to discuss your next event brief 0161 706 0534.