I think we can all agree that the future of events is going to look and feel a lot different in a post-pandemic world. Despite numerous organizers and event professionals quickly pivoting events for 2020 to virtual formats or in some cases, limited hybrid formats, there still looms this sense of missing out on an immersive experience and interacting with physical products, services, people, and art that an in-person event offers. Perhaps one silver lining to the pandemic was that it served as a catalyst for event organizers to learn virtual event technology to host online conferences for a remote audience. The problem that many are still grappling with is: how do we make virtual events feel as immersive as a live event? The short answer is that we likely won't be able to, but many remain hopeful for the continuance of virtual event offerings beyond the pandemic or even more hybrid event offerings in 2021. Eventually, when a Covid-19 vaccine is available and widespread, we will see the event industry shift to more physical events, but with some modifications. Here is what the event industry forecasts about the future of events:
Stronger Emphasis on Safety, Sanitation, and Overall Hygiene
There will be a lot more focus on sanitation and overall hygiene. And let's be honest, this change is probably for the better if it sticks around! Many event industry professionals are forecasting that event spaces and event curators will demand a stricter protocol for sanitation, requiring there to be more hand-washing stations (and possibly masks, too). Some event planners believe that there may even be a larger demand to staff additional healthcare professionals on-site for large events.
Less People and Expanded Dates
Not only will event managers look for larger footprint spaces, but they will also manage the amount of people who will enter the event from day-to-day. For example, instead of a three-day conference with 16,000 people, it might become a week-long conference with 2,500 visitors a day. Limiting the number of people and extending the length of time for an event will allow for additional sanitation and cleaning between days as well as limit the number of people gathered in a space at one time.
Hybrid and Online Offerings are Here to Stay
There will be expanded virtual and online event offerings for attendees to participate in the future of events. In addition to many more event organizers planning for hybrid events, there will also be an emphasis on leveraging social media to engage virtual audiences as well as additional online offerings like webinars specifically for those who are attending an event or conference virtually. Not only will the future of event be held in as hybrid events, the shift to including more online event experiences will include a wider audience. Many digital events are seeing a larger demand for mobile apps that offer the virtual audience to engage remotely as well as for participants to feel like they are equally engaged in an immersive experience without leaving home.
More Outside Events
Although a mass gathering may take some time before returning, many event professionals believe that there will be a major shift towards large events being hosted outside. Since the CDC is still recommending that we limit the amount of people gathering in enclosed spaces and until a vaccine is in widespread use, it is highly likely that more event professionals will shift towards offering events outdoors. Some event planners and event professionals are arguing that there will be a larger demand for events to offer virtual reality, however, if there is anything we have learned from quarantine and countless hours spent on Zoom, it's that we can't replace the benefits of being in-person by hoping for the best in an all virtual event. Business events, live concert events, and the overall event experience will require us to follow social distancing guidelines and also presents the unique opportunity to host more events in outdoor spaces.
Increased Efficiency for Pre-Screening at Events
Even as major events begin to make a comeback, there will still be a need for event organizers to screen attendees before entering the event or conference. Hosting large events outdoors will certainly limit the risk of potential exposure, however, it will still be equally as important for event organizers to conduct thorough pre-screening prior to admittance into an event space. Offering pre-screening by trained healthcare professionals will offer not only peace of mind to the attendees but also lower the risk of a super spreader event.
More Tents for Experiential Marketing and Outdoor Events
With the expectations that large gatherings and conferences will take some time before returning (some are already hinting that they may not return until after 2021!) and the added demand for outdoor event spaces, it's clear that there will also be a heightened awareness to curate isolated areas in large event venues or outdoor venues. For example, there will be an increased demand for exhibitors to expand their booth's footprint as well as offer protection from the elements in an outdoor setting. Not only this, but event organizers are also going to need a clear pathway for attendees to enter through a pre-screening tent, which might also include several hand-washing stations for guests to use upon arrival.
Meeting the demands of an ever-changing event industry in the era of Covid-19 has been wild to say the least. However, at TentCraft we make and manufacture all our products, which means that we can help you plan for the unexpected while also building an exceptional experience for your clients and attendees. We can build custom configurations that speak to the high-quality of premier brands as well as the needs for each industry. Having built several medical tents gave us the ability to best serve the medical industry during the pandemic and has given us new ideas and solid improvements as we begin to see the event industry bounce back.
As exhibitions and trade shows require employees and guest to extend their footprint, there will be additional demand for increased brand visibility. Standing out from your competition will be key for remaining relevant against an even-more-spread-out and a single flow of traffic-if you don't capture an attendee's attention immediately, it will be even harder for them to turn around and access your brand activation. Not only this, but when you consider outdoor events and the need to extend the longevity of their timeframes, it is crucial to invest in quality and durability-we can help protect your investment, your staff, and your brand through superior craftsmanship.