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The Road Ahead: State of the Event Industry 2021

The Road Ahead: State of the Event Industry 2021 was an informative webinar led by The Event Leadership Institute and had a panel of event industry experts speaking about what planners should be thinking about now and for the months to come. Some good news is that there is a vaccine, with a wide distribution to happen in mid 2021.

Some prediction and tips that were mentioned for In-Person Events include, in order to create a truly safe environment, venue ventilation is key! Air needs to be changed and recirculated at least every hour. As well, to expect unpredictable attendance, as people may wait till the last minute to register and book travel, and to expect last minute no shows. We must really consider room set ups, and the difficulty of socially distance room set ups, ensuring it allows your event to be effective and economic. Most importantly it will all be about making sure everyone feels safe and comfortable in these spaces. Additionally, we are potentially moving into reverse hybrid planning, were the virtual aspect is the main part of an event, and the in-person experience is an add on.

The prediction is that it will take 3+ years for in person events to return to pre-pandemic level. It will take some time, but the excitement is there, and attendance will begin to increase and normalize. Clients will have gotten used to online events, and have seen the capability and success an online event can have. As well as the cost saving aspects of an online event. Because of this, planners may need to work pretty hard to convince their clients to come back to in-person event.

Bill Gates prediction for the new normal is “over 50% of business travel and over 30% of days in the office will go away”.

As for what is in store for Virtual Events, 2020 was the year of functionality, and getting things to work. 2021 is the year of user experience, with lots of money going into different virtual platforms. The experience will become more interactive, similar to video games, with very large production values. There will be more exclusive, insider content for remote hybrid viewers, that in-person viewers will not experience. Further, there will be no more free event just because they are online. People will begin to maintain and bring back their price integrity, so people will begin to see the value in the online experience and content. People have started to realize online events are easier and more convenient. Smaller brands will be able to become global and compete with the larger companies. Everyone now has the capability to put together a great virtual event. They have the ability to roll out new events faster to adapt to market changes, at a lower cost and a lower barrier of entry.

People are not bored of their screens, but bored of what is on their screen. The event industry was so focused on in-person events, that the online events never advanced. Now we have that opportunity to really focus, and adapt to this new events world we are in. As event planners, we can adapt, and continue to learn and grow, like Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change”.

Here is the link to the recorded webinar, if you want to learn more:

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