By Katherine Frost
The pandemic has changed all branches of the events industry from how we once knew it. At the beginning of the pandemic, event attendees and organisers fully switched gears to all virtual conferences and gatherings to abide by social distancing guidelines. As restrictions slowly began to lift, the industry saw a shift to a hybrid model for events. Now, restrictions are once again changing and mask mandates around the country are being lifted each day making attendees and planners question whether hybrid models are here to stay or whether in-person events are back for good. With a workforce opting to stay remote rather than return to the office, planners are looking to see how corporate events will scale in the coming year.
Planners are anticipating corporate events to make a big comeback. While some workers are turning down five days a week in the office, conferences and meetings give people the chance to get a taste of ‘normal’ corporate life again without committing to the office Monday through Friday. In order to keep up throughout the last year and a half, corporate planners have had to get creative with events and will continue to do so as they recruit attendees post-pandemic and numbers even out again.
Corporate planners prepare to re-open business
After a difficult year, corporate planners are ready to take on events once again both in-person and virtually.
In an effort to stay organised, in what will be a busy season for conferences and meetings, technology platforms like ORO will be a major help in managing these events as we shift from virtual to in-person. These platforms will help to better streamline event management, while providing real time updates for those involved in the planning process, keeping everyone on the same page. Digital platforms will be a vital tool for the events industry going forward, as planners are looking for ways to plan events more efficiently.
As corporate events begin taking place again, there are still many factors to consider. As excitement surrounds the return of in-person events, travel restrictions are still playing a major role in hybrid planning. Because travel restrictions are still so limited, it can be difficult for people to attend out of state, or out of country conferences. The vaccine rollout is working side by side with travelling, making it difficult for those that are unvaccinated to travel to certain destinations.
As a result, we may see hybrid events stick around post-pandemic. This will give people a chance to attend conferences and meetings even if they are unavailable to travel or participate in-person. Aside from the coronavirus, there are various other reasons why someone may not be able to attend an in-person meeting or conference, and through a hybrid event model, more can enjoy corporate events.
Keeping this in mind, hybrid models will likely be used until travel is fully open across the world, and more people become vaccinated, that way those wanting to attend have the option even if they can’t be there in-person. As some will still have the option to attend remotely, event sizes will continue to vary.
Corporate events 2021 and beyond
As we move into the second half of 2021, hybrid event models will still be used as we slowly move out of the pandemic. Corporate event planners now know all the in’s and out’s of planning virtually and in-person under such circumstances, making the world of corporate events bigger and better as we try to find our ‘normal’ once again.
Katherine Frost is the founder and CEO of event planning software ORO, a tech platform for professional event planners to streamline their workflow by consolidating all of the spreadsheets, binders, and contracts into one easy-to-use tool.