The global coronavirus pandemic has transformed the world as we know it. Over the past 18 months, social distancing has put a hold on in-person trade shows and events, but as things begin to move back to normal, what does the future have in store?
How events have adapted
While in-person events might have been severely limited since the start of last year, virtual conferences have become incredibly popular. This has meant marketers have had to transform their approach to events, with the likes of the South by Southwest festival hosting virtual stages and panels, while others have experimented with virtual reality to welcome guests.
Although it might have taken a little getting used to, these virtual and digital events and trade shows have provided an array of benefits to companies. However, as things begin to edge back to some form of normality, the future is going to require a new way of thinking.
How events will have to adapt to the ‘new normal’
Although the green shoots of normality are beginning to emerge, the events industry is still some way off from returning to pre-pandemic levels. In fact, the coronavirus outbreak has highlighted the positives that come from virtual events and meetings, and now many marketers are looking to adopt a hybrid approach.
Many of the leading convention arenas, such as New York’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, are already adding permanent broadcast studios to accommodate these new hybrid events. Alongside combining in-person and technology, marketers are also shifting their attention to how they target attendees.
The idea of large national events is no longer appealing, and with travel remaining curtailed, multiple hybrid local events are actually helping companies to reach even more attendees. Technology is also playing a significant role, with event organizers looking to deploy it throughout their events. From implementing contactless registration to virtual breakout sessions, the future will have less of a focus on in-person face-to-face communication.
Hybrid events, are they the future?
As the last year has shown, the world is changing and reacting to the pandemic at an incredible pace. However, no one is quite sure what the future has in store, and although things are slowly moving back to some form of normality, what happens next for events is unknown.
For marketers, adopting a hybrid approach that combines physical and digital audiences will help to overcome the challenges of social distancing and ensure the event can go ahead, no matter what happens next. If you are looking for guidance for your 2021 – 2022 trade shows and events, contact BrandUp Strategy.