97% of media marketers claim that in-person events are crucial. For the past few years, these events have been few and far between due to the risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now that it's getting safer to be around large groups of people, in-person event participation is coming back. Are you ready for this shift?
Making the transition back to "normalcy" will be challenging, but we have a few tips that can make it easier for you. Read on to learn all about how to start preparing for your next in-person event.
Consider Hybrid Options
While in-person events are making a comeback, that doesn't mean that everyone is going to want to attend. There are still many people who don't feel comfortable attending in-person events, especially during the winter cold and flu season.
They may have weakened immune systems or health issues, small children or elderly people living with them, or just anxiety about the possibility of getting sick. These are valid concerns, and you don't want to leave someone out just because they're being cautious about their health.
You'll have better event participation if you make it as inclusive and accessible as possible. So what can you do to turn your events into hybrid events?
Record and stream important parts of the event, like event speakers. This way, people can view the event from their own homes. It's also helpful for you to record things for future use, so this benefits you as well.
Try to create some activities that people can participate in from home. You may set up a virtual Q&A, for example, so that people can ask questions of their favorite speakers.
Hybrid options also allow you to invite more guests than you otherwise would. You can even invite guests that you know would otherwise never be able to attend due to where they live or their work schedules.
The pandemic introduced the world to mainstream hybrid events, and we recommend sticking with them. They have so many benefits!
Consider (and State) Your Precautions
Some people will be immediately ready and willing to attend your in-person events without any convincing necessary. Others will be more cautious. They aren't used to in-person events anymore, and they may have some concerns, even if they want to attend.d
Consider taking a few precautions for your first in-person event, and make sure that you make those precautions clear to your attendees well in advance.
So what will those precautions look like? It depends on your unique event and your comfort level.
First, consider limiting attendance. You want as many people as possible to attend your event, but aiming slightly lower will make the event safer. Again, remember that hybrid events are always an option, so you can still have plenty of offsite attendees.
Consider a mask policy. Even if you don't require masks, it's a good idea to have masks (as well as hand sanitizer) available for attendees who choose to use them.
Make sure there's plenty of room inside so people aren't too close to each other.
Provide Plenty of Time to Prepare
Start sending out event marketing materials and invitations as early as possible. Again, people are no longer used to in-person events, and they may need extra time to prepare.
For large events, it's helpful to announce them a year in advance, even during "normal" times. At the very least, make sure there are several months for potential attendees to plan.
This also gives you more time to coordinate with vendors who may also be readjusting to real-life events.
Come Back With a "Bang"
You want this first in-person event to be a hit, so pull out all of the stops. This isn't an event that can be boring.
What can you do to make your event more interesting?
Don't forget the importance of entertainment. Whether you have a highly-regarded and famous guest speaker, a popular musician, or even a high-tech game room, you want to make sure that it's something exciting that people will want to travel to see.
Make sure that you have fantastic caterers and that your venue is top-notch. This isn't a time to spare expenses.
Hire a fantastic host or emcee for your event as well. They know how to keep the event running smoothly and how to keep people entertained even if nothing conventionally exciting is happening.
You want people to talk about this event when it's over, so make it count.
Prepare for Hiccups
If it's been a while since your last event, you should anticipate some hiccups or bumps in the road. Everyone is getting used to the idea of "real" events again, so there will be an adjustment period.
Consider potential problems that could pop up, so you're ready to fix them.
Have a plan B for if one of your vendors or entertainers falls ill and pulls out. Make sure to have people around who can engage the crowd if they're struggling to talk to each other due to years without in-person events.
Very few events happen without at least one small hiccup, but if you prepare yourself, you won't have to worry.
In-Person Events Are Back and Better Than Ever
Are you ready to start having in-person events again? It's exciting to get back into the "real-life" event sphere, but it's normal if you're feeling nervous! Use these tips to help you make your next in-person event a complete hit.
Are you getting ready for this year's Event Planner Expo (and 10-year anniversary)? Get your tickets now on our main ticketing page for more information. It's time to start having fantastic events again.