With vaccinations in the United States on the rise, in-person gatherings are making a return. But coronavirus will continue to shape events for the rest of 2021.
Here’s the outlook for events through the rest of the year:
- Health and safety precautions will be foundational to any in-person event. While everyone is eager to be back together, companies must prioritize guest safety and comfort by following CDC guidelines, communicating the measures in place and ensuring on-site execution is consistent with messaging. For example, mask-wearing, physical distancing and sanitizing helped the NFL Draft mark a successful return to large-scale live events, with tens of thousands gathered in Cleveland—outdoors.
- Events will remain largely local and not global for the rest of the year, with uncertainty around variants and travel as well as varying speeds of vaccine rollout. The World Economic Forum had to cancel its 2021 event in Singapore due to worsening COVID outbreaks in countries around the world.
- Virtual events aren’t going anywhere. Some corporate event planners are rushing to assume prospective guests have Zoom fatigue and that they should resume in-person events as soon as it’s permitted. But many people will prioritize social gatherings and travel for the rest of the year and may not be ready to return to other events until 2022. Even then, virtual events be won’t going away, and they shouldn’t—they’re more inclusive and accessible, and they’ve fostered creativity.
Overall, strategically reintroducing safe, smaller in-person gatherings while considering which experiences should continue to take place virtually or in a hybrid format will result in more successful, innovative and engaging events.