Navigating the pandemic often feels like you’re fighting the big boss in a video game and just when you think you have won, an even bigger boss appears for you to fight next. The Omicron variant has thrown off the positive outlook many had about returning to in-person events in 2022 and event planners are once again finding themselves having to adapt.
It is predicted that the $1.5 trillion worldwide event industry will not fully return to normal until at least 2023. Event planners can no longer afford to just “wait and see” or “hope” that things will be different by (insert date or time of year). This is our new reality and everyone needs to plan that COVID-19 will be a major consideration in event planning now and for the foreseeable future. With that in mind, we have some virtual and hybrid event tips to help navigate the minefield that has become event planning during a worldwide pandemic.
Events in 2022: Plan for the worst, hope for the best
It’s hard to plan ahead or know what to expect with new variants and restrictions constantly changing. With spring and summer events quickly approaching, it’s important for event planners to plan for the worst and have contingency plans for every element of the event. You never know when a new variant might appear or if supply chain issues will hold-up elements you were hoping to include in your event. it’s important to have a plan B and it might not be bad considering a plan C, D, etc., as well.
Do NOT wait to the last minute
If you’re someone that has the tendency to procrastinate, 2022 would be the perfect time to kick that habit. Virtual and hybrid events require more planning than an in-person event and it is rather difficult to add things in at the final hour. Things will always happen, and it’s important to be able to react to those last-minute issues or changes, but proper preparation ahead of time will put you in a better position and help limit added stress and panic the day of.
Variants will continue
The virus is going to continue to mutate and we need to be prepared to possibly deal with variants for years to come. Waiting and seeing isn’t an option anymore. Event planners need to include safety considerations into their event planning and be prepared that attendees will have different comfort levels when it comes to returning to attending events on a regular basis. For those planning hybrid events, it’s important to put the proper protocols into place, including masking, vaccination requirements, and social distancing, to ensure the event can take place safely in-person while adhering to local restrictions and guidelines. For those uncomfortable attending in-person, a hybrid option will allow them to continue to participate in the event from their home and may even expand your audience further than in years past. With many focusing on the negative, it’s important to look at the need for virtual and hybrid events as a positive for your organization, allowing you to include those who may have never been able to participate in your event in-person.