The live event industry is one of the sectors that found itself changed by the pandemic, perhaps for the long term. Since the highly contagious novel coronavirus forced governments to restrict public gatherings, so many corporate events, religious activities, and entertainment gatherings have been put to a halt.
But there might still be hope for the industry, especially with vaccines being rolled out across the globe and the United States opening up slowly but surely. The music festival Lollapalooza even took place in Chicago this past summer, drawing in a crowd of 100,000 people and around 200 acts.
As COVID-19 cases rise and fall, we might still see some live events still happening, but the pandemic changed the way they are held, perhaps for good. Here are some live event trends businesses and brands need to watch out for.
Fusing the physical and the virtual
With experts saying that the COVID-19 disease will most likely become endemic—meaning a part of our lives for the foreseeable future—business experts also project that virtual events will be here to stay. According to a study by the community Event MB, 71 percent of event planners said they would continue to prioritize their digital strategies even after live events have made a full comeback. At a time when businesses need to be ready every single time governments and other decision-making bodies call for a lockdown, it’s important to always have a backup plan.
For physical events, social distancing and other health protocols will continue to be set in place. Especially as events like Lollapalooza drew criticism for not employing gathering restrictions or, at the very least, encouraging people to keep their distance from one another.
In the same way that public places like malls have adopted the strategy of reminding people to keep a safe distance from other shoppers, live events will also use visual reminders to keep guests and audiences as apart as possible. Partnerships with printing company franchises may be beneficial for businesses, especially since they need to come up with helpful but still creative ways to remind people to be safe during these gatherings. People will need visual cues to keep their physical distance from others. Moreover, the layout of the events will also be centered around the priority of social distancing.
Health and safety protocols
Here are some other health and safety strategies that will be a staple in the live events industry for the months to come:
- Pre-screening requirements, which means some live event organizers might ask for vaccination cards or a negative COVID-19 test result.
- Specialized cleaning teams, with professionals using tech tools and other cleaning materials to keep common areas and high-touch surfaces disinfected every hour or so.
- Utilizing advanced air-filtration systems to ensure that the event’s indoor air quality is always up to par, especially for events that have more people than usual.
- With the more contagious nature of the delta variant, outdoor events might be more of the norm than those in hotel conference rooms and other indoor venues.
Limited guests and micro-events
Many couples were forced to settle for micro-weddings ever since the pandemic started, and this trend is starting to be even more popular among young adults since micro-weddings are cheaper. Only the nearest and dearest to their heart get to go, eliminating guests who don’t want to be there.
Moving forward, micro-events will continue to be a staple for all kinds of gatherings—from personal ones like birthdays and weddings to bigger events like corporate gatherings and concerts. In 2019, the average number of people attending a conference or meeting was 4,932 people. This number undoubtedly went down in 2020 and will continue to be smaller in the coming months and maybe even years.
If your company or business relies a lot on networking and social connections, you need to find ways to reach more people even through hybrid events since it’s unlikely that more large-scale events will take place moving forward.
Businesses will also have to partner with big data to help them, and event planners understand consumer sentiment and expectations regarding live events. Before mounting physical and virtual gatherings, businesses will have to know if guests will be willing to compromise their health and safety first, and data collection will help in this endeavor.
Among the many things the pandemic changed for good, the live events industry is at the top of the list. Stay up-to-the-minute with industry trends and changes if you want your business to come up with events that are relevant and engaging to consumers.