The in-person events industry in the US has taken a major hit as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, with thousands of events that were scheduled to happen this year either getting canceled or postponed indefinitely. The industry, which includes concerts, sports, and conferences, has been dealing with serious financial pain, and this has had a chain effect on different players, from event planners to venues and vendors. But, it’s not all doom and gloom: with most parts of the country lifting restrictions, the events industry is expected to bounce back sooner rather than later, and some event planners have even started making plans for their next events.
This is great news if you were looking forward to blogger conferences where you can learn new things about the industry, share ideas, and establish meaningful connections. But, with the COVID situation still ongoing, it will not be business as usual for blogger event planners. These are some of the things you can expect at the next blogger event you attend.
Virtual and hybrid events
While virtual events were already a growing trend before the pandemic as a result of advancements in video conferencing and streaming technologies, nobody expected them to become as popular as they have become over the past few months. During this period, countless virtual events have been held successfully, some of them garnering millions of viewers. Of course, virtual events won’t become the new normal, as the value of face-to-face interactions can’t be replaced, but they’ll become a key part of the future of the events industry.
One thing that you’re likely to see more of is hybrid events, where a small group attends an in-person blogger event and involves a broader audience through multiple digital channels. This will allow event organizers to take advantage of the many benefits virtual events have to offer, including enabling bloggers from around the world to attend, reducing costs of holding events, and lowering their carbon footprint.
Strict safety policies
Before holding a blogger in-person event, organizers will have to ensure that they provide a healthy and safe environment for their attendees. First of all, thermal scanning will be a requirement at entrances to ensure that anyone who shows symptoms is not admitted, and also to give attendees some reassurance.
Event organizers will also need to develop an effective sanitation and prevention plan in accordance with WHO and CDC guidelines; this could include installing more hand-sanitizing stations at the entrances and high-contact areas in the venue, cleaning the rooms at the conference every few hours, and cleaning booths at the end of each day.
To encourage social distancing, event organizers will have to be extremely careful about the number of attendees they’re allowing in a venue, as well as making adjustments to the room and seating configuration.
Another key safety consideration for blogger event managers will be how to manage food and beverage. For one, self-service buffets will not be a viable option for a while, as they can promote the transfer of germs from one attendee to another. Seated dining could be an option, but only if social distancing is observed and the staff members are adequately trained in food-handling and sanitation measures. Another great option is pre-packed meals that the attendees pick up or are placed at their seats at the event.
Rise of event-specific technologies
Many technologies are being developed that planning teams can use to boost safety, some of which you may come across at your next blogger event. For example, event apps offering geofencing and GPS tracking will be in high demand going forward, as they can be used to enforce social distancing. After gaining consent, event organizers can use apps or wearable devices to warn attendees who violate social distancing rules. If two attendees come too close to each other, their phones or bracelets would vibrate, reminding them to keep their distance.
UV-C purifiers will become a familiar sight in venues, helping to purify the air and deliver a virus-free environment. You can also expect a more contactless experience, particularly at the check-in stations. Robots could also become a familiar sight in events, handling roles such as cleaning, serving, and handling the check-in or check-out process.
The events industry has gone through hell over the past few months, but one thing is for sure: it will come back stronger and better than it ever was. However, you can expect the next blogger event you attend to be very different from the pre-pandemic days.