Is it possible for a virtual event to be better than a physical one? We seem pretty desensitised by virtual meetings at this point in (Covid-19) time – mute yourself, share screen, raise questions in the Q&A chat, laggy videos that play through Zoom… The novelty of virtual events has worn off and what we get now is “Zoom fatigue”, or the overuse of virtual platforms of communication, which is a real thing.
Today, as with nearly 12 months ago, we are still faced with mounting challenging and uncertainties that industries, companies and marketeers and event organisers have to overcome.
Numerous events that we have been looking forward to were either postponed or cancelled – namely the long-awaited Olympics, concerts by our favourite artists, weddings, product-launch events, and conferences that enrich our knowledge. Many of us are wondering: What will be the new “normal” for events in 2021?
Will there still be many events cancelled in 2021?
Indeed, some of us have been disappointed by the calling off of several events that we all enjoy. However, looking on the bright side, some events will either be postponed, or will have adopted a different method of execution.
Will it be virtual or in person?
Events will have a highly possibility that they will be carried out virtually, through any of the wide variety of online platforms such as Zoom, Eventcloud, Attendify, and others.
Many conferences and events moved to virtual systems instead of traditional in-person schedules.
That being said, one of such events is the CES, organised by the Consumer Technology Association, the largest trade show in North America recently announced that they have decided to shift their in-person 2021 event from the Las Vegas Convention Center to the comfort of screens of our smart devices.
In 2021, such situations of holding events virtually will be very common.
In addition, some may feel skeptical about being in an enclosed area with others, having their very own health and safety as their priority. In a survey conducted by “Martech”, more than 66% of those surveyed said they would only attend online or virtual events in the fourth quarter without a proven vaccine for the coronavirus.
Mask requirements and regulations put in place that limit the size of social gatherings may also cause some to still feel unsure.
“Regular temperature checks and a way to allow for distance, but still an opportunity to network or go to booths,” quoted from one respondent. “Limited numbers, seating charts, adhering and showing how you’re adhering to all health guidelines ahead of the event.” quoted from another respondent. Nevertheless, these safety precautions may still not be capable of allaying fears of the public.
Furthermore, in order to meet the regulations before the confirmation of the Covid-19 vaccine, companies and organisers of the events have to put in much effort to ensure that the number of people in an enclosed area at any point in time does not break any rules and regulations.
Without a doubt, the regulations in place are not easy to follow, and may cause inconvenience to some companies, leading to companies preferring to execute their event online instead.
If a physical event goes on, an experienced events company will be needed to handle these stringent regulations and logistical barriers.
Will the events be more personalised?
The answer is yes! As companies and organisations are taking events online, we can expect events to be more personalised. Today, we shop online, order food online, our lives basically revolve around the internet!
E-commerce events will become increasingly prevalent, where brands will use online platforms to engage with customers and cater to their needs while remaining authentic and sincere simultaneously.
Expect to spot a higher level and more detailed personalisation for consumers through technology: apps, gamification, polls and more, delivered directly to their smartphones. This is done by the analysis of data that were keyed in by each user, hence making it personalised.
Will the events be interesting despite it being virtual?
It is possible for a virtual event to be better than a physical one!
Many companies are putting their best foot forward to innovate and bring something fresh and unique to the table, using their critical thinking skills and creativity.
The focus has been on reinventing how brands can form strong connections and have amazing engagement with the public, even without meeting each other in person.
Even after Covid-19, events will most likely not return to its old self. Instead, this marks a new beginning for the execution of events, giving brands the chance to seize the golden opportunity to innovate and make a change.
Up next: using virtual reality to engage and interact with the products related as part of a product-launch event!
Will the events be sustainable?
Most companies and organisations will probably strive to reach sustainability goals.
In the year of 2021, a strong stand towards any global issue is expected more than ever with recent happenings, and one of them being the environment for sure.
As we have witnessed climate change resulting in many disastrous situations, many are being more eco-friendly. Focusing on sustainability and the reduction of waste will do the company good as event attendees will likely expect sustainable incentives and eco-friendly initiatives that will definitely stand out and grab attention.
Therefore, sustainability will definitely be one of the hottest trends for events in 2021.
Let’s embrace the new norm for events after this unprecedented “makeover” that has changed the face of events forever. What remains behind the event is still the same, however – forming meaningful connections and building real relationships with people.