2021 was meant to be the year everything got back to normal: restrictions were to be lifted and the thought of 1,000 people in a room would become normal once again. While that’s certainly true for some parts of the world (hello New Zealand, China and Australia), the vast majority of us still face some form of limitations on physical gatherings. And to make things worse, the situation can and does change often, and very quickly.
All of which means many event organisers and clients are holding back, waiting for a definitive all-clear before committing time and budget to a Q3 event. While we understand this mindset, in our opinion there is no reason at all to wait: in fact, we believe waiting could seriously backfire.
Here’s five reasons why.
- You don’t have to commit to a physical event just yet
Your brief can be clear that while a physical event is your preference, you’d still like your agency to bake planned alternatives into their thinking, their budgeting and their timeline. Make it clear that flexibility is key, so you can own any pivot to another direction instead of being surprised by the need at the last minute.
- The experience strategy is the experience strategy
In many critical ways, it makes no difference if you’re talking to people physically or virtually: for an experience to be effective, it must be driven by sound strategic thinking, with appropriate insights at the heart of any solution.
You can start work on that now: I’m sure your agency would be happy to split this out from the wider budget, meaning you're only committing to a small part of the spend and that you’re ahead of the game when it comes to actually pressing go on the event.
The same holds true for much of the content and identity work required to tell your story in a compelling manner: both can be developed independently of the final delivery platform and in good time, ready to go in a virtual, hybrid or live context.
- Minimising risk at the concept stage
Work with your agency to develop a brief & a solution that delivers on your objectives, but also incorporates some simple measures to maximise the chance of the concept being deliverable with Covid limitations in mind.
Can you activate outside rather than inside? Can you run multiple connected locations, sharing content and speakers between sites to minimise long distance travel? You could consider running sessions twice to smaller audiences rather than once to a large one or look at a hybrid solution (small physical audience, larger one streamed) to minimise the scale of physical gatherings. There are many opportunities and possibilities, all of which can (and should) be considered now.
- Being COVID-19 secure takes time to plan and implement
Even if you’re not ready to brief a specific event you can (and should) be working with an agency to develop a set of Covid guidelines that makes it clear how you will operate in the future. Will you require guests to have a test to attend or will you use lateral flow tests on arrival? What will your maximum gathering size be? What’s your take on vaccination passports? And perhaps most importantly, how will you implement all these mitigations whilst maintaining the quality of the experience for your guests?
- Supply and demand
This one’s the biggest reason of all: so many bookings have been pushed back by those who had events cancelled over the last twelve months that it’s more difficult than ever to secure your preferred venue...just try booking a venue in London for this September or in mainland Europe or any major American market next summer and you’ll see that it’s a very big challenge indeed. As such, the sooner you can make an enquiry the better: many venues have updated their terms and conditions minimising any penalties for cancellation / delay meaning the financial implications of a change in policy are minimised. So get out there and get in early.
In short, there’s much work that can be done now, to put you in the right position to deliver effective events in Q3, without risking over-commitment. If any of the above strikes a chord, we’d be delighted to discuss it further with you, hit the button to get in touch.