Event planning is not the same rodeo it was before March 2020—or even March 2021. If you’re doing things the way you’ve always done them, then it’s time to shift. Beyond COVID-19, the world is changing, and what people are looking for is changing too. The economy and social responsibility are more important to attendees than ever before. And while we’re tired of the dreaded C word—COVID—it does need to be factored in somewhere.
Strategists have spent time predicting and wondering about what our new normal will be, and now it’s time to put it into practice. As we look ahead, avoid making these four blunders in your 2022 events.
1. Leading with COVID-19 messaging
Most people have COVID fatigue from dealing with loss and all of the disruptions caused by the pandemic. Folks are ready to gather together again, even if those gatherings are smaller and look a bit different. Try to avoid harping on COVID-19 ad nauseum and simply celebrate the fact that you can convene beyond Zoom!
2. Not addressing COVID-19 at all
That being said, COVID-19 is not eradicated altogether. Work with your venue manager to assess what protocols are needed to host your event safely. Inform attendees of any requirements related to vaccines or temperature checks so they’re prepared. Also reassure them that you’re making an effort to keep them healthy—but without overly dramatic language and fearmongering.
3. Making your event in-person only
Hybrid events are here to stay! The last two years have shown us that while the experience of attending an event virtually is different, it is possible. With inflation and COVID-related financial woes, many organizations are simply unable to send their constituents to conferences requiring hefty travel expenses, so tailor to them. Offer an online component to your event, and make it amazing. Dedicate resources to make it worthwhile for all who participate in your event, however they attend.
4. Being socially conscious
People are more socially and environmentally aware than ever before, so make an effort to convene your event thoughtfully and intentionally. This was beginning pre-pandemic and has become even more important. From lessening your environmental footprint to serving your host city to diversifying your speaker lineup, make choices that reflect the values of your organization and show you care about more than your own agenda.
The year 2022 has the potential to begin a new era in the events industry—one that’s COVID-aware, hybrid and not self-serving, safe, savvy and socially responsible. Be on the front lines of change by planning your 2022 gatherings intentionally.