Your Event Might Be COVID-Secure, but What If Attendees Still Aren’t Comfortable?

November 12, 2020

Toby Heelis

Toby Heelis is the CEO of Eventopedia. He has spent the last 20 years leading the meeting and events industry operating and marketing event venues.

Any respected and well-run venue will be ready and waiting for bookings, with the doors wide open and COVID-friendly measures in place to ensure all attendees are safe and distanced. However, venues are likely to operate at reduced capacity, meaning the event cannot reach its full potential.

Many people across North America and in the U.K. are still reluctant to attend events, and organizers also run the risk of closing their doors to those from outside of those countries. Despite the issues, there is still much that can be done. After all, the events industry has always been an adaptable one.

Go hybrid

In England, for example, live events cannot exceed 30 guests at the moment. The most obvious solution for hosting larger events is, of course, the hybrid format. Over the past months, the events industry has been adapting to the online landscape, and those who’ve had a head start will also be the first to embrace hybrid events, even with a small pool of live attendees.

Hybrid events can offer the “normal” experience to a number of guests, while also providing the option for countless others to attend remotely at a reduced price. It’s a great way to get the live events sector up and running again, something the industry has been waiting for during these past months – venues, service providers and countless freelancers who rely on live events.

If we want to see successful hybrid events becoming the norm, we need to address two urgent aspects. Firstly, regarding the virtual aspect of going hybrid, attendee engagement has been a big struggle, and it will need to be improved. Virtual events are still relatively new to most, and event profs are constantly learning how to offer a more engaging experience. Secondly, when it comes to the live aspect of hybrid events, a key issue to be addressed is a lack of confidence.

Increased transparency

Despite the need to restart live events, many event professionals are mainly planning to organize virtual events in the near future. There’s a palpable lack of confidence surrounding live events – in the preventive measures of venues and event planners – that generally isn’t justified.

For live events to get back to business, we first need to reduce fears and regain a sense of security. The good news is that the sector is addressing these issues. We can see numerous events associations pushing for more information, clearer best practices, more data and more unity.

The overwhelming majority of venues and event organizers are already following the requirements for safe events – they’ve been preparing for this moment for months. And in order to properly adapt to cater to the industry, transparency will be key. Guests as well as event professionals will want to easily see that all the measures are in place. Various types of accreditation could be a potential solution for reassuring the public.

Events in 2021

As we’re nearing the end of this year, the events sector is anxiously waiting for 2021. What next year will look like will largely depend on how the COVID-19 crisis evolves, but there’s good reason for hope.

Most likely, 2021 will be a busier year for the events industry. We will be better prepared next year, in all aspects of event management. By the end of next year, virtual and hybrid events will have evolved significantly, and event professionals will know how to make the most out of the increasingly helpful technologies.

Live events will also recover gradually, as public confidence increases. Yes, live events will still have to run at reduced capacity for the time being, but the flexible industry will find ways to make it work. For example, venues are allowed to host multiple simultaneous events as long as they adhere to specific measures and the groups don’t overlap. Thus, we might see venues dividing their larger event spaces to adapt to the new situation, hosting many smaller events. And these smaller events, which will require space and various services, are a great first step for a recovering industry.


Don’t miss any event-related news: Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter HERE and engage with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram!

Add new comment

Partner Voices
Dallas already boasts 35,000 hotel rooms, award-winning global cuisine, and a walkable downtown. But we are just getting started. Visit Dallas is thrilled to announce that the city of Dallas is doubling down with a massive new convention center and entertainment district. Featuring 800,000 square feet of exhibit area, 260,000 square feet of meeting rooms, and 170,000 square feet of ballroom. The center will connect business travelers with dining and shopping options in the popular Cedars District means more places to get down to business, and even more ways to unwind. “Dallas is already a great meetings and conventions destination, with the accessibility of two major airports, affordable labor, and an outstanding hotel product,” said D. Bradley Kent, Visit Dallas senior vice president and chief sales officer. “The new center and Convention Center District will enhance Dallas’ competitive position and are exactly what our customers’ need and have been asking for." What’s New – AT&T Discovery District Located in the heart of Downtown Dallas, this new district on the AT&T corporate campus is tailor-made for groups of all sizes. It boasts a multi-sensory experience, including outdoor event space, the AT&T Theater, and multiple dining outlets including JAXON Beer Garden and The Exchange, a bustling food hall. Hotels Coming Soon Names like the JW Marriott (Downtown), lnterContinental Dallas (Uptown), and Hotel Swexan (Uptown) are adding luxury amenities and bountiful event spaces. The projects will debut in 2023 and beyond. JW Marriott This new, 15-story, 283-room hotel will open in the heart of the city’s downtown Arts District this year. The property features a 25,000-square-foot grand ballroom, as well as a spa, restaurant, lobby bar, fitness center, and a rooftop pool deck and bar. InterContinental Dallas  Located in Cityplace Tower in Uptown, InterContinental Dallas will feature sweeping panoramic views of the Dallas skyline. Guests will enjoy spacious, high-end rooms and amenities, including more than 21,000 square feet of event space.   Hotel Swexan Hotel Swexan, a new, 22-story luxury property, is rising in Uptown’s Harwood District and will make its mark on the Dallas skyline. Opening this year, it is a sculptural building with cantilevered upper floors, as well as a 75-foot rooftop infinity-edge swimming pool and a hidden underground lounge.