Insight: Issue 11 (9th September)
In case you hadn’t heard. . .
Team Cameron have a new podcast! We’ll be chatting with industry leaders about all things events, sharing knowledge and spreading hope as we get on with tackling the rest of 2020. Episode 1 stars Judith Wilson—Director of EventIt and EventsBase Magazine—who gave us her take on the current situation and the future of events. Go on, have a listen.
In other news, we’ve got: info on the updated government guidance for the events sector; tips for event marketers planning hybrid events, and for event designers planning COVID-era in-person events; an argument for why live events are going to change for the better; an intro to the next phase of the #WeMakeEvents campaign, called #StandAsOne; and a powerful video that *everyone* should see.
Update: Scot govt guidance for events sector
The Scottish Government updated their coronavirus guidance for the events sector last week. As usual, if you need a refresher you’ll find all the info you need on the government website.
As it stands, outdoor live events with allocated seating are allowed to take place; assuming 2m physical distancing is followed, and attendance is limited to 200 people at any one time. Outdoor live events in open spaces (i.e. not seated) are also fine, but guests must be able to spread out over a wide area, and the 200-person limit still applies. Outdoor live events with ‘focused standing’ could be the next to resume; that’s where guests stand in a more limited space, with clear focal points. This will be reviewed in tomorrow’s government briefing (10 September), with an indicative restart date of 14 September—however with localised lockdowns things may change fast, so watch this space.
Planning hybrid events: 4 tips for event marketers
With the UK events industry still hamstrung by these restrictions, the possibility of hybrid events feels like the light at the end of the tunnel. Going hybrid could pave the way for ultra-personalised, hyper-connected events; creating experiences that are more immersive and engaging than ever before. But this switch is not without its challenges, as event profs will suddenly be managing 2 events in 1.
To help us out, Smart Meetings shared 4 tips for event marketers planning hybrid events, including:
- Think virtual first. A hybrid experience should feel like one cohesive event, not two separate ones. Planning with a virtual-first mentality will ensure your virtual attendees feel like valued participants, as much as the in-person delegates.
- Hire event tech managers. When it comes to virtual event platforms, one size does not fit all. An event tech manager can help you find the best platform and make sure the event experience is seamless for every delegate—whether they’re on the screen or in the room.
- Level up tech production skills. Marketing teams will need more technical expertise to create compelling virtual and hybrid events. So it’s no surprise that job postings for in-house virtual event planners have risen a whopping 300% since lockdown…
- The venue matters. Physical distancing requirements, PPE, hygiene stations, one-way systems, and high tech requirements are *just a few* of the things event profs will need to consider when choosing a venue.
So…piece of cake, yeah?
5 ways to COVID-proof your event design
Speaking of one-way systems, event design will be very different in this new physically-distanced world. Creativity and flexibility will be the required ingredients for delivering stylish spaces that also keep attendees safe. Plus, event designers will be faced with the daunting task of transforming attendees’ social behaviour through their designs—because, as we’re said before, humans aren’t exactly hard-wired to socially distance.
To get a better handle on this new reality, Event Marketer spoke to a few experts and rounded up 5 top tips for designing events in the COVID-19 era.
- Implement ‘owned’ spaces. The days of delegates plopping themselves down wherever they please are over—at least for now. Assigned seats will be the order of the day, likely separated by acrylic dividers.
- Limit seating. Maintaining 2m of distance between attendees means reducing the amount of seating in a venue by…a lot. Sadly, we found that out the hard way when we mapped out socially-distanced layouts for Scotland’s top venues a while back.
- Use signage. Directing the flow of traffic at events will be essential, so signage and decals will be the key to maintaining an effective one-way system.
- Create a warm environment. Many people are on edge about attending in-person events, so you’ll want to make them feel as comfortable as possible. Squishy sofas, anyone?
- Keep up to date with local event guidelines. After all, the number of people permitted to attend an event can have a major impact on design—and you don’t want any nasty last-minute surprises.
Events are not dead. . .but they need to change
With that last article in mind, it goes without saying that events need to change. But for anyone out there worrying that live events will die a slow death in favour of their virtual counterparts, you might want to read this piece on Event Manager Blog. The author argues that we should, in fact, expect the opposite—that months of virtual-only meet-ups will lead to more adventurous, more exciting, and more engaging live experiences.
While virtual events will persist, of course, these will likely be the events that didn’t need to be live to begin with (the familiar mantra ‘this meeting could have been an email’ could well be adapted to ‘this event could have been virtual’). But the need to meet people in person will never go away. And for those of us who live to plan and attend awesome live events, the desire to do so will be stronger than ever before.
So yeah, give it a read—you’ll feel better.
#WeMakeEvents campaign moves to next phase
The #WeMakeEvents campaign made headlines last month as venues and landmarks across the UK were lit up crimson in support of the ‘Red Alert Day of Action’, which called on the government to provide meaningful support for the events industry. Now the campaign is moving into the next phase, called Stand As One.
The group will be announcing a number of events which will be held throughout the month, leading up to the #WeMakeEvents ‘Global Day of Creative Action’ on 30 September—more details on this to come. In the meantime, they’re asking everyone who normally works in live events to keep up the momentum and continue to take action:
- Write to your MP.
- Share #WeMakeEvents content on social media.
- Call someone you know who may be able to help.
For more info on how to get involved, visit wemakeevents.com.
Scotland’s event techs & artists weather a storm, in more ways than one. . .
If you’re looking for content to share on social, this powerful video is a good place to start. Posted on Facebook by Miriam Wolanski—Production Manager, Artist, and Technician—it shows the efforts of a group of incredible event profs and techs during their Red Alert activation on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill on 11 August.
Now share, share, share!