Businesses Are Ready to Return to In-Person Conventions
The coronavirus pandemic has changed how we live, play, and work. It stirred markets and industries and taught business owners the value of a healthy workforce. It halted gatherings, stopped major conferences, changed traditional marketing strategies forever.
It has been two years, and we’re still captive by Covid-19. Some businesses continue remote work with most of their marketing tactics held online to avoid spreading the virus. Others have adopted a hybrid workforce with workers spending some days at home and the rest in an in-office setup.
As workers shifted from hybrid to full-time face-to-face work, in-person conventions slowly started coming back. For example, in August 2021, ASD Market Week, a B2B trade show held in Las Vegas, gathered around 30,000 attendees. The retail event launched carefully and safely, requiring attendees to wear masks. At the same time in Chicago, 432 vendors and 17000 attendees were at The Black Women’s Expo. It was another successful masked in-person convention.
What We Learned So Far
We’re still riding the pandemic with no end in sight. Our Word in Data reported that more than 4 billion fully vaccinated individuals, which is more than half of the worldwide population. It’s unknown if a more severe Covid-19 variant is on its way, but many businesses are preparing for the worst.
Many employers are now requiring their workers to get vaccinated against Covid-19. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s emergency temporary standard requires employers with 100+ employees to implement plans for their workers to get vaccinated or tested every week for Covid-19. The ETS also required employees to wear masks while at work.
Last year, some online events escaped the pandemic entirely. For example, the Web Summit, a tech conference for startups, held a virtual-only event. It cost only $100 compared to the previous $700, thus attracting more attendees from different countries.
However, many participants agreed that something was missing: human interaction. Although attendees could access the event entirely online, there was a lack of quality in-person interaction in live events.
Controversial Live Events
A part of preparing for an in-person convention in 2022 is looking at some controversial live events. For example, in February 2020, the Boston Biogen leadership event attracted attendees from outside Massachusetts and even participants from abroad. The event was dubbed a “superspreader event” linked to around 300,000 coronavirus cases.
Some events were canceled or delayed because of the pandemic. The New York Auto Show will return in April 2022 after being canceled in 2020 and 2021. Pre-Covid-19, this auto show attracts millions from around the country and from abroad.
Safe Return to In-Person Events
Getting employees vaccinated is just one part of the solution. A large part rests on event organizers to ensure participants follow minimum health requirements during conventions and events.
Staying safe while in an in-person convention is the goal of the Render-Atlanta software engineering conference organizers. According to organizers, the mid-September tech event will be safer for vendors and attendees. Participants must present a vaccination certificate as proof of their vaccination status or a negative test result to enter the venue. In addition, attendees must wear a mask while inside the area. Participants may personalize their masks as souvenirs.
The organizers also developed a unique system that shows the level of comfort attendees have during the event—for example, distributing black-and-white bracelets with a unique design. People wearing bracelets with dots are comfortable with social interaction. In contrast, those wearing striped bracelets don’t want to interact with other attendees.
The human interaction part that in-person conventions bring in this kind of event will be present. Those who want to partake may do so, while those who prefer to avoid interactions may do as they wish.
2022 In-Person Conventions – What to Expect
The Center for Exhibition Industry Research acknowledges the coronavirus pandemic’s overwhelming negative impact on the live events industry. However, CEIR also cited that they don’t see the industry recovering until next year.
Industry leaders have another opinion in Las Vegas, where conventions like CES take place annually. Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority CEO and president Steve Hill say 2022 is a good year for the live events industry. He knows that a lot depends on Covid-19, including travel restrictions, but he has a positive outlook for the year.
Digital Authority Partners agrees that businesses like restaurants and hotels will soon get back to full capacity. Virtual conventions will stay as these help organizers, and companies gain revenue. But people will quickly flock to live events as they yearn for in-person interactions.
In-person events will likely impose stricter safety rules to avoid infections. Attendees can expect the following.
- More stringent adherence to minimum health protocols like wearing masks and social distancing.
- Ask attendees to show proof of their vaccination status before booking the event. Walk-in attendees may not be allowed.
- Implementing respect for the right to get a vaccine. But the attendee must submit a negative Covid-19 test result days before the event.
- Masks will be a standard convention or event souvenir.
- Event organizers and vendors will have access to free testing during the event.
- Limit the number of people to follow social distancing guidelines.
- Open-air events will be more accepted but require masks and vaccinations.
Safe marketing practices will be a part of a fractional CMO’s agenda when preparing for in-person conventions. Therefore, your marketing team should focus on providing effective marketing strategies and, at the same time, follow safe practices, especially when engaging in live conventions.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, more and more businesses are adopting safer and more practical solutions for safe in-person conventions. However, safety in events rests on the marketing team and event organizers. If all companies closely follow safety regimens, more live events will return this 2022.
Businesses Are Ready to Return to In-Person Conventions – What You Can Do to Prepare