The Post-Pandemic Future of In-Person Meetings

Tech tricks learned during the pandemic can improve in-person meetings as we slowly return to normal.

How will lessons learned from the pandemic affect future face-to-face meetings?

Until We Meet Again…Face to Face

“Hey, can you hear me? Is my microphone on? Sorry, I should be good at this by now!”

Our industry, like so many others, came to a screeching halt when the pandemic hit in 2020, and we were forced to settle into the norm of virtual meetings. And while we’ve all grown comfortable with simply being camera-ready from the waist up for video calls, we’re still longing for a return to face-to-face meetings. The pandemic has shown us how valuable in-person connections are and that no amount of technology can replicate those experiences.

Despite the current trend of offering in-person and virtual experiences with hybrid meetings, there are numerous reasons why returning exclusively to face-to-face meetings will be paramount, especially for meetings focusing on training and certifications. Many medical meetings provide professionals with hands-on instruction as part of their continued education. Technical students depend on in-person demonstrations to effectively showcase their abilities as part of their career advancement.

But incorporating components from online events such as virtual booths, breakout networking sessions and remote speakers into meetings can bring value on a larger scale. While this may require additional labor and a bigger budget, it will increase participation from attendees who may not have previously had the opportunity to join. Improved accessibility can significantly grow an association’s member base, potentially across the globe.

For in-person meetings, cleanliness will continue to take priority at convention centers, hotels, restaurants, and other venues. A newly heightened awareness of sanitation will keep attendees safeguarded, with the health of all participants being a top priority that can also provide additional benefits. For example, the trend toward using mobile check-ins for touch-free interactions can also streamline and speed up registration processes. The ability to provide services we need more quickly and efficiently with the help of new technologies is always a positive.

The resilience of our industry has been proven throughout the past year. Many organizations have had to do more with fewer resources. Possibly the most important lesson from the pandemic is to be nimble. It’s important to be willing to pivot and have a plan for the situations we may least expect. As face-to-face meetings return, we must remember what the last year has taught us, and celebrate how far we’ve come.

When the time comes to turn off our webcams, put away our comfy pants and return to places we haven’t visited in many months, we will do so with a newfound sense of appreciation and gratitude—and a few extra tricks up our sleeves.

In Atlanta, we pride ourselves on a collaborative hospitality community that is dedicated to making every meeting a success. Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau works as a team with our hotels, venues, restaurants, neighbors and ambassadors to create a seamless meeting experience. Now is the time to see Atlanta like you never have before.

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