Top Pandemic-Inspired Meeting Trends to Maintain
These best practices should remain as we return to in-person events.
As a sector defined by mass gatherings, handshakes and cross-country travel, the meetings industry was one of the first to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and one of the last to rebound. After spending the last year and a half in front of our screens—business on the top, party on the bottom—the shutdown validated that what we do is important and truly matters in the lives of our attendees. Now that we’re rebuilding our wardrobes and clamoring to return to in-person events, there are a few new, important practices that we should consider keeping around.
Don’t overlook the power of hybrid meetings. Though virtual meetings aren’t for everyone, the option to connect digitally makes meetings more accessible to a wider audience. Whether attendees who choose virtual over in-person options are those who can’t get time off from work, don’t have the budget to travel or are simply more introverted and prefer the education to the networking, these are all people who were being left out in the past. Meeting professionals are now skilled in developing virtual events, so consider keeping a hybrid option to grow registration and engagement. Look for destinations with Digital Event Specialists (DES) or convention centers with in-house AV partners to make this process easy.
Prioritize health and safety measures. Everyone from every industry can agree that health and safety must remain at the forefront as we enter the post-COVID world. We can expect to continue to have hand sanitizer readily available and see sanitization signage. There will also be an onus on attendees to ensure they mask up if they’re not feeling well. Planners can also offer the option to move registration to virtual-only as noted in the paragraph above.
Focus on digital-first planning. Digital planning tools will also continue to grow in importance. Options include apps, mobile-responsive sites, digital check-ins and agendas that keep all needed information at the tip of attendees’ fingertips so that they can keep those fingertips to themselves.
The last year and a half have been tough, no doubt about it. Now it’s time to look forward and grow from our experiences using what we’ve learned. Destinations and planners can work together to bring the industry back stronger than ever.
Columbus, the 14th largest city in the United States as well as the fastest-growing city in the Midwest, is a smart and open community with a dynamic convention package that can fit the needs of any group. Located within a one-day drive or one-hour flight from more than half of the U.S. population, Columbus is easily accessible for all. Learn more about Columbus at experiencecolumbus.com.
(martin-dm/E+/Getty Images Plus)