It’s an interesting time for the events industry… to say the least.

On the one hand, we are thrilled to see live events such as CVENT CONNECT and CEMA Summit provide a much-needed boost to live events. We’re all in favor of keeping attendees and travelers safe by applying good common sense and ongoing Duty of Care. We’re also big proponents of economic recovery. Ask any hospitality professional, and they’ll tell you a single meeting can employ a raft of talent. From airline personnel to restaurant staff to hotel bellmen, live gatherings serve as financial gain in any destination.

On the other hand, we have breakthrough infections for the fully vaccinated, and we have rising and aggressive variants. We battle mixed messages in the media. We see words like “new crises” followed by “expected rise.” So, how do we decide whether to plan live or virtual events? How do we navigate program decisions in times of COVID?

Below are some considerations to help you decide what’s best for your organization and your attendees:

Listen to Reputable Voices

News clips like this one from Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former FDA commissioner, predict a speedy flattening of the recent curve Scott Gottlieb: U.S. delta variant outbreak will peak in late August. Other experts may be less optimistic. Read more than one trustworthy news source. Meet with your company decision-makers often to re-visit your POV and live event policy.

Listen to Yourself

Still not comfortable? That’s okay! Curtail live gatherings, but make sure you ask the right questions soon after this decision. Questions such as “What company goals still need to be met?,” How do we engage our remote audience to achieve these goals?,” and “What, exactly, is our alternative methodology?”

Continue to Engage…

We learned one thing in 2020, and that’s how to engage audiences virtually. The good news is many models now exist! Small, local live gatherings can happen while on-demand content becomes available globally. Large gatherings aren’t bound by hotel availability or time zones. Content can be consumed with no timeline or restrictions… get creative!

…And Reward

We need to keep high achievers and employees engaged while we muddle through a bit more monotony. Consider points-driven reward programs and fun virtual gifting events. We are (hopefully) close to the finish line – don’t let Zoom Gloom derail company momentum!

Prepare for Change

Keep in mind that even your site inspection may feel a bit different. Hotels and DMCs are just now staffing back up to prepare for larger-scale events. Flexibility and patience will be key – which brings us to our final consideration…

Practice Patience

When less-than-stellar news breaks, one often has a window of time before a higher level of penalties kick-in. Take advantage of this breathing room. If a cancellation penalty/deadline is not looming, consider waiting 3-4 weeks to re-evaluate the environment. In addition to expert modeling, state and corporate policies may very well influence the outcome.

Want to read ongoing conversations about our industry’s recent live events? Check out these hashtags on social media and read all the buzz.

#cventconnect #CEMASummit2021 #eventprofs

Planning live or virtual events? We’re here to help.

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