When the pandemic first started, we thought pivoting to an all-virtual world was complicated. And it was. But what has become even more complicated, is all of the options we have to consider in this half in/half out world we’re in right now. People are eager to get back to as much of a normal life as possible, so regardless of any restriction changes, events are here to stay.
But that’s easier said than done, given all the potential scenarios we have to plan for. Here are a few tips to consider when planning your next virtual event, based on common things that have come up for us:
- Plan for multiple scenarios (virtual, hybrid and in-person). What will each scenario look like? Of course, you’ll have your preference that you’ll plan and have your fingers crossed for, but make sure that you at least have a skeleton plan for other scenarios. If you have to pivot, chances are that it’s going to happen quickly. Make sure you’re not starting from scratch at the 11th hour.
- Have a contingency budget. Each scenario is going to have different costs associated with them, so make sure you have the money to make a pivot. Look into what online platforms will cost so you’re not caught off guard. We even encourage putting deposits down on venues you’d use for other scenarios so that they’re already there if you need them. It may seem excessive, but the peace of mind is worth it. Trust us!
- Make sure your expectations are realistic. If you started planning an in-person event and had to pivot to virtual or hybrid, don’t assume that the planning or event itself will be ‘easier.’ We’d argue that virtual events done well are harder to plan and execute than an in-person event. You can also expect that the number of planning hours and scope of work will increase.
- Develop a detailed communications plan. Being transparent with your attendees and making sure they have the information they need is critical. When you promote your event, let them know that you have back-up plans in case restrictions change. Write your communications in advance in case you have to change scenarios. Having them ready to go will be a lot less stressful, especially with everything else you’ll have on your plate. Of course, you may have to edit them, but that’s so much easier than writing from scratch.
Hiring an event planner is a good investment, especially in the unpredictability that is now our world. Having someone on your team who’s planned for multiple scenarios and has experience executing events across all the scenarios is going to make a huge difference for your event (and for your sanity).
– Your Tycoon, Laryssa XO