Is This The Future Of In-Person Event Design?
12th March 2021
During the Covid-19 pandemic the industry has taken a massive hit, and although virtual life has become a normality for many of us, it still does not match the connection we crave in the real world.
Research is constantly proving the immense importance of social connection on our health and well-being, and whilst we are on the verge of a loneliness epidemic, events and community are now more important than ever.
With social contact laws possibly being relaxed on June 21st, the question is, how do we now design large events to instil confidence back into our consumers?
In The Mind Of The Consumer
How do consumers really feel about returning to in-person events?
82% of festival-goers feel comfortable returning to an event within one to six months of lockdown being lifted, despite not being vaccinated.
Due to the virus severity and potential long term effects, hosting large events is a major risk considering the vaccine rollout will not be complete. However, the vaccine could build confidence for consumers and increase the likelihood to return.
Although, many fans appear to be staying loyal by holding onto tickets ready for re-scheduling.
Event organisers are urging the Government to announce mandatory vaccinations before attending large events. Confidence in having the vaccination is rising as survey results show a shift from 55% to 77% from November to February (Justine Alford, Institute of Global Health Innovation).
Although, it has been suggested to be discriminatory as it would be granting privileges to vaccinated people, which could create conflict.
A study by Julius Solaris (EventMB) suggests that 70.5% of event managers will have a digital strategy in place after the pandemic. However, 80% of virtual event attendees are keen to attend in-person events within the next 12 months (Shea Bennett, The Drum).
For others who do not feel safe attending in-person events, hybrid gives the opportunity to reach consumers from home. So, what can event managers do to increase consumer confidence at in-person events?
How Has Consumer Confidence Already Been Created?
Events and hospitality industries around the world during the pandemic were able to find creative solutions to safely continue their operations.
Some examples include:
A German café provided customers with ‘pool noodle’ hats to ensure social distancing.
Paris created a cinema on the water where attendees could watch a film from the comfort of socially distanced electric boats.
The Flaming Lips rock concert had the audience watching from inside “space bubbles”.
A bar in Maryland has used giant inflatable ‘bumper tables’ to allow people to grab a drink with their friends.
Using creativity to design safer spaces for attendees is the way forward, giving consumers the confidence to return to events as well as keeping them fresh and fun.
Creating Consumer Confidence At In-Person Events
There are numerous ways you can design your events to increase consumer confidence, here are some innovative ideas you could implement:
- Covid Passports:
- People will feel safer at events if everyone there has a covid passport to prove they have had the vaccine
- The possible implementation of a negative result to gain entry, as 40% of people do not show any symptoms (Elisabeth Mahase at BMJ)
- Covid Marshalls help ensure everyone is sticking to regulations as consumers can momentarily forget about the measures
- People will feel safer returning to events if they are accredited as Covid safe by VisitBritain – ‘We’re Good To Go’
- Perhaps technology is the future of event safety, with new devices constantly being developed
- No physical ticket
- Time to enter feature (reduce queuing, arrival time and entry location)
- Virtual waitlist
- Track and trace
- UV Lighting:
- UV robots- Moving from room to room using UV light to kill bacteria without supervision
- Lighting systems disinfect entire rooms with ultraviolet light
- Artificial Intelligence
- Automated check-in terminals using facial recognition to streamline key touch-points
- Digital assistants and chatbots to provide information
- Wearable Technology
- Smart wristbands- vibrate when you get too close to one another
- Controls access, monitors behavior and traces contact
- Colour coding to indicate comfort levels in regards to socialising and social distancing
Tell Us Your Thoughts!
How do you feel about the return of events without the entirety of the UK being vaccinated?
Do you think the increase of hybrid will decrease footfall at events?
What methods do you think will make consumers more confident to attend events again?
(Thanks to Aleksandra Kingo for permission to use header image)