With the Covid-19 vaccine being rolled out as we speak, and with this year of unprecedented challenges drawing to a close, 2021 sits on the horizon like an official beacon of hope. But among the celebration and tentative spirit-raising, is the awareness that things are by no means about to revert to the ‘normality' we once knew overnight. Next year will come with its own unique set of challenges, like the events industry finding its feet again against the most difficult backdrop.
Adaptations will still need to play a significant role while the Covid vaccine works its way around the global population. Some of these, of course – with their ingenuity and out-the-box problem-solving – will most probably be here to stay long after Covid is no longer a prevalent threat.
With all this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the event planning trends we can expect to see over the course of 2021 (and, in some cases, beyond).
(Even) more virtual and hybrid events
In a sense, us humans are less open to embracing change than we might think. Take virtual and hybrid events, and the opportunities they undoubtedly open up. For many of us, it’s taken a global pandemic to really harness the power of online in all the ways we have been doing over the past nine or so months. But now that we have, it’s hard to imagine a world where most events don’t include some level of ‘hybridity’. Or where impressive virtual conferences aren’t a staple of the business world, or live-streamed acoustic sessions no longer happen from artists’ back rooms. Here’s to 2021 making the mix of virtual and in-person eventship even bigger, even better, and even more gratifying for people looking for new ways to push their offering to the max.
More seated events, and ‘bubble’ events
To make sure capacity is managed and social distancing remains possible, it’s likely we’re going to see a rise in seated events as things like in-person concerts start to become the norm again.
That is, until Covid numbers drop sufficiently for traditional standing gigs to be safe. Whenever that may be, we have a feeling there’ll be flocks of crowds waiting to get back to that place they love more than anywhere in the world: the middle of an enraptured crowd watching their favourite artist perform.
Alongside seated events, events that have created their own ‘bubble’ system – where attendees can stand but must stay within their allocated section – are likely to continue into 2021.
At Ticket Tailor, we’ve introduced reserved seating to make things that bit more streamlined for event planners who are new to fully seated events.
More attractions and events using time slots
Time slots come with their pros and cons, but in terms of getting events up and running amidst a global pandemic, they’re a godsend. We’ve seen tons of events and attractions that wouldn’t normally use timed entry turning to it in order to keep guests coming through their doors.
While it can take away an air of spontaneity at certain attractions, there are lots of benefits to time slots too, including keeping tabs on capacity and making things more manageable for staff.
We reckon timed entry will play a big part in the events scene in 2021, with some events and attractions choosing to keep it in a post-Covid world, and others ditching it as soon as they can!
Less paying on the door, more cashless events
“We prefer card payments” has become one of the most common utterances of retail and event staff alike this year. With an increased awareness of the spreading of germs, we think a move towards cash-minimal events is one that’s here to stay. Even after the Covid vaccine has worked it’s magic.
Less physical tickets, more e-tickets
Paperless bills have long been a thing, and e-tickets are hardly a new concept. But the pandemic has meant there’s one more reason physical tickets might be on their way out. And with the rise in slick check-in apps and feature-robust event registration platforms, 2021 is likely to be just the start of a fully e-ticketed events world.
Drive-ins, drive-thrus, all the drives
All hail the almighty drive-in! From outdoor cinemas to spooky Halloween adventures, through to epic Christmas light displays, we’re sure we’re going to see the trend of drive-thru events staying strong in 2021. And we think this one’s here to stay – not only has the revivance of the drive-in cinema proven an incredibly popular way to get out and about amid a pandemic, some of the drive-thru displays we’ve seen have been so impressive it’s impossible to see how they’ll simply cease to be a thing post-Covid.
More elbow room, please
For most, there’ll have to be at least some degree of heightened event capacity management throughout 2021, with venues not being able to fill up to their pre-pandemic levels for a while yet. At Ticket Tailor, we’re helping with this challenge with a new socially distanced seating feature that helps event planners keep things Covid secure.
For now, gone are the days of bustling conferences and raucous mosh pits. That’s no to say it’ll be this way forever, though. Which brings us onto...
A renewed passion for live in-person events
Sure, hybrid events are here to stay, and virtual events have been the saviour of 2020. But as we start to ease out of this pandemic once and for all, there’s no doubt that people are going to experience a renewed respect for the live, in-person event. The atmosphere and unrivalled sense of connection to other like-minded individuals felt at these kinds of events is hard to replicate. And while it may feel like a far off dream for so many right now, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that 2021 will see the resurgence of the treasured live, in-person event.
No one can predict for sure what next year will bring. But as we move towards the end of this one, we’re saying a big hip hip hooray to the shimmering light at the end of the tunnel that is 2021.