The world of event planning has been changed irrevocably in a post COVID world and while we have no way of predicting when exactly things will return to something that more closely resembles “normal”, we as event planners have an opportunity to showcase one of our super skills - our adaptability and ability to think on the fly - to help shape the event planning industry of the future. With changes to government guidelines, virus variants impacting potential attendees willingness to travel to in-person events and continued supply chain strains, the challenges for event planners are bigger than ever. That said, there are some silver linings and new event planning practices that are good for the industry and the environment that we are hopeful will become part of the norm in a post COVID world.
When the world went into lockdown last March, we saw some profound changes in our natural world. Water and air quality improved, carbon emissions were reduced and pollution was showing signs of reverse. How do we continue that trend as we move toward a post COVID world? Sustainable events are going to be the key to continuing that trend in a post COVID era and we as event planners have a unique ability to shape what those look like. While the carbon footprint reduction is evident, the use of new and innovative technologies puts some very exciting new tools in our planning toolbox.
Another step toward sustainable events is to go paperless. As we learned during our lockdown, we can do everything online and via digital applications and there is no reason to reverse course! Instead of mailing out invites or memos, create an event page, app or email subscription for your attendees. Combine this with a devoted events page on social media or your client’s organizational page will help streamline communication, save on printing and mailing cost and set your event off on the right note. Take it to the next level with an online platform for registration that culminates in email or text notifications and e-tickets that can be linked via email or smartphone links. Skip the badges and conference booklets/event maps by creating a fun event app or event management software.
While we are thinking about those digital tools, consider how to use those tools to engage your attendees both before and during your event, too. Live streams, hashtags and interactive polls and chats are a great - and very inexpensive way - to engage both in person and hybrid attendees alike and drive communication and buzz about your event.
Whether you are planning just a few events or are part of a larger event planning community, making these suggested changes can go a long way toward making all of our events more sustainable in the future. One event and one planner at a time, we can make major strides toward a more sustainable event planning industry and overall, a better environment for all of us. Have you implemented any new ideas in your events? We would love to hear about them?