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Virtual and Hybrid Events

Imagining Virtual and Hybrid Events in a Post-Pandemic World

We asked Lisa DeGolyer, deputy executive vice president of the Association of Destination Management Executives International (ADMEI), about what event planners and attendees can expect as the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Can you discuss the need for virtual and hybrid events in 2021?

As life comes back to the live events industry, I can see how some organizations are benefiting from adding a hybrid option. I’m not a believer though that it is a blanket add-on for everyone. Some live events are better suited for it than others. Like continuing education seems logical to me, while more experiential events, not so much.  

With global events being on a virtual scale, what do you think is the importance of translation software?

I can see how that tool could be more in demand with a shift in the industry.  I’ve used it myself personally just as I’ve traveled, and the advancement of the software has really come a long way. I can only imagine it going up in need with this shift.

What do you think the future has in store when it comes to virtual and hybrid events?

In 2020 of course, most events cancelled or went virtual.  Now here we are just a few months later, midway through 2021, and things are improving in some parts of the world, and many are experimenting with offering the hybrid option.  

There is no surprise to me that there’s an uptick during this transitional time, but as our world continues to recover from COVID, I personally believe the dust will settle some. I think some events will continue to offer it because it makes sense for them, while I think others will decide it’s not a good business model for them.  

I think this is a year of trying it on for size and seeing if it fits with the culture of your organization and what your goals are. I’m not a believer that all events should or will offer a hybrid option, I just think each event really needs to analyze it and see if it best meets their objectives.

In a post-pandemic world, what do you think in-person events will look like?

As a planner, some of the things I’m thinking about are determining the protocols for meeting safety and navigating attendees’ personal decisions or their “rights,” and what challenges that will pose for us. And it seems to be a moving target. 

Planners are going to need to adjust as we go. I think developing and enforcing health and safety measures is a new hill to climb and, to be honest, as a planner, I am hoping to have experts that can help me do that. And that can be done through your local contacts or through a DMC.

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