As event restrictions start to lift across parts of the country, many people are wondering how to plan the best event for their audience this summer. If you are curious about planning a live outdoor, or indoor/hybrid summer event, we’ve got you covered!
As restrictions, Covid-metrics, and access to vaccinations are changing every day, we’re still mostly looking to outdoor venues for any live element today (but of course are in touch daily with the City and all of our venue friends about going indoors safely as well!). The hybrid format lends to a lot of variety in how to approach the in-person event experience as well as flexibility for differing comfort levels. You likely need to be local to attend a live event these days, but you can stream a virtual event from anywhere!
Here’s what to consider for outdoor, hybrid events:
- Registration: Covid Planning for any format of event right now starts long before guests arrive on-site. Ideally, we’re sharing full protocol with guests before they even register to ensure they’re aware and in agreement before signing up. Every event is different, but local rules must apply in addition to any specifics to your event and program elements.
- Arrival: How will Covid protocol add time to guests’ arrival timing/time staggering, and related planning and staging of check-in? What are the current requirements for Covid tracing, on-site or advance testing, or app login purposes and when will those elements be executed? How will guests need to be spaced out when entering without blocking traffic?
- Space Setup: We’re also considering how to safely handout giveaways or swag, if assigned seating (or in the case of a drive-in, parking) is necessary, how we ensure safe photo ops, and any other elements that go into Covid compliance and maintaining a level of safety as well as a worthwhile and enjoyable guest experience.
Despite safety concerns, we definitely don’t want to short-change any opportunities for engagement, experiential, or brand activations within hybrid outdoor events. Certainly branding and giveaways are an easy way to tie it all together in-person or virtually. Using a social media aggregator and encouraging in-person and virtual guests to post allows their experiences to intertwine onscreen as well. Same with any on screen interactive elements and games which guests can play in person as well as virtually. Bridging the inevitable gap between audiences is a great way to make the experience more fun and engaging no matter where they are! Really, there are endless possibilities to make a hybrid event experiential and safe, which is something we love to explore with all of our clients!
Between the changing nature of regulations, and the need for a fully formed Plan Bs for both elements of your hybrid event, we’ll likely be planning two events with two backup plans simultaneously. This means two planning timelines, two run-of-shows, two sets of contingency plans, etc. It will likely mean that the project will be more expensive budget and fee-wise, especially if the virtual element is more than just a stream of the live experience. For that reason, hybrid events can be more expensive than just a live or virtual event. But don’t worry! We’re here to guide you through this process and to look for the best and most creative solutions for your hybrid event needs.
Yes, you still have to consider the weather during a pandemic! It’s no secret that summer weather can be unpredictable. We highly recommend having a solid backup plan that takes this into account. If you are weary of having an indoor venue as a backup space due to the pandemic, then we’d suggest a tent that allows for the event to still have plenty of airflow and essentially remain outdoors or plan for a backup date. Some venues will require you to make the call to move your event date 24 hours in advance, while others can be more flexible and work with a 5-6 hour window. Always be clear on your timing and keep your eyes on your weather app in the hours before you have to make the call.
It’s especially important for our team to naturally weave in safety to the design and strategy for all events that have an in-person component. Luckily for you, we take the guesswork out of planning a hybrid, summer event during these ever-changing times.
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