By Jillian Schranz
Who’s ready for a cookout?
Wait, what? Yes, I said cookout, and yes, I’m hosting a backyard BBQ for family and friends this 4th of July. And as we head out for a long holiday weekend, it’s incredible to think that the return to backyard cookouts is really here. I’m incredibly grateful to be able to share an outdoor meal with the ones I love after a year and a half of very little social interaction. But that gratitude doesn’t stop at my own backyard.
As we gather for fireworks, hot dogs, watermelon, and water balloon tosses, our industry is finally beginning to reemerge from over a year of online events and back into live events with real human connection. Many leading large events like the Chicago, NYC, and Disney marathons have announced their return, paving the way for more events to boldly announce their live events this fall. And participants are excited! After 547 days of Zoom meetings, we can enjoy a funnel cake at our hometown carnivals, take in a live local music performance, or gather with others to run a live 5K, complete with bib and medal.
In a Forbes article this spring, the author stated “In-person events have always needed to evolve. Virtual events have expedited the process for both registration and attendance — all event organizers have to start thinking about what type of experience, content, and engagement they will have to account for following the shift to virtual.”
This rings especially true as we are finally returning to live experiences. Will our participants be more selective? Will this be the catalyst for rapid innovation of our on-event experience? As hard as it has been to “go dark” in 2020 – 2021, this time has created a sense of urgency behind optimizing our events in a way that wouldn’t have been possible without a break from the norm.
Virtual events will never replace a live, multi-sensory experience, but the time to identify the best experience for our participants is here because the return to live events isn’t 2022, it’s NOW.
We wish you a safe, fun, and restful holiday. Because once we return next week, it’s go time!
Jillian has worn many hats at Event 360 in the past 15 years – from fundraising coach to project manager, to event IT support. She knows our work and our team inside and out. In her current role as Director of Business Development, she can perfectly partner our clients with the services they need and ensure our team delivers flawless event experiences that yield happy participants and stellar results.