How Corporate Meetings Will Continue to Adapt

May 7, 2021

Katherine Frost

Katherine Frost is the founder and CEO of event planning software ORO, a tech platform for professional event planners to streamline their workflow for speed and productivity by consolidating all of the spreadsheets, binders, and contracts into one easy-to-use tool.

Throughout the last year, the events industry has completely changed from how we knew it. In-person events are happening on a much smaller scale, travel has been restricted and venues closed down, limiting the number of corporate events. Over a year into the pandemic, we are finally starting to see some positive changes happening. Every day, more and more people are being vaccinated against COVID-19 and states are beginning to re-open, showing a promising future for in-person events once again. While the world tries its best to get back to normal, corporate events are navigating right alongside it with the additions of more meaningful events.

A Larger Focus on the Little Details and Technologies to Help

Smaller gatherings may not be ideal, but they do allow for more focus on smaller details.

Keeping safety guidelines in mind, planners have the opportunity to now plan teambonding exercises with different groups, and larger-scale event ideas. With smaller events more likely to occur, there is a chance that your company is spending less money than normal on corporate retreats and gatherings. With fewer people, more money can be put elsewhere for these retreats, creating a safe and fun environment for colleagues.

Smarter event technologies are evolving, which will allow planners to not only oversee the planning process, but also make time for an attention to detail that goes beyond the corporate branded stress ball or pens than we’re accustomed to. Corporate events are now elevating the smaller in-person meetings or virtual meetups, or hybrid events to feature more personalization for each guest. The role of planners will help tremendously when planning these events. With daily changes happening around COVID, there’s always the possibility of having to switch venues and with movement like that, planners and event technology can help these transitions run more smoothly.

Making the Most of Virtual Events

As the world slowly begins to re-open, virtual and hybrid events are still being used as a popular way of socializing with family, friends, co-workers, etc. We’ve learned a lot over the last year, including how to smoothly host virtual events, and make the most out of them. After heavily relying on platforms such as Zoom and Google Hangouts, and other virtual platforms, the virtual events trend will likely continue throughout the rest of 2021.

For those that are longing to get back to “normal” life, hybrid events are a great way to ease back into in-person interactions, as they allow some guests to join virtually and others in person, meeting the needs of everyone attending. For events that can’t allow for any type of in-person attendance, going completely virtual is still an option, which many have become accustomed to.

With warmer weather approaching, outdoor gatherings are now becoming an option for safe in-person events, allowing for proper social distancing. Last summer, the pandemic was still relatively new, with a lot of unknowns that made it difficult for in-person gatherings to take place, even with warmer weather. Corporate event planners can now utilize outdoor spaces to plan corporate events or retreats. With this comes planning in adherence to COVID rules and regulations, such as maintaining space between each guest, mandatory mask mandates, etc. With this, planners may rely on software platforms that can help them manage various details with intuitive checklists, timelines, and reminders in order to manage the added workflow that will come with planning around new guidelines, whether it be a virtual, hybrid or in-person event.

In-Person Gatherings Will Increase

As travel restrictions are lifted, the likelihood for in-person corporate events will increase. After a year of little social interaction and working from home, many are looking forward to reconnecting with colleagues and corporate life. With the return of in-person gatherings also comes corporate retreats, but at a much smaller scale. Some companies may have opted for virtual get-togethers, but after relying on virtual meetings every day for the last year, in-person gatherings can’t come soon enough. During these in-person retreats, there will likely be more time to focus on attention to detail when it comes to things such as activities for team members to collaborate with one another, while incorporating team building skills with a focus on health and wellness.

The excitement to be back in-person may also come with nerves or anxiety, making corporate planners a vital part in making these events happen. Planners can help maintain COVID rules during these events so everyone can feel safe and comfortable when returning to normal life. 

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Partner Voices

Imagine if sponsors and exhibitors kept returning to participate at your events. Isn't that every event planner's dream? This is possible! All you need is to identify the outcomes a sponsor or exhibitor wants and help them reach their goals through a consistent approach. Getting visibility and generating sales/leads are two common event goals sponsors and exhibitors have. Below are five ways to help them achieve these goals.