Tips for Planning a 2021 Event...

Anyone got the number for a good Fairy Godmother? It looks like we might need some magic in 2021. Our wish is that the new year will bring a new appreciation for events, as people emerge from spending months on-and-off in their own homes. Certainly, for a brief moment before Lockdown #2, there was a glimmer of hope. Equipped with face masks and distanced from others, some were embracing the opportunity to have meetings in-person, celebrate milestones and enjoy entertainment again.

Rest-assured that venues and suppliers are adapting to the changing climate and whatever 2021 brings, we are excited for this new world of events. We’ve put together a few tips if you are thinking of planning something for next year…

GET A DATE IN THE DIARY

Many events previously scheduled for 2020 have been postponed to 2021. Plus, with trends like #MarryNowPartyLater, 2021 calendars are already filling up. If you haven’t already, start shortlisting potential venues and get in touch with them to find out prices and availability. As well as the usual questions, remember to ask about their cancellation and/or postponement policies.

If you already have a date in the diary (hooray!), make sure to keep the conversation open with your venue and suppliers. If any unexpected issues come your way, you can problem-solve together.

PLAN B, C, D & E

A ‘wet weather plan’ used to be the only Plan B necessary. In today’s topsy-turvy world, we need a Plan C, D, E and beyond. Have a conversation with your team, your venue and suppliers to create these plans. It’s a game of pandemic hypotheticals at the moment –with the biggest threat being lockdown.

Plan B could be adjusting numbers or changing health and safety measures. Plan C could be adjusting the event to allow audience members to join in online. Plan D could be postponing the event to a later date. We know how much preparation and planning goes into events of any size so it should be the last resort to cancel entirely.

HYBRID?

After a year of tuning in online to events, there may be an expectation that your 2021 event is ‘hybrid’ (in-person and online). Consider whether you’d want or have the capability to incorporate this into your plans. If this does appeal, you must remember you are effectively organising two separate events – you might need an extra pair of hands to help. We suggest having a Team of 3: Project Manager, Physical Event Coordinator and Virtual Event Coordinator and then it’ll work like magic. There are plenty of webinars, articles and tips for organising hybrid events: why not start with our recent blog post?

Equally, don’t feel the pressure of having to have a virtual element if you are not comfortable doing so or feel it is does not match the purpose of the event. We really hope that in 2021 we are able to meet in-person with our friends, family and colleagues again. If this is possible, embrace that feeling and enjoy not having to worry about internet connection or staring at a screen.

RAINBOWS AND ASTRONAUTS

OK, that caught your attention! We actually need to talk about Risk Assessments, and while it may not be all rainbows-and-happiness, it is not rocket-science. Risk Assessments are the basis of any Health & Safety procedures in the events/venue world. Government guidelines are changing frequently so a couple of weeks (and then a couple of days) before your event, ensure you are up-to-date and have translated their requirements to your risk assessment. There are a few bread-and-butter things to include while this pandemic is still around:

  • Capability for social distancing (seating plans, separate entrances/exits, timed entries)
  • Cleanliness of venue (access to hand washing facilities or sanitisers, cleaning procedures before/after the event)
  • Ability to track and trace (details of everyone attending, QR codes for NHS app, plan of action in place if anyone tests positive
NEW YEAR, NEW EVENTS?

While there is still an air of uncertainty about what 2021 holds, we are optimistic that we will be over the ‘worst of it’. We are hopeful that there will be a newfound gratitude and appreciation for events. How are you going to approach your event differently, knowing everyone has been through different heartbreaks and difficulties in 2020?

Perhaps you could anticipate more moments of thanks, appreciation and sentimentality into the itinerary? Or you could capture moments of joy and togetherness by hiring a photographer or videographer? Best of all, you could show your support for local and/or small businesses – don’t forget to shout about how brilliant they are too.

Ready to get stuck in to organising your event in 2021? Get in touch with one of our Commercial Event Coordinators and let us know your plans: venuesandevents@cheltladiescollege.org