Here we are a year into the Pandemic and have the same event-related questions – do you move forward with the in-person event that has been in the works for over a year, postpone, go virtual or land somewhere in between? The timeline on getting back to “normal” is still unclear so these decisions are still difficult ones. Don’t worry, we’re here to break down your options.
Keep Calm and Plan On
Depending on the size and date of your event, you may still be able to hold it in-person. You will, however, need to adjust your plans, along with your expectations. This event will be different than what you had originally planned. Your guests will need to wear masks and keep their distance from each other. There may be less dancing. Food service will likely be handled differently. HOWEVER, with a sense of humor and a good attitude, your event can still be fun, successful and impactful. Some of the most beautiful events we’ve seen have been the more intimate, thoughtful ones so don’t discount this option.
And if your event is scheduled for the fall of 2021, we say keep the date! We are so hopeful for the return of larger in-person events by the fall and have many clients who are proceeding with this. Think positive thoughts and ALWAYS have a plan.
Keep Calm and Go Virtual
If your attendees are not local or if you are hosting a larger event, it may make more sense to take your event to a virtual platform – for the first half of this year anyways. If you aren’t sure, read our COVID-19 and Your Event: Can It Be Held Virtually? blog post on how to determine if going virtual is a feasible option for you.
Since the beginning of the Pandemic, virtual event platforms have really come a long way and the possibilities are endless. You can now make your event as interactive and as customized as you’d like, ranging from tradeshow booths where your guests actually feel like they are roaming the floor to having attendees create their own avatars, virtual coffee breaks, meditations and happy hour, offering many unique sponsorship opportunities and more.
All platforms are not the same so we encourage you to do your research and shop around to find the right option for your event. This can be an overwhelming process (it’s similar to determining the venue with in-person events) so if you still need help, let us know!
Keep Calm and Go Hybrid
If you’re not quite sure which option is most suitable for your event and you have some attendees that are traveling and others who are local, it may make sense to do a combination of in-person and virtual, or Hybrid. This could mean many different things depending on what type of event you are planning. It may be a meeting or tradeshow where some attendees are in a room, safely spaced out, and others are watching it via livestream. Or perhaps it is an awards ceremony that is held virtually and then there are smaller in-person gatherings within teams to celebrate their achievements.
We are expecting to see this in the late summer, as in-person events are returning and attendees may still be a bit hesitant to travel or gather in large crowds.
There is no easy answer when it comes to planning events these days so if you still have questions, please contact us today! We are here to help. Happy Planning!
Rescheduling your event will take extra consideration during these uncertain times where our new “normal” is not yet clearly defined. At this point, you have hopefully considered all of your options; and have determined if your event can be held virtually.
If you’ve determined hosting a virtual event is not the direction you’ll be going in, you’re likely considering either canceling or rescheduling your event. Here are some things to consider if you are rescheduling your event.
- Review Your Contracts
As a diligent planner, you likely reviewed your venue and vendor contracts prior to signing. However, at the time, like the rest of us, you had no idea that we would be in the middle of a pandemic and needing to make very difficult decisions regarding the fate of our events. Reviewing the contracts again and pulling out any information regarding postponement and cancellation policies is a great first step. . Once you’ve done this, it’s also worth reaching out to your vendors and seeing if they are making any special concessions due to the unforeseen circumstances. You may be surprised by how understanding and flexible people can be during these challenging times.
- Assess Your Financial Losses
Once you’ve gone through your contracts and have determined what’s at risk, you can make a more informed decision and feel comfortable either moving forward with a new date or cancelling altogether. Sometimes the financial impact of rescheduling an event can be significant, due to rescheduling fees, poor attendance if guests have scheduling conflicts on the new date or still do not feel comfortable being in large groups and for many other reasons. In this case, you’ll need to weigh the benefits of rescheduling with the potentially great financial loss.
- Find a New Date
Perhaps one of the scariest things about this pandemic, is that we don’t know how long it will last, which also makes picking a new date particularly challenging. If you do decide to have your event on a future date, like with everything else, there are certain things you should consider when determining a new date.
First, if this is an annual event, how will rescheduling impact your scheduling for future years? Chances are, the rescheduled event will fall quite close to the following year’s event. Will you continue to hold the event around the same time as the new date? Will you skip the 2021 event? Or, will you choose to still hold the 2021 event even if it was just a few months after the 2020 event?
There are many things that go into making this decision, but it’s generally a good idea to keep your annual events within the same month or two since people typically plan around the event being the same time of year.
If it’s not an annual event, you have a bit more flexibility in the rescheduled date. It’s important to consider your industry’s calendar and other important events/activities that may be happening around the same time. Make sure your new event date does not conflict with other major conferences, tradeshows or holidays so your attendance is not negatively impacted. Finally, you’ll need to reach out to speakers and vendors to see if they’re available on the new date.
This is a very challenging and stressful time for many people, particularly those in the hospitality and events industry. Whichever direction you decide to go in with your 2020 event, clear, detailed communication with your attendees, sponsors, exhibitors and any other key stakeholders is one of the most important components to a successful event (in any format) and maintaining your company’s reputation.
Remember, we will get through this and celebrate together again. When that time comes, we hope you will reach out to Swank for your planning needs. In the meantime, we’re here as a resource to you and can also assist with planning virtual events. Please take care and stay safe.
The novel coronavirus has completely taken our world for a spin the past couple of months. Unfortunately, the events industry was one of the first to take a hard hit, leaving planners, companies, universities, and more scrambling to find a solution to the gatherings that have been planned for months. Until we get back to normal life, our industry will continue to be severely impacted; but we’re here to lighten the load.
The biggest question to ask: Can the event still go on?
The answer to that will depend on many factors.
When is the event?
Unfortunately, there’s no specific “date” of when things will start to return back to normal. If your event is between now and June, an in-person gathering is not an option, and you should start brainstorming your next steps. After that, especially an event happening before or through the fall, it’s still up in the air, but we have better chances of being able to do an in-person gathering by then.
Before you consider postponing your event, consider hosting a virtual event.
It can be an effective way to still execute your event, but of course there are a few things you’ll want to examine before you make that decision.
- What is the purpose of your meeting? Would it still be possible to get your message across on a virtual platform?
- Are your attendees equipped with the necessary technology & knowledge to join a virtual event?
If you’re still not convinced a virtual event would work for you, we’ve created this pros and cons infographic to help you weigh out your options. Stay tuned until next week for info on rescheduling an event.
North Shore Restaurants brought their A-game at North Shore Magazine’s Grand Tasting event early March. With striking views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Blue Ocean Event Center was the perfect venue for a night of great eats & drinks.
More than 30 restaurants congregated serving delicious bites of customer favorites & drink samplings. Live mixology performances & DJ Chris Roxx kept the crowd entertained all night long. Black Tie Limousine transported guests to and from their cars in a party bus, setting the tone for the evening ahead. Tito’s sponsored the VIP lounge that was designed with hedge walls from PEAK Event Services and marquee lighting from our friends at Your Love in Lights, creating an exclusive lounge. VIPs also walked away with luxurious gift bags, featuring products & free bites from some of the best restaurants in the area.
The main floor was dressed up with gorgeous florals from Bella’s Floral Design, bringing in warm tones throughout the space. A custom gobo & uplighting created a lavish & upscale atmosphere. Guests loved the social interaction; overall, it was a night to remember.
Photos by Elise Sinagra
A delightful mix of florals and style made this awards gala feel like a dinner party in someone’s home. Marketplace Logan celebrated their top businesses and employees at the Hyatt Regency Boston Harbor overlooking the magnificent ocean view, while celebrating, dining, and wining which made for an exciting Friday evening.
Guests were greeted with a custom backdrop from Beach Plum Flower Shop – who also designed the centerpieces on the dining tables – with each company name listed on a beautiful faux hedge backdrop. Walking into cocktail hour, a dreamy champagne wall paired with gold acrylic shelving and gold-rimmed glasses set the mood of the event thanks to Boston Backdrops. Solstice’s very own violinist welcomed guests as they enjoyed an open bar, a chef-attended oyster station, and delicious appetizers.
The main program was set with a thoughtfully designed tablescape, featuring furniture, linen, chargers, silverware, and glasses from PEAK Event Services. The velvet linen added a touch of luxury, while the white versa tables conserved a natural feel that was breathtakingly beautiful. Solstice entertained guests with their unique sound.
The organization’s leaders orated the program, speaking highly of the many wonderful employees and businesses, and awarded more than 15 recognitions and achievements. Many delicious entrees were served while guests enjoyed the evening, and were gifted a custom water bottle as they left. It was surely a memorable evening for all!
There are few companies that put together a party for their staff the way Vestmark does, and you’re going to wish you were a part of it.
We transformed the newly-renovated ballroom at the Crowne Plaza Boston-Woburn into a magnificent, icy, winter wonderland. It was a team effort creating XO the girls set a beautiful white dance floor in front of the stage, white infinity chairs, and brought the beautiful & luxurious silver linen. Tables were adorned with exquisite centerpieces from The Prop Factory, resembling a wintry forest, and surrounded by crackle vases and faux snow.
AFR helped us create a few lounge spaces, with high-back couches & glo cubes surrounding the dance floor, and cozy seating for anyone who needed a break from the high-energy ambiance. A stunning ice sculpture with exceptional detail became a dazzling focal point, created by Brilliant Ice Sculpture.
The event opened with a brief cocktail hour, appetizers and speech from CEO John Lunny, who spoke on the company’s tremendous growth, both in the past and what’s to come. Guests took their seats and were pampered with a delicious meal catered by the hotel, cooked to perfection.
Beyond that, guests had plenty to experience throughout the ballroom. Hello Photo Booth came with their mirror selfie photo-booth, creating a fun keepsake for guests to customize & take home. Martignetti Companies joined us with their expertise, pouring tastings of fine whiskeys for guests to enjoy, and talking to guests about each one. Mo Bounce entertained & delighted guests with their beats and talent. It was surely a night to remember.
Are you looking for help & creative ideas for your next company party? We’d love to help. Reach out to us today!
Photos by Kristen Renneker.