The events industry is in constant flux. Within a matter of years, we shifted from an in-person norm to a virtual one en masse, and then back again. Well, almost.

The truth is, in-person events are not a thing of the past—they’re very much alive. They may just look a bit different than they used to.

If you’re planning on hosting your next corporate event in person, it’s paramount that you know what people expect and how to execute it properly.

Here, we’ll give you a rundown on hosting a successful in-person event in today’s landscape by analyzing the current needs of attendees, considering hybrid event options, and employing the appropriate solutions to produce the best possible results.

Changing expectations for in-person events

After two years of virtual everything—including events of all types and sizes—it’s no wonder that attendee expectations have changed. Evolving expectations aren’t just exclusive to the events industry, but they have made a huge impact on the events landscape.

After the initial virtual transformation in 2020, people were used to it. And today, even in the wake of ongoing health crises, a lot of people still prefer virtual goings-on over in-person. That said, there’s also a sizable amount of individuals who loathe the online environment for a multitude of reasons; the least of which being things such as:

  • Not being able to stay focused.
  • Lack of immersion.
  • Lack of face-to-face interaction.
  • And lots of others.

These people, and many others, prefer in-person events. A survey by Event Marketer determined that 83% of surveyed Americans said that they miss attending in-person conferences.

But there are consequences to resuming face-to-face events, trade shows, and the like. In fact, a different study conducted by Gavel concluded that more than half (55%) of event organizers cite safety as the number one issue for “getting back to normal.”

It’s clear that there’s a yearning to chat it up with event attendees in a physical space. The good news is that it can be done. All it takes is proper planning, due diligence, and some slight alterations to the format—but the results are successful, engaging, exciting, and, most importantly, safe in-person events for everyone.

Catering to attendee needs

Now more than ever, it’s clear what event-goers want out of a face-to-face experience. Some of their needs are a direct result of the virtual norm that we’ve been living in for the last while. For example, a virtual event offers unparalleled inclusivity, which should stay when moving things back to a physical format.

In addition to inclusivity, here are a few other needs that must be catered to when planning and developing your next in-person event:

  1. Seamless registration and check-in
  2. Crystal clear pre- and post-event communication
  3. Effective and thoughtful safety measures

But how are these things achieved? Let’s take a look at some effective solutions for each item.

Seamless registration and check-in

Registration, onsite check-in, and badge printing need to be intuitive. In today’s event space, that means flexibility for an on-demand check-in experience, integrated health protocol management software, and hassle-free hardware rental for onsite badge printing.

Crystal clear pre- and post-event communication

Attendees need to know about registration deadlines, event schedules, and other planned activities in order to make the most of their experience. It’s crucial to provide clear and consistent communication with anyone interested in attending, across a range of touchpoints.

From the announcement and registration to follow-ups and reminders, you need a solid communications plan to keep everyone on the same page.

Effective and thoughtful safety measures

Safety is top-of-mind for a lot of people these days—and rightfully so. If we want to return to the in-person event format, we must be mindful of safety protocols and best practices to ensure everyone feels protected. It’s our responsibility.

Whether it’s pre-event screening, social distancing, or post-event follow-up about potential health exposures, adhering to CDC recommendations is the way to go.

How do you choose the right venue?

The success of an in-person event heavily relies on the venue that event planners choose. Here are some key considerations when making a selection:

  • Location: Where is the venue physically located? It should make sense in relation to your target audience (i.e., not be too far out of the way, easy to find, etc.).
  • Capacity: How many people can the venue accommodate? This is an especially important question these days, where capacity limits are often lessened for safety reasons. Make sure that you’ll be able to host all attendees comfortably.
  • Value: The cost of the venue should make sense in relation to the event type and the number of attendees that you’re expecting. Check those numbers!
  • Parking: There’s nothing worse than arriving at an event, excited to get inside, but not being able to find decent parking. A majority of your attendees will be arriving by car, so make sure there’s ample parking space.
  • Accessibility: The venue you choose should be able to accommodate everyone that wishes to join. That means considering things like stairs, ramps, elevators, washroom facilities, building layout, and more to make sure that people can navigate the space and feel as comfortable as possible for the duration of the event.

What type of in-person event are you planning?

Depending on the type of event you’re planning, there will be a specific way to go about it to make sure you and your attendees have an optimal experience.

Common types of in-person events include:

  • Trade shows: These events offer lots of face-to-face interaction. By bringing exhibitors together, trade shows rely heavily on partners to deliver exceptional and engaging experiences for attendees. 
  • Conferences: These traditional multi-day events see the gathering of all types of people, usually from the same or similar industries. Conference attendees can listen to guest speakers, take part in relevant activities, and network with others.
  • Seminars: Seminars are a go-to event type for a lot of larger organizations. Traditionally, they bring people together under one roof to take part in training sessions and group activities.
  • Company parties: This event type is essential to facilitate a healthy workplace culture, and probably one that is missed the most by employees. Attendees come together to celebrate milestones, get recognized for their hard work, and hang out with their fellow coworkers.
  • Product launch or demo: While demos and product launches can (and have) been done virtually, they’re usually more effective and memorable in person. When attendees get to physically interact with products, they come away with a better understanding of your business.
  • Meetings: Perhaps one of the most versatile event types in terms of format options, in-person meetings are still widely relevant and even necessary for a lot of organizations.

In-person event solutions

event check-in qr code

From planning and promotion to deadlines and delivery, it’s all made easier with the right event platform. Today’s eventgoers want the ease of use of a fully virtual event, but in a physical format.

When you have everything you need in one place, it becomes exceptionally effortless to pull off a winning in-person event. So, here’s how the right platform will be able to help you keep things moving:

Comprehensive on-site check-in and badge printing

This process can be notoriously convoluted, but it doesn’t have to be. Simplify event check-in and badge printing with a single packaged solution that includes all the software, hardware, and onsite support that you need to maintain a fluid and accurate check-in process—including contactless check-in.

Mobile event app

A functional event app that can work for attendees, as well as organizers, can make a world of difference. It acts as a single source of truth by providing engagement opportunities, content, networking capabilities, and sponsorship tools all in one place.

For in-person events, an app is invaluable as it helps keep everyone organized, facilitates registration and check-in processes, and collects data.

Lead retrieval

Lead retrieval helps prove ROI. With the right software, you can convert every booth at your event into a lead generator. It’s a seamless way for event sponsors and exhibitors to capture leads with enriched data, gain access to real-time reports, and nurture leads.

If you didn’t know, Webex is an all-in-one event solutions provider. Our services aren’t exclusive to virtual and hybrid happenings! We offer a range of in-person event aids to help you run smoother, more engaging on-site events.

Are you curious about how we could help you with your next in-person, virtual or hybrid event? Request a demo today.