Event Planning Guide In A Socially-Distanced World

Now, more than ever, our world is turning to technology to handle large-scale events and meetings that would have otherwise been in-person. In the current world of a pandemic and social distancing, we have to adapt our events accordingly to follow strict guidelines and keep everyone safe. This guide is designed to help you check all the important boxes in your event planning checklist. Keep reading to find out all the small things that you may not have taken into consideration when planning your event.

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Keep reading to find out all the small things that you may not have taken into consideration when planning your event.

Planning EventsIn-Person or Online?

The first question that an event planner will ask you is the type of event that you are planning to have. Certain events can be handled virtually, such as meetings, conferences, webinars, and some live performances. Other events, such as weddings, showers, and birthday parties, are more difficult to have online. The truth of the matter is if your event can be held virtually, then in this current time, it probably should be. So, what type of event will you have?

Virtual Events and Meetings

Online events are currently the safest option, but they have their pros and cons as well. The most important benefit of virtual events is that they are safer. Online events are easier for social-distancing guidelines since the attendees will not be near each other. They are also easier on the event budget. Hosting an online event can increase the accessibility for guests that may not be in the same vicinity as the host.

Have you ever been sitting at your computer and your screen freezes? You've just experienced an internet connection issue, and we all know how annoying that can be. One downside to online events is the reliability of the technology. Many attendees may experience connection issues that will kick them out of the event. Another concern is keeping attendees engaged for the duration of the event.

Make sure when you hire virtual photo booth equipment for your event, you are working with the best company that will ensure this process is seamless.

In-Person Events

Everyone loves a good party, especially surrounded by friends and family. While they are harder to plan, it's not impossible. If you are planning an in-person event, then you will need to manage a few extra details to keep attendees safe and engaged. One advantage of socially-distanced in-person events is that it is much easier to keep your guests focused and enjoying themselves.

One potential downside is that they cost more. You may have to include food, drinks, and entertainment. Keep in mind that it might be difficult to make sure guests are following social distance guidelines at large in-person events.

How To Plan A Virtual Event: Steps To Improving Attendee Experience

Online Event Planning: Technology Requirements
Whether you are planning a webinar, conference, social hour, or other online events, you will have to consider the many different technology requirements. The technology platform that you choose can make or break your event. Since you don't have to choose a venue, you should consider the online platform as your virtual venue.

When choosing an event platform, you should consider the number of speakers, the number of guests, streaming or interactive, and the features that are required. The platform that you choose should be accessible to all users within reason. It should be easy to download, set up, and use for your audience.

How many speakers will you have? If your event will have one or two speakers and does not require every attendee to be on screen, then you can look into live streaming platforms. Some of the popular live-streaming platforms include Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and Twitch. These platforms include a chat box option for guests to ask questions and interact with the speaker.

Does your event require all attendees to be on screen? If you are hosting a large event or webinar where you want all of the guests to be able to see each other and interact on camera, then you might want to look into popular webinar platforms. Some of these platforms are Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Skype.

Factors To Consider

  • Number of speakers
  • Number of guests
  • Streaming
  • Audience interaction

Always keep in mind that some guests may experience technical issues. You should set aside time for guests to connect and test the vent platform before beginning. You should also brief your speakers and audience members on what to do if they experience technical issues.

Event Program
One important thing to remember is that just because something works for a live event, doesn't mean it will work for an online event. When it comes to online events, you should plan an event program that will keep your guests engaged. This might mean that you have to include some additional breaks or ask more questions.

It is important to choose entertaining and captivating speakers for virtual events. Many people in your audience may have a hard time staying focused due to background noise, families, or other distractions. The speakers that you choose should be able to engage your target audience.

You should also create an event program and provide it to guests before the meeting or event. You must adhere to the timeline as much as possible and allow time for any mistakes. You should provide speakers with the timeline at least a week before the event. They should practice with and without the event hosting software.

Promoting Virtual Events

Planning an event is not complete without event marketing teams. You should set up a marketing campaign geared towards online events, which means using mostly digital marketing techniques. If your online event will be a recurring one, then you might want to start by building a website. Once someone visits the website, then you can send them an email marketing campaign that will highlight what makes your event stand out from others.

We all know how important it is to use social media for promoting your events. This could be even more true for virtual events. We recommend starting a Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram to help promote your online event.

How To Keep Your Audience Engaged

With online events, keeping your audience engaged is one of the most difficult factors that you have to consider. If guests are attending your event from the comfort of their homes, then they might just get too comfortable and check out of the event. You should consider the event type and what you can do to engage the audience.

A great way to keep people engaged in online social events is to provide a virtual photo booth or other fun party ideas. One simple solution for webinars is to include a Q&A chatbox. At certain intervals during the program, you can open the floor and allow attendees to ask questions directly to the speakers using a chat interface. If you are hosting a social happy hour, then you can ask guests to ask each other questions during the event.

Another possible solution is to insert small questions for the audience to answer. This could be in the form of opinion polls or feedback questions. The planning process should include enough stimulation to engage the audience without overwhelming them. According to Markletic, "49% of marketers say that audience engagement is the biggest contributing factor to having a successful event."

Post-Event

To determine if your online event was successful, you need to refer back to the event goals that you set during the planning stage. To tell if you put on the ultimate event, you should take a poll and ask for feedback at the end of your event. You should be evaluating registration data to determine if you met the attendance goals. You can determine how engaged your attendees were by seeing how many of them participated in polls and Q&A sessions. Most event management teams recommend uploading your event to the web after.

In-Person Event Planning 101The Ultimate Guide

In-person events are harder to plan than ever before due to strict social distancing measures and safety concerns. We recommend planning your next event per your city's protocols and recommendations.

Social Distancing Measures And Other Concerns

In this section, we are going to touch on some of the common concerns that are associated with a modern-day in-person event. For example, one of the primary concerns for a live event or performance is how to keep the guests distanced while they are enjoying themselves. One solution for a socially-distanced concert might be to use a pod system where guests purchase a package that includes a "pod" or specific area where they are allowed to dance.

Another idea for keeping guests safe is to require the use of surgical masks while in the venue. We also recommend doing temperature checks and providing hand sanitizer at the door.

Event Goal and Objectives

Determine your event goals by asking yourself why you are holding the in-person event in the first place. If it is a wedding or live performance, your goal might be to entertain guests while keeping them safe. It might also be critical to reduce the capacity of the event so that you can accommodate for social distancing measures. An event planner might be able to help you set realistic goals in the age of social distancing.

Establish An Event Team

If you plan to throw a large event, then you will need to establish a top-notch event team to help you handle the nuances that you might not have originally thought of. A good event planner will help you with the event team management. You should be prepared to hire a venue management team, which might be included in the overall venue cost.

You should be prepared to hire a caterer, bar staff, entertainment, wait staff, sponsors, partners, promotional staff, and a photographer or photography rental equipment. All of these individual teams will comprise your overall event management team that should be headed by an event planner.

Work Out An Event Budget

One of the most difficult factors in live event planning is sticking to the budget. You might be able to use event management software to help you stick to your event budget. All of the event team members that I mentioned might sound like this party is going to get very expensive very quickly, but in reality, there are a lot of things that you can hire instead of buying outright.

Truthfully, you can hold an event on basically any budget. All it takes is some know-how and a good team. Check out some of the factors to work into your budget below.

Factors For Event Budgets

  • Decor
  • Promotion
  • Entertainment
  • Photography and videography
  • Food and drink

Set The Date

You must choose a date that is suitable for yourself and most guests. For instance, if you are planning a large social event or charitable function, you should ensure that it does not conflict with any other large scale events of a similar nature. It can be detrimental to the promotion, reputation, and guest attendance.

You should also consider the weather for your event. If you plan to hold an outdoor event, which is recommended for social distancing purposes, then you should plan it for a time of year when the weather is mild; not too hot or cold, with little chance for rain. Most people are more likely to attend an event on the weekend since it is less likely to conflict with work schedules. You should also ensure that the venue that you want to book is available during that date.

Choosing A Time

Every event should be held at a time that makes sense and is suitable for the majority of your guest list. There are different considerations for daytime and nighttime events. Also, some events simply make more sense to have at cocktail hour versus during the day. For example, a birthday party or charity event might be best held on a weekend night where people can spend money on drinks and food. A conference or webinar might be better held during the daytime hours.

Some considerations for nighttime events might include additional lighting. This could mean that you spend extra money on spotlights to ensure that the entire event has enough lighting. You might also need to consider factors such as types of meals and drinks to serve.

Events that are held during the day also have special considerations. One important factor might be food and drinks. Since it is not a cocktail hour party, then you will not need to hire bar staff or serve alcohol. You will need to provide other refreshments, however. Daytime events that are held outside might require additional shade or cover if your guests will be in direct sunlight for hours.

Choosing A Venue

This is one of the most critical aspects of event planning. Due to social distancing concerns, it is highly advisable to hold your event outdoors if possible. Open-air events will prevent the close quarters contact of guests. You will also have more space to spread guests out. While this might be the most pressing concern for choosing an event venue currently, it is certainly not the only one.

You should have a list of questions prepared to ask the venue owners before you book. Some of the first questions you should ask include the capacity and availability. If you visit a few venues and some of them are not available for your exact date, then you can probably cross those off the list. The same goes for the capacity; if the venue cannot fit your desired number of guests, then you might want to look elsewhere.

It is also critical to ask the venue owners if they can accommodate your party with social distancing best practices in place. In this day and age, it can be a make it or break it situation. Here are some important questions to ask regarding social distancing guidelines.

Questions To Ask Venue Owners

  • Will you be able to provide adequate space between tables for guests?
  • Do you provide venue staff? If so, will they be following wearing masks and following hygiene procedures?
  • Will there be adequate sanitizing solutions before the event?

It is also important to ask the venue if they will be providing staff for the event or if you need to hire your own staff. It is often easier to work out a package deal with the venue owners that includes wait staff, bar staff, and other event personnel.

Branding And Marketing Your Event

Now that you have considered most of the planning objectives, you must brand and market your event to your target audience. Event branding is a crucial aspect of any large scale event. Event promotion might include creating a catchy name or phrase. You might also want to create a logo or tagline that can be incorporated into a website, Facebook page, or invitation. You should consider if you need to send out formal invitations or are email ones sufficient.

Another important factor to think about is marketing materials. It has been proven that people are more likely to attend an event if they are sent marketing and event details beforehand. These marketing materials might include items such as an event schedule, vendor map, introduction letter, and biographies of the speakers.

Social media and email are the number one methods in which event managers promote their events to a large audience. According to Aventri, a prominent event management company, "40% of event marketers believe email marketing is the most effective channel for promoting an event."

Conclusion

So, are you ready to plan your next socially distanced event? We sincerely hope that this event planning guide has been helpful to you. Now that we've given you the tools and information that you need to plan your next event, you can rest assured knowing that you will be able to entertain guests and keep them safe at the same time.

Now more than ever, you need to curate interesting and unique ways to keep your guests entertained for hours. Whether that’s a revolutionary 360° video experience or kaleidoscope photo technology, do something memorable to leave a lasting impression on your guests.

Fill out this form and get a customized quote for full-scale virtual or in-person photo activations that are instantly shareable on all social media channels. It's an all in one solution for your entertainment and photo needs.

STUDIO Z REVIEWS

Zach, the owner of Studio Z, was part of a wedding Facebook group that I was also a part of. I reached out about four years ago and we’ve worked together ever since. About 50 or 60 percent of the events we do have us add a photo booth.

Our most memorable event is probably a wedding in Boston together. It was special and one of the first where I did an entire photo booth installation with the Amalfi Coast as inspiration. The backdrop was set and lots of flowers as guests entered the area. People loved it and Studio Z made it different and better than your typical photo booth.

If I had an unlimited budget to plan something I’d probabl pick a 360, I love the 360 booths, but I have also had guests ask me for the Met Gala photobooth from a few years back where the camera went forward and backwards with the lights in the background. I know Studio Z could build something like that and it’d probably be even better. I only recommend Studio Z.

Meena Lee

5th Avenue Weddings & Events

Amy (our founder and creative director) met Zach at the Today Show more than ten years ago. We’ve been working together since! About 80% of our event clients request a photo booth.

Our most memorable event with Studio Z was probably The Knot Gala at the New York Public Library. They brought their 360 degree booth and it created a moment everyone loved. Nobody had seen that before.

I can’t say what my favorite booth of theirs is – but I am always impressed with Zach’s new stuff. So are our clients.

We judge success by the laughing/goofing/dancing that happens at the booth and the excitement to see the shots; the number of repeat users at the event; the speed of the line and the length of the line – longer is good if the people at the booth are showing that they are having fun.

Andrew Jacobs

Chandelier Events in NYC

Planning your next event?

Get a customized quote for full-scale virtual or in-person photo activations that are instantly shareable on all social media channels. It's an all in one solution for your entertainment and photo needs.