Special Event 9/15: How to make your next event sizzle like Broadway on an association budget.
Learn More
Image of a pink clock

Your Event and the Delta Variant: What You Need to Know Now

August 16, 2021
Beth Surmont

No time to watch the video? Here are the 10 key takeaways:

1. Why is the Delta Variant a big deal?

  • Because it is more transmissible, and vaccinated people can both get it and transmit it to others.

2. How is it affecting events?

  • There have been some cancellations, but many events are adapting to require masks and vaccines or negative tests.
  • As an example, just announced today (8/11), Natural Products Expo East is requiring both masks and vaccines or negative tests after collecting input from both experts and attendees.

3. What does this mean?

  • Combined with companies and cities requiring masks and vaccines, the new event requirements seem to point to a shift in sentiment around requirements.
  • Instead of cancelling or going full virtual, early indicators show a path towards masks and proof of vaccines.

4. Will we shut down again?

  • Experts say no, but we are likely in for more variants and surges like what we are currently experiencing.

5. Will this ever be over?

  • The 1918 pandemic lasted two years and we still feel implications from it today.
  • It is time to shift our thinking to dealing with this long-term. The pandemic may be something we are living with for a while longer.

6. Can we safely hold events in a pandemic?

  • We already have. There was no reported illness from World of Concrete or Mobile World Congress, two large events (20,000+) held in June which followed safety protocols.

7. When will we know more?

  • Towards the end of August, we will understand the aftermath of events like Lollapalooza and the Olympics, as well as the success of the new requirements at the events we are watching.

8. What should I be doing right now?

  • Understand that safety is now an event benefit, and risk is a cost. In addition to registration, travel, and out of office costs, attendees are now weighing risk as well in their final decisions. Your event has to provide the can’t-miss value that outweighs the costs.
  • Communicate to your attendees that you are paying attention to the situation and guidelines, and you will continue to keep them updated on your protocols.
  • Firm up your plan B, and understand your decision points, risk tolerance, and loss limits.

9. Can I just do a virtual event again?

  • That is an option but remember digital does a different job than in-person does. You can deliver pieces of your event digitally as you have before, but it is important to ensure you are using the right tools to accomplish the right things for your audience.
  • Digital events do bring in less revenue with reduced registration rates and smaller sponsor commitments.
  • People are also getting tired of digital events – we’ve seen a consistent 30 – 40% drop in attendance of digital events since the start of the year.

10. I still have questions

  • We all do – no one knows for certain what will happen. But we are closely monitoring the situation on a daily basis and will continue to share relevant updates.
  • If you’d like to discuss anything further, contact beth@360livemedia.com to set up a brief conversation that is focused on the next steps for your event.