Event Pro POV: What to Expect this Fall/Winter

Last week we wrote about the return of in-person events at NYFW, which we're seeing in full force all around the city. That prompted us to consider what events might look like in general through the rest of the year. We tapped industry experts for their insights on the current eventscape, including recent client requests and how they've mastered a very careful approach to keeping IRL going. Read on for event pro intel on what to expect this fall and winter.

Redwire Pictures’ “ASKING FOR IT” Red Carpet Festival Premiere Sponsored By PAC Protocol, June 2021 (Courtesy A-list Communications)

Jack Bedwani, CEO, New Moon

“Events like NYFW, Kanye's DONDA listening parties and even the unofficial Burning Man that went down in desert just last week reaffirm my belief that people's desire to gather and connect in the real world is alive and well. As we move into the winter months, experience creators will need to continue to demonstrate agility as the Covid landscape will continue to be unpredictable. One thing is fundamentally different: our industry now has 18 months worth of experience in navigating life in a pandemic. We must continue to push forward and demonstrate our newfound capability to create exceptional real world experiences in safe ways. It can be done. It is being done and our industry must focus on continuing to show our clients and guests that in attending our events they are in the best of hands.”

Zach Perles, Director of Business Development, Industria Creative

“We are seeing our clients, both existing and new, come to us to deliver campaign solutions in a myriad of forms. Our team's broadcast background meant we were uniquely positioned for the Great Pivot of 2020, and over the last year and a half we have continued to expand our capabilities across virtual and digital-first activations. We expect to see those opportunities continue to increase across the agency going into 2022 and beyond.

In addition, while questions remain in terms of how virus variants may potentially affect consumer behavior, we are seeing a significant resurgence in our in-person activation work over Q2-Q4 2021 – and we are excited to say that it can be done safely with the proper protocols. We have added Covid Compliance officers, strengthened our relationships with local municipalities both domestic and abroad, and streamlined our production process to better serve clients well into 2022.

The ability to provide physical, digitally-led, and hybrid programming has opened up a much broader range of opportunities for the agency, and the ability to provide more holistic creative programming on behalf of our partners. In the end it is about smart, strategic storytelling and creating experiences that best meet the clients’ objectives – and we are very optimistic about holiday, Q4 2021, and 2022 overall.”

David Manning, EVP/CMO, A-list Communications

"The trend we are seeing across our client events in the entertainment industry is the desire to host IRL events vs. fully digitally events, though the latter is still very much part of the mix. To do so, we are paying attention to as much caution and safety as possible, and access to events will definitely require proof of vaccination and/or a negative Covid-19 test within 48 hours of the event. Our last film festival activations, four film premieres and three upcoming premieres this month all require proof of vaccination and have on-site Covid testing as well as a continuing request for masking. So, strategic partnerships with Covid testing companies has been critical to the success of keeping the events happening.

As Covid-19 continues to its fourth surge, I expect to see this trend continue across all events including film festivals, music festivals/concerts and trade shows that venture to IRL, especially as they execute without incident of surged Covid cases. I haven’t yet seen any serious RFPs for Holiday 2021 events, and since many are delaying their return to office, I think it's likely these will exist more for promotional events vs. company gathering festivities.”

Liz Castelli, Co-Founder & Chief Operations Officer, Tinsel Experiential Design

"So much of the event landscape is changing week-to-week, but we're optimistic that our industry is better equipped to handle the necessary fluid shifts that come with planning experiences right now. Our clients are looking to us to make informed, responsible decisions on how to gather and connect safely moving forward in the upcoming winter months and ahead into 2022. The brands that we partner with are at the forefront of this and will be the ones to prove that with the right protocols – like mandatory vaccinations and structured staff training – in-person experiences can take place successfully. Brands will also need to expand their approach to activations to leverage fresh formats like mobile tours, out-of-home installations, and pop-up campaigns."

Jed Weinstein, Founder, Rise & Set

“The Rise & Set team is optimistic about the event world as we head into the fall with a full calendar of events ranging from charity galas to conferences and corporate holiday parties from New York to Beverly Hills. We are already seeing venues in New York City booked up in December as the trend moves back to in-person events, plus the recent change in regulation to require vaccination proof for indoor dining and entertainment. We look forward to a busy fall and winter and will continue to monitor COVID protocols across states in order to create safe and memorable events for our clients.”

Jessica Foster, Managing Director, BMF

“This fall and winter, BMF will continue to use local ordinances as our north star on COVID-19 protocols and compliance messaging. Regardless of location, I anticipate we’ll see a trend towards requiring staff to provide proof of vaccination and/or negative test results within 72 hours of events, but won’t require the same level of rigor for attendees. Masks will be required for all working staff, but we’ll look to local guidance on how to handle masking policies for guests.”

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