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The Return of Live Events

In-person events are coming back. With vaccinations rolling out in mass quantities as well as herd immunity picking up steam, large events are expected to make a return this summer in Chicago – in some capacity. Governor Pritzker believes conventions could return to McCormick Place this summer, and Mayor Lightfoot has asked various departments to prepare for the return of events this summer. Plus, the Chicago Auto Show, one of McCormick Place’s largest annual shows, is now slated for July.

This is all great news, steps in the right direction. But it’s been a year since events have been allowed to take place and the event industry has been dealt a heavy blow. Many event suppliers and planners have had to let people go, while others have had to shut their doors altogether.

While we’ve been doing virtual events for the last year, we can’t wait to return to in-person, live events.

Prior to the last 52 weeks, we spent a quarter century perfecting the art of live events: experiential events, general sessions, trade shows, press events, business meetings, marketing events, video production, and really everything in between. It’s what we love. It’s what we do.

We recognize, though, that there are a lot of things to consider when returning to in-person events. Safety measures have changed, people’s anxiety level is different, and the options available to you have even improved. Here are the main things you need to consider before booking and planning your event.

Know the safety precautions in place.

To say the world of safety and security has changed is a gross understatement. Can you even remember a time you could enter a business without a facemask? Or when you didn’t need stickers on the ground to tell you what six feet looks like? We can’t either. But we, along with so many others in Chicago’s event industry are committed to bringing live events back, safely. See how Absolute Production Services is specifically committed to safe events. Plus, the City of Chicago in partnership with McCormick Place has laid out their safety procedures from your arrival to your stay to your event. Don’t be overwhelmed by the precautions, we can help your attendees know what to expect and how to make your event work for your guests while keeping them safe.

Be wary of price gouging.

This might sound crazy in an industry that’s been shut down for a year, but we know it’s going to happen. At first, companies might be eager to offer the best price available because any business is better than no business. But that can only last so long before demand surpasses supply. With so many events postponed since early 2020 or even 2019, there will be a surplus of events vying for the space, the services, and the equipment. Here’s how you can make sure no one takes advantage of you:

  1. Get multiple quotes so you can ensure the best price for what you need. This doesn’t mean you automatically take the lowest price, but you’re looking for a price point that works for you while making sure all your needs are met and your mind is at ease.
  2. Get quotes in writing and read them thoroughly. The last thing you want is to get halfway through planning your event only to realize your supplier hasn’t included important necessities for your event. Don’t get nickeled and dimed along the way. Make sure your supplier takes the time to understand the full scope of your event and delivers exactly what they promised from the beginning.
  3. Look at references and ask direct questions about events that might be similar to yours. If you’re working with an experienced event supplier, it’s not likely your event will be 100% unique. Ask your supplier about their experience with events that are similar to yours so you can both be on the same page when it comes to experience, expectations, and best practices.
  4. Double and triple check your timeline. With this semi-sudden return to in-person events, it’s likely you’ll have less time to plan and tighter deadlines than you’ve maybe worked with before. By clearly communicating with your event production manager, they can help you better understand what’s possible in the time given and offer better solutions if the timeline is clear.

Plan Early

Speaking of timelines, plan early. Summer is right around the corner and that means you need to start looking at booking now. With the addition of safety precautions, more companies will be looking to book. That means several events fighting for the same venues, equipment, and services. So now is the time to get your ducks in a row. At the very least, get quotes and know the safety standards you need to follow. Then set up a timeline based on the production needs you have. Even if you’re not ready to book, you want to know the details. This way, when planning needs to move quickly, you’re ready to go.

Make sure you’re still utilizing virtual.

This might seem counter intuitive with a return to in-person events, but it’s necessary. Trust us. The best thing to have come from the disruption of the events industry is all the possibilities of virtual events. Creating a virtual element to your in-person event makes it more accessible, more profitable, and more enduring.

There will be people who are still afraid to come in-person or who simply can’t due to travel restrictions or just because of cost. But losing them as attendees is now just a thing of the past. They can still view and participate in online elements from wherever they are. This creates an entirely new audience for your event! Not only will this create another revenue stream, but you’ll also be able to continue to re-use recorded content in future email campaigns, social media posts, and on website pages. This makes adding virtual to any in-person event, not just a necessity, but a no brainer.

These are just the beginning steps to returning to in-person events, but they’re important to consider. We’re still waiting for the official go ahead in Illinois. But we’re optimistic about a somewhat normal summer this year, especially in comparison to last. And we’re even more excited about working towards live events together with you!

It might seem overwhelming at first but let us put your mind at ease. We’ve been doing events for more than a quarter century and while 2020 was rough, our pivot to virtual events made us stronger than ever – expanding our skill set and capabilities further than ever before.
We’re ready to jump back in to live events.
Are you?

Contact us to start planning your next event!

Your total solution for virtual, hybrid, and in-person events.