Duncan Strain of Silent Seminars discusses the importance of offering delegates choices when it comes to returning to events

Despite another national lockdown at the start of the year, the continuation of the Covid-19 vaccine is positive news and a good reason to be thinking ahead to live events returning in 2021.

The hopes are that by Easter event venues and hotels around the world will begin to re-open and small and hybrid events will cautiously start to return. From professional exhibitions and conferences through to weddings, event organisers in our client base are exploring new ways to make events happen in all manner of safe and acceptable ways – they know they will need to ensure that not only are they delivering spectacular and engaging shows, but also reassure their audiences that it is safe to gather together in groups again.

But organisers need to think beyond pure concerns around infection control. In talking to event professionals across the country, a key theme we are hearing repeatedly is that audiences need to be given choices in order to feel confident about making decisions around their own safety. Visitors will return when they feel empowered, but until then there is as much a psychological barrier as a physical one.

Technology is again helping us through this pandemic by providing a driver for instilling visitor confidence and BYOH (bring your own headsets) is set to be a key feature at events going forward.

In response to numerous conversations around the issue of flexibility and choice we developed an app in order to help venues and event organisers offer delegates a sense of control over the way in which they engage with audio content at large live events.

As well as implementing additional hygiene sanitising stations for headsets, attendees now have the option of downloading the app on to their personal mobile devises. Users can connect and listen on their own headsets, reducing potential contamination from unnecessarily touching physical objects at the event.

There are multiple benefits for delegates in using the app and we are already seeing a huge amount of interest and plans for it to be rolled out over major forthcoming shows in 2021.

As events return, we will initially see visitors naturally distance from one another and feedback from our clients has highlighted the value of the app in allowing delegates to be spaced more widely across an area than a traditional PA system would reach. Using the app allows venues to offer more effective social distancing, with delegates able to access content from anywhere on the show floor, and even remotely.

Another concern high on the list of visitors returning to live events will be sustainability. Feedback from organisers has already shown that the app is also viewed as a contribution towards this issue as it requires fewer staff to distribute, reduces transport of physical headsets, requires less cleaning and no re-charging.

By confronting audience’s concerns proactively, event organisers can use technology to ensure large scale large events return sooner than they might otherwise if the psychology of leaving home isn’t fully addressed.

To find out more, visit our website, www.silentseminars.com