We sat down with Char Mason, of Mason Creative event planning and asked her about charity and corporate events moving forward in 2021. Here’s what she had to say. Thank you for this lively discussion, we too, are ready for event planning to heat up again!
BIG INK: Things really stopped for a while. Do you see that changing?
CM: Yes!, and thank goodness! I believe events will come back in phases as we move through the year. For example, this summer we will all see more outdoor events as a first step. A great example is the annual Twin Cities Auto Show that is normally held at the Minneapolis Convention Center. This year, it will be an open-air event at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. I have another client who normally hosts a very formal, indoor fundraising gala. We have converted that event to a much more casual, fun, drive-in event. Attendees will sit next to their cars, watch the stage entertainment and get their meal delivered to them. Both the client and their guests are thrilled with the new venue.
BIG INK: Will event planning still include party boxes for virtual events?
CM: Yes, I think some form of event boxes are here to stay. Sending a gift box has served as a very memorable and touchable way to reach guests in a very no-touch time. As in-person events come back, the gifting may morph a bit. For instance, a host may decide to offer the option of attending an event in-person for one fee, and for a different fee, joining virtually with a branded gift box delivered to them. BIG INK has been a lifesaver for me this past year on several gift box solutions. Having a partner who can produce custom boxes, customize the in-box gifts, assemble and individually ship, has been invaluable to my business.
BIG INK: What’s your outlook for fall and winter?
CM: By this fall there will be more and more indoor events with the success of the vaccine roll-out and safety measures. There may be scaled back attendance, or a virtual option, but many guests will be ready to be at events again…some already are! I have several clients planning a fall 2021 indoor event.
BIG INK: Is anyone talking about checking attendees for vaccination status?
CM: The general thinking right now is that there will not be a mandate of any sort for a vaccine passport. However, I expect certain private businesses may request proof of vaccination to private events, concert halls, etc.
BIG INK: What changes are you seeing, in the post-covid event world?
CM: The best change for me was the mindset change in my clients. One of the silver linings is that clients became less rigid about event format. Almost all were forced to come up with new solutions to keep their audience engaged. For an event professional like me, it’s exciting! I thrive on developing creative solutions, am engaged by the challenge to ditch the old ways and come up with fresh, inventive ideas to reach the goals. I feel this new thinking and flexibility is here for the long term.
BIG INK: Is there anything you did for virtual events that you would like to see continue, either virtually or in-person?
CM: While I still think that in-person events are really the best way to network and engage with people, there are some advantages to virtual content. One of the things that came out of hosting virtual events was the ability to include a larger, more geographically diverse audience. Virtual content removes travel costs and may allow for a reduced ticket price, which in turn makes it more accessible to more people. That’s great progress!