How do you fill a room full of people when you need to adhere to social distancing and lockdowns are in place? That was the issue posed by real estate professionals hosting an event within the last 18 months.
You'd have done well to keep count of the number of events either moved to another date or postponed indefinitely. Fortunately, real estate professionals – including those in the lettings markets – are beginning to see some normality as most restrictions have been lifted.
That doesn't mean everything is back to normal, however. Moving forward, you can expect some normality, as well as procedures in place to minimise the spread of Covid. In this guide, we're looking at what the real estate events might look like for the rest of 2021 and beyond.
Keeping it virtual
In the short term, we've seen a shift to virtual events where possible. This is especially true for many sectors, whether technology, marketing, or sales. So far, Apple has moved its prestige showcases online without an audience.
Web Summit, which usually takes place in Lisbon, Portugal, has also moved online this year. The same can be said of the property market, with many real estate events moved online over the last 18 months. Many of these events struggled to replicate the live experience when they go virtual, but the organisers believe the experience is better than nothing at all.
Of course, there are those events that have either been cancelled – because they don't believe they can replicate the live experience – or rescheduled in the hope. The entire landscape has been challenging to navigate.
Even with an increase in vaccine uptake, there's still a need to be careful and responsible. As a result, many are championing the idea of hybrid events. A hybrid approach sees both in-person attendees along with virtual options, and this looks like the best approach going forward.
An increasing number of trade shows, conferences, sales kick-offs and global town halls are adapting to the hybrid approach. They offer an alternative for attendees who may not be able to be there in person, whether it's down to safety concerns or travel restrictions.
Hybrid events can help with the desire for in-person interactions, which. More than 95% of marketers agree that in-person events will be back in some capacity, and hybrid could be the new normal in the events industry.
Resources will need to go further
The desire for live events where people can network in person remains strong, and we're beginning to see them become a reality. So far, MAPIC is scheduled to go ahead in person, as is the London Real Estate Forum.
As companies and event planners begin for in-person conferences, there's no doubt that budgets will have been affected by cancelling previous shows during the height of Covid. The result could see smaller events – which will also be in line with lower capacities for social distancing – and stripped-back features.
Some event managers will need to get creative with budgets. While this might seem like an issue, it gives you the chance to create more intimate and personalised experiences for your real estate event. The result could be even better live interactions for those in attendance.
The future and beyond
Expect virtual events to expand and evolve in the short term, with the use of technology like augmented reality potentially playing a role for a more immersive experience. But with restrictions virtually gone, we will slowly see more in-person events take place and a booming real estate event landscape with professionals interacting and talking about the next big ideas in property.