Think about this: Before 2020, no one used the term “in-person events.” COVID-19 has so revolutionized the event world – particularly B2B events – that events are now categorized as either in-person or virtual. For many, in-person events are still an out there, risky proposition. It makes one wonder, “what’s next?” “What is the future of in-person events?”
Xtreme Xperience – after a 3 month hiatus in the spring of 2020 – returned to hosting in-person events last year. Since then, the corporate sales team has hosted over 100 different corporate outings. They’ve worked with dozens of field marketers, sales leads, and channel marketers to set the standard for effective, entertaining, and safe events. Now, a year later, they offered their wisdom on what the future of in-person events looks like for the corporate world.
Small In-Person Events Are The Future
Small, localized events is the biggest shift taking place right now. Gone are the days when companies flew entire teams to giant Las Vegas conferences or hosted multi-day meetings that crammed prospects from around the country into an airport hotel gathering place. In 2021, corporate outings are regional and tailored, with companies anxious to avoid the possible publicity from endorsing in-person events.
The resulting benefit is that smaller gatherings make for more intimate events with greater opportunity for conversation and relationship. With the general pre-COVID trend of relational marketing, this should be welcome news to sales teams looking for an in with their prospects. These events offer less pressure, greater flexibility, and optimal conditions for social distancing.
Choose The Right People To Talk To
Being that corporate outings with Xtreme Xperience include driving supercars, many groups in the past included guests clearly attending for the thrill of speed. Post-COVID, this is no longer the case. With the need to limit the number of attendees, Field Marketers and Sales Teams are being extremely tactical with their guest list. Picking the right people who are likely to convert is essential.
Successful teams are those who get the right people in the room – or out onto the racetrack – to have meaningful conversations that lead to business. Less attendees means hosts aren’t wasting time trying to connect with a larger number of people. Instead, they already know the conversations they want to have with a tailored group of guests.
Creating The Best Environment
As guests are attending less outings and being more selective about the ones they do attend, creating an environment most conducive to accomplish your goals is a must. An invitation is no longer a no-brainer day away from the office for the guest, it’s a choice. The activity that you choose should communicate that you value their time and offer opportunity for meaningful conversation. The entire outing should be ripe with opportunities for engagement.
At the same time, this doesn’t mean returning to the same old golf outing or sporting event. In the last year, the entire world has let their guard down, exposing a layer of casual interaction not before experienced in the corporate world. Take advantage of this desire and host an event that will be casual and fun, where genuine interaction comes from a unique shared experience. Make it meaningful and memorable, not generic and expected.
Don’t Waste Anyone’s Time
Another big shift seen in the last year that will carry on past 2021 is the structure of the outing. Hosts are passing on a lengthy pitch and instead mixing interaction with presentation. Like the previous point, offering an environment where engagement is the goal will prove valuable to everyone involved. (No attendee paused in-person outings last year sad because they were missing out on powerpoint presentations and monotonous pitches with an expected problem and solution.) Guests are returning expecting better, give it to them.
While nothing will really match up to driving a supercar at triple-digit speeds on a racetrack, the activity portion of your outing does not need to be seen as an offset for the boring presentation portion. The playbook for outings was thrown out in 2020 when everything went virtual. Now is the time to let the past year of creative thinking spur on interesting, entertaining, and engaging ways to communicate your product, pitch, or presentation.
In-Person Outings Are Back
More than anything else, the hundreds of successful in-person outings on racetracks around the country have communicated that in-person outings are back in force. Companies are yearning for a safe, effective, and unique way to bring their people together. It may be at a smaller scale and be less polished than before COVID, but that is where the opportunity lies. Get the right people together and put on a memorable event that makes a lasting impression. It will form relationships and win business.