After more than a year into the pandemic, our relationship with virtual and hybrid events is drastically different from the start of 2020.

Even as more and more places begin to re-open, the business landscape has changed. Virtual and hybrid events remain an essential part of how organizations connect with their constituencies, but they will continue to evolve in the coming months — and years.

When the world went into lockdown, many companies that had not seriously contemplated a virtual event viewed them as a temporary measure. But they quickly realized there is a benefit to these types of events — they allow organizations to engage with their audiences in a powerful new way.

The notion that “the only constant in life is change” has never been so true. Here are three ways virtual and hybrid events will transform in 2021.

1. Events will be more flexible.

One lesson we should take away from the pandemic is the need for patience and flexibility. Technology offers the opportunity for both.

With virtual events, planners are no longer constrained by the time and place requirements of an in-person gathering. Instead, they can engage with attendees whenever and wherever is most convenient.

For example, organizations can create content ahead of time that attendees can consume when it works best with their schedules. This content should take on a post-event life as part of ongoing nurture campaigns, something in-person event organizers should also consider.

2. Content will be more tailored.

One potential downside to many pre-pandemic events was the idea of creating an event to try and attract as many people as possible — no matter their specific interest. Those days are gone.

Moving forward, successful events must tailor their offerings to deliver an experience that exceeds attendees’ expectations. Content cannot remain static; it must be something audiences can engage with and provide value.

One way to deliver this is to tap into data. For example, conduct pre-event and mid-event surveys to see what resonates with attendees and deliver content that meets — and exceeds — the audience’s expectations.

3. The experience will be front and center.

Coming out of the pandemic, the world is putting a new value on an experience. Because we’ve been cooped up for so long, the interactions everyone has must be meaningful.

The same goes for event attendees. People will likely be less apt to turn out to an event just because a company or an association is staging it.

They want to see the value, and they will give organizations credit for delivering a positive experience.

While no one expected the pandemic, hopefully, the changes we see out of it will be positive. Of course, let’s hope the once-in-a-generation happening doesn’t make a repeat appearance, but if it does, let’s hope we’re all better prepared and better connected.

Do you feel prepared for the evolving event landscape?