Contactless Events: Are They Possible? 6 Contactless Trends at Upcoming Events

woman holds wristband over scanner

It’s possible that in the next few years the events industry will walk into a new normal. One thing that’s likely to stick around is a shift towards making events as contactless as possible. This means fewer physical contact points—where attendees all interact—in an attempt to minimize the spread of germs.

A completely contactless event may not be possible (unless it’s virtual), but there are ways to reduce the number of contact points to help make events safer for everyone.

1. Contactless Check-In

The check-in process is a potential virus risk for two reasons

  1. A lot of people sharing the same space – Even if you mark out safe social distancing guidelines, like 6-feet stickers on the floor, it’s still a problem because those precautions are easily missed or ignored. It becomes especially tricky for events that queue indoors.
  2. The risk of virus transmission via objects – For instance, physical check-in methods, like tablets, and/or associated items: paper tickets, wristbands, badges, stamps, etc.

A digital contactless check-in system can help solve both problems. Send attendees a QR code via email, which they scan to check themselves into your event. Or if they wish, they can print the QR code in place of a physical ticket. This means they don’t have to line up to check in, and it avoids the need to touch or transfer physical items.

2. Digital Navigation

Many events use helpdesks or kiosks to help attendees by providing directions and information. At a contactless event—or any event where you want to minimize interactions—this kind of helpdesk is best avoided. Instead, use digital tech to help people navigate and find answers to questions. For instance:

  • Integrate GPS into a digital map.
  • Use beacons to help attendees find their way around.
  • Provide a thorough FAQ via your event app.
  • Offer a digital helpdesk staffed with people who can answer questions via text or through the event app.

Include THIS in Your Event App

3. Contactless Product Demos Using VR and AR

Virtual reality and augmented reality are already mainstays at many events, especially in the tech world. The ability to enhance reality has helped many companies create impressive product demos and branding messages. Now this tech could provide exhibitors with a way to help people experience their products safely, with zero contact.

One stumbling block to using VR in this way might be the need for a VR viewer in order to use the tech. But there are work-arounds. For instance, inexpensive VR viewers, such as Google Cardboard, cost under $15 per viewer. By using “disposable” cardboard viewers and reserving VR demos for leads, you could achieve virtual reality at your event both safely and without a prohibitive financial outlay.

4. Serving Food Safely

Most large events have food and beverage vendors, but providing refreshments can present a considerable transmission risk if it’s not done with due care. Buffet-style self-service and table service are both risky to offer at events. Even indoor or seated dining can be risky because eating and talking are both high-transmission risks for an airborne virus. Since people aren’t wearing masks while they’re eating, it’s vital that attendees have the means to keep themselves safe.

Digital tech can help alleviate some of the strain. It’s QR codes to the rescue again, as these can be added to digital menus. Attendees scan codes to order food and then collect the food themselves once it’s ready. This eliminates the need for servers. And with contactless payment options, diners can have a completely contact-free meal.

Of course, it’s important to supplement any digital methods used with physical distancing. Seating should be distanced appropriately—and outdoors if possible—for the best ventilation.

woman points phone at qr code

5. Sanitization and Contact-Tracing

It’s likely to be difficult, if not impossible, for an in-person event to go 100% contact-free. Because of this, it’s also important that event organizers follow local and state guidelines in planning the event. And it’s they do so visibly, so exhibitors and attendees feel safe enough to attend and enjoy the event.

This might include such measures as providing sanitization stations that people can use as they move around the venue. Masks could also be offered at sanitization stations, for those who don’t have one or who need to replace their existing mask.

You may also want to establish a system for digital contact-tracing to help track who’s at your event and where they’ve traveled from. Contact-tracing is mandatory in some countries, but in most it’s an option that helps track viral hotspots and predict outbreak locations. This keeps your attendees and staff informed and lets them know that you see their safety as a priority.

6. Virtual Events for a Guarantee

A virtual event is the only 100% contactless event. Even for a small in-person event, there are too many variables, processes, and people involved to be able to make such a guarantee. And the bigger the event, the more difficult it becomes. That doesn’t mean that live events are out of the question, but it does mean they’re more complicated than they used to be.

Why not plan a virtual event instead? If your event is fully online, it’s essentially risk-free. Speakers, presenters, exhibitors, and attendees all take part virtually, meaning no one has to travel or attend a physical venue. And if you host it on an interactive, all-in-one platform, you’ll get the same kind of engagement as a physical event—and even better data. If you want your event to be completely contactless and risk-free, then virtual is the way to go.

proglobalevents xtendlive virtual events demo lobby

Contactless or Reduced Contact Events Could Be the New Normal

COVID-19 shook up the events industry, and it’s likely that many of the changes we’ve witnessed will be long-term or permanent ones. Tech that reduces points of contact between attendees, exhibitors, and event staff may be adopted on a permanent basis. Having a 100% contactless event may be difficult, but reduced contact is something that most events should be able to achieve.

Ivan Fujihara

Chief Financial Officer

Ivan brings 25+ years in senior level management experience from a variety of technology industries.  His background includes accounting management, analytics and audit management for technology companies.  He has worked with companies such as THX, Ltd, Recruitology , Double Click, Creative Labs and more.  Ivan has also served on the board of Lincoln Families, a non-profit that supports East Bay children with the objective of disrupting the cycle of trauma and poverty.

Matt Rulis

Vice President of Sales

Matt is a marketing professional and has been managing marketing strategies, campaigns and environments for a diverse client base for over 15 years. From a service perspective, Matt and his team of Account Executives focus on fostering relationships to uphold a greater than 99% customer satisfaction rating year-over-year. Additionally, with extensive experience on the client-side of the industry, he understands that alignment between expectation and budget is paramount to a successful project. As a result, ProGlobalEvents' clients can expect a competitive advantage paired with top quality products and services. Matt is an avid fly-fisherman, enjoys most outdoor activities and is a true college football fanatic.

Tom Foley

VP of Operations

Heading the fabrication side of ProGlobalEvents is exhibit and event industry veteran, Tom Foley. For over 35 years he has been responsible for building amazing exhibits and environments for clients. Tom started out in the production area and has broad experience in project and operations management. He currently oversees production, warehouse, graphics and project management departments. Tom studied machine tool technology and welding before entering the industry. As a true "builder" he also enjoys restoring and modifying classic American cars.

Dick Wheeler


Dick serves as President of ProGlobalEvents and President of ProExhibits and is a board member of CEMA (Corporate Event Marketing Association). At ProExhibits he has been nationally recognized as an innovator and driving force in the fast-growing trade show exhibit and event industry. Under his leadership in 1997, the firm received INC magazine’s INC 500 award as one of America’s fastest-growing companies. His informative articles on developments and innovations in the trade show exhibit and event industry have appeared in national trade publications. Dick has a B.S. degree from Wittemore School of Business & Economics at the University of New Hampshire and has completed the Entrepreneurial Executive Leadership Program sponsored by MIT, YEO and INC. He is actively involved in Vistage, an interactive group of over 20,000 CEO’s and presidents worldwide and is a member of CEMA and EDPA.

Jack Connolly

Creative Director

As an experiential creative director, Jack prefers to draw outside the lines. He tells stories with original content and impactful design to ignite meaningful conversation.


Jack brings 20 years of event industry knowledge to ProGlobalEvents. He specializes in building live & virtual platforms for audiences to connect, engage and immerse themselves in the power of a shared experience. His skills range from ideation and concept development to defining an attendee journey through storytelling and design.

Jack understands the creative process is not linear, but a collaborative process between agency and client. He manages teams of designers and technology developers to pioneer impactful brand experiences. His diverse skillset and leadership ensure for award-winning results and memorable impressions.


In 2019, BizBash named Jack one of the top event designers in North America. SXSW awarded his work the “People’s Choice in Innovation” in 2021.

Jody Tatro

Chief Executive Officer

In addition to being CEO of ProGlobalEvents, Jody is also the CEO of ProExhibits. With Jody at the helm, the company has been recognized repeatedly as one of the Top 50 Women Owned Businesses in Silicon Valley. She has set the outstanding client service standards for which the firm’s account management team is noted. Jody is a recipient of the YWCA’s Tribute to Women Award, the Junior League Community Volunteer Award and is listed in Who’s Who of Women in Business. Following her graduation from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Jody held various sales positions in several technology companies.

Paul Miller

Chief Marketing Officer

Having served in a number of executive roles for companies in Silicon Valley for over 25 years, Paul has a client-side perspective of the corporate events industry. He has a broad set of experiences working for startups as well as global firms such as Applied Materials. At ProGlobalEvents, Paul helps the company to reach clients through traditional and digital marketing programs. With an extensive background in the High Tech sector, he’s also involved with technology strategy both internally and for clients. Paul is a graduate of the Harvard Business School, the Stanford Engineering Design School and Claremont McKenna College. In his spare time he is a also a principal member of the non-profit Gratitude Network which mentors award winning social entrepreneurs.