There’s no question of the lasting impact that COVID-19 has wrought on the events industry. The Financial Times mentions that coronavirus may risk a severe downturn in the events industry, one that we see now. Even well-established venues like the Venue at Friendship Springs have adapted their functioning to deal with the limitations that the virus has forced onto the industry. Despite these impacts, the events industry is fighting back by adjusting. Event planning and execution is a specialized skill, and the industry might be reeling from the effects of the virus, but they are in no way entirely out of it. The events industry is actually adapting to the “new normal” in several ways.
Cancellations and Postponements
Some events will have to be canceled simply because the organizer can’t guarantee the safety of the individuals involved. From travel restrictions to venues that are too small to house socially distancing patrons safely, the reasons for the cancellation are many. For the event planning industry, the goal is to remain professional throughout this situation. Refunds should be dealt with swiftly, and personal calls to stakeholders should be a priority for event planners seeking to put their best foot forward.
In other cases, some events may have a flexible schedule that can benefit from postponements. This approach is slightly more complicated since it depends on input from venue managers and the company that wants the event to happen. There’s also an added element of not knowing how the situation in a particular area will evolve. Because of the uncertainty surrounding the virus, postponements may be a lot more challenging to manage than cancellations. If the data the event is delivering is time-sensitive, this increases the complexity, since there’s no telling if this information will still be relevant at the new date. Even so, many even planners are willing to take the chance of postponement in the right circumstances.
Virtual and Hybrid Events
Virtual events are one of the ways that the events industry is working to overcome the limitations imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. PR Newswire notes in a post-COVID report that virtual events may see massive growth, moving from $78 billion to $774 billion by 2030. Virtual events are perfectly compatible with marketing, and require a lot less overhead to set up and run. They have the potential to reach a much wider audience than traditional events because of how easy they are to tune in to.
Hybrid events combine the benefits of virtual events with in-person meetups. With this model, it’s likely to see a handful of people live at a location, while most of the audience “attend” remotely. This event category requires a bit more planning since it still needs a venue and strategically places cameras. While it’s more expensive than full virtual events, it also has a lot more interpersonal activity among the members present, making for a more engaging event overall.
Rising to the Challenge
It will be a long time before life resumes its natural course. As of yet, there’s no indication of a vaccine that can help deal with the problem of COVID. With this cloud of uncertainty hanging over the industry, many businesses have realized that waiting it out isn’t a valid option. Many events at the start of the pandemic were canceled out of fear. With time, however, businesses saw the benefits of new approaches. Slowly, the events industry is getting back on its feet. It will take time for events to return to their previous glory, but until then, virtual and hybrid events are useful placeholders, pushing the industry to innovate.