The global events industry was valued at over $1.1 billion, expected to reach $2.3 billion by 2026. In the U.S. alone, live meeting events supported 2.5 million jobs and generated an additional $1.60 for the economy for every dollar spent.
But That Was Before the COVID-19 Pandemic Hit…
Despite the devastation it has had on the events industry, there are many opportunities and lessons learned that event planners can embrace moving forward. However, there are still key considerations you need to navigate in this new landscape post COVID-19.
Let’s Dive In!
How Has COVID Affected the Events Industry?
There’ s no question, the pandemic wreaked havoc on the events industry, aborting almost every event scheduled in 2020 and, in some instances, into 2021 & beyond.
Mass layoffs became unavoidable, on both the planner and supplier side. And with the elimination of ticket sales, ticketing service providers have also floundered.
Ticketing platform, Eventbrite, for example, instantaneously lost 90% of its revenue in March 2020, resulting in layoffs of 45% of its employees. And with Government- imposed regulations restricting public gatherings, event organizers had no choice but to delve into the world of online events and virtual event management services and hope for the best.
Find inspiration and learn how Van Wagner can make your next event stellar and memorable.
How Will the Event Planning Industry Change Post-COVID?
The Events industry will bounce back, but it won’t quite be the same. Hybrid meetings & events, where people can attend face-to-face or virtually, will continue to grow in popularity as we move into a new era of the industry. But this isn’t necessarily bad news. Although many people will be more discerning about which live events they attend, many more will take advantage of the more convenient and economical virtual option.
Venue operations will also see substantial changes. Contract terms will be tightened between venues and vendors, outlining stricter cancellation terms to protect against revenue losses. We are beginning also to see major hotel chains shifting their strategies into a more robust model of protecting the asset through more stringent non-refundable contract clauses.
Changes You Will Notice in the Event Planning Industry
There’s no question that event-planning companies have been hit hard, but at the same time, there have been ample opportunities to create alternative revenue streams from value-add services that didn’t exist prior to COVID-19.
Whether it’s pivoting in a completely different direction or just digitizing your expertise and shifting your services online, there are endless opportunities to diversify your products and services as well as expand on and monetize niche talents and skills within your organization.
Start with taking a closer look at the challenges your clients are struggling with most, or better yet, ask them. Then put your innovative spirit to action to deliver creative solutions that will benefit you, your company, and your customers.
More Decisions Made on Data
The event production sector has been so dramatically altered by the pandemic that data from previous years has little to no value for guiding future decisions.
To develop new, reliable strategies that best serve your business goals and customer base, it’s critical to gather and thoroughly analyze your recent and present data across all areas of your business.
Your team needs to be trained in how to gather, dissect, and apply data so that translates into strategic changes and savvy decisions that will boost company performance and enhance the customer experience.
Emphasis on Social-Distancing Design
Event planners now need to adhere to stricter social distancing restrictions, which will take a bit more forethought and strategic thinking than pre-pandemic planning required. To meet official regulations, you need to think about where and when people are most likely to congregate and integrate the required regulations accordingly.
Restrooms are an obvious place to start, as well as registration booths and food and beverage counters. You could consider using self-service kiosks for check-in or other similar processes to manage queues and monitor social distance.
As health and safety regulations change frequently, be sure to check the latest as the event approaches to make any necessary adjustments.
More Available Technology to Enhance Experiences
Technology was already being increasingly integrated into event production and promotion before virtual events were forced to take center stage. Now, virtual event platforms are offering digital solutions and cutting-edge technologies that are transforming the online event landscape for the long-term.
Virtual platform technology can replicate the experience of attending an in-person conference, seamlessly, regardless of how many hundreds or thousands of people are logged-in. Innovative platform features enhancing everything from graphics to audience interactions make participants feel like they are in the same room, sharing the same experience, regardless of location or distance.
Related: Virtual Production Platform Review
Restoring Community Confidence
Effective risk communication is crucial to restoring public confidence and reviving attendance for live or hybrid events. Here are a few steps you can integrate into your planning process to help:
- Conduct a local risk assessment
- List implementation steps for health and safety protocols during the event
- Designate a communication manager to oversee safety issues and respond to questions and concerns
- Create a dedicated webpage outlining safety protocols and providing information and emergency contacts
- Boost messaging related to health and safety protocols as event approaches
Lack of Venues to Host Events In
The number of hotels and public venues that have shut its doors is still being tallied, which could eventually result in a demand-supply issue if and when the world fully opens back up. Hotels that have heavily reduced rates due to COVID-19, may increase pricing if the supply continues to shrink, making it harder for already strapped event planners to afford venue prices.
Thus, we may see a shift toward smaller venues that are more conducive to hybrid events.
The events industry is forever changed, but with virtual and hybrid events transforming the industry, the change could very well be for the better. Use these experience design tips to plan and implement your next event, and you and your participants will reap the benefits of a new normal that is safer and more exciting than ever before!
If you have any questions about how to make your next event memorable, reach out to us and we will get back to you as soon as possible.