The COVID-19 pandemic has sent the economic landscape into a standstill, and the events industry bears the brunt of the blow. Events have banked on the appeal of in-person activities to foster relationships, reach out to new target markets, activate brands, or simply bring people together to celebrate. It is a billion-dollar industry that involves countless jobs.
On the onset of the outbreak, however, social distancing protocols are enacted in every city, and person-to-person contact is discouraged to break the chain of infection. Events, therefore, are canceled or postponed since the beginning of the year. Social isolation is expected to be enacted until a vaccine is developed.
It may seem like the crisis spells the end for the events industry, but that statement undermines the resilience and creativity of the workers. Adversity is still the mother of invention, and events professionals are migrating to the virtual world to stay afloat.
Planning Virtual Events
Instead of holding events in a physical venue, event planners are creating virtual events spaces that can be accessed via telecommunication channels. They have been using live-streaming and broadcasting solutions tailored for each. That enables brands to hold events while following social distancing protocols—the health of the participants will not be put on the line.
Another advantage of holding events on a virtual platform is that it has no geographical limits. Anyone around the world can join the event, whereas physical ones can only cater to so many attendees. The planners do not have to worry about transportation or accommodation for their participants. Moreover, the costs that are entailed by traditional events like venue rental, staffing, and catering services are eliminated, making virtual ones more cost-efficient.
Events might not be the essential services during a pandemic, but they are vital to keeping industries innovative and productive. For instance, brands hold seminars that aim to educate B2B clients about surviving the crisis. There are conferences for aspiring business people who want to take advantage of business opportunities, too.
Planning for Recovery
As the economy bounces back, so will the events industry. The pandemic will have a lasting impact on how people hold events, however. The trend points toward hybrid events—a combination of physical and virtual activities, so events professionals can still preserve their tangible assets, like storing sensitive audio-visual equipment and hiring security guard services for their event spaces.
In a hybrid event, most of the attendees are online. They remotely participate in one that is happening at a physical location. It offers the advantages of virtual events, like an expanded number of attendees and cost-cutting, but it also provides the human element that in-person events have. They also attract sponsors and delegates who do not want to travel just to be part of an event.
The events industry is a dynamic sector that paves the way for countless economic activities, from introducing new products to the market, upskilling workers, and encouraging investments. The coronavirus crisis is a big blow, but it only showed the boundless creativity of events professionals and proved that, whether online or offline, people would always want to be part of an amazing event.