Handshakes, Hugs, exchange of smiles, these are the soul of face-to-face meetings and events! But COVID 19 has challenged these very aspects! It has literally put a stop to in-person events since it emerged! While it has impacted several industries, one of the worst-hit is the event industry!
COVID 19 Impacts on the Event Industry
Organizing an event in the pre-covid era entailed:
- Finding a venue,
- Decorating it,
- Planning the menu,
- Arranging the seating,
- Organizing food and beverages
- Organizing entertainment, and several such aspects.
Social distancing and avoiding physical contact have become the norm since February 2020. This has not only impacted the event planning industry but related industries such as event venues, decorators, caterers, etc.
The losses suffered by all these industries have led to many event venues, caterers, etc. having to close down their businesses leading to unemployment of their staff.
Many event planning companies have also shut down during the past year due to the losses they faced as events came to a halt.
Let us dig a little deeper into why the event industry literally “collapsed” during the pandemic.
Challenges Faced by the Event Industry due to COVID 19:
Ever since the pandemic started and lockdowns and other restrictions were imposed several major events have been postponed or even canceled. Some major events like the Olympics had to be indefinitely postponed. This has not only resulted in monetary losses but also affected the morale of participants who had been preparing for years for such events.
Although many event organizers have started hosting virtual events, unfortunately, events like marathons, etc. cannot be held virtually. Even those sporting events that have been hosted in stadiums could not attract too many people to the venue. This has adversely affected the income generated from them. The venues of several events have been shifted which has also impacted the number of attendees for the events.
Besides events that warrant international travel have been canceled. Events that have international guests require the guests to quarantine or get tested, etc. complicating the entire show.
Since physical events are not being hosted, there has been a massive retrenchment of staff across the globe in the event industry.
Virtual events are now being adopted as a fallback. However, they pose a different set of challenges. Conversion rates from online events are very low. Besides video conferencing tools have certain shortcomings that mar the overall event experience. But, as technology advances, we can expect these to be addressed.
Another challenge with hosting virtual events is that not all attendees are tech-savvy and this may restrict their participation in the events.
However, virtual events are the best option until we see better days when people get vaccinated or the pandemic is controlled.
Virtual events are welcomed by people across the globe who miss human interaction because they are stuck indoors due to lockdowns.
Virtual events also help connect a much wider audience because physical proximity is no longer a cause for concern.
Various digital platforms experienced a surge in demand as virtual events rose in popularity. Several existing event management companies read the writing on the wall and transitioned into “digital” event management companies.
Event planning companies that already had the building blocks for organizing events were quick to adapt. They redirected their existing resources to create extraordinary virtual event experiences for their audience.
Virtual events started as team meetings or family get-togethers soon grew into virtual parties, charity events, etc. It soon reached a stage where innovative ideas became the mainstay for successful events. Virtual events required new ideas by organizers to keep their audience engaged throughout the event. This included break-rooms, theme parties, etc.
However, virtual events cannot completely replace physical events. The exchange of energies that takes place when people physically interact is a vital part of the social structure of society. With the administration of the vaccine in 2021, we are likely to witness in-person events making a comeback. But the physical events in the post COVID era will no longer be what we have got accustomed to before the pandemic.
Although the future is hard to predict, certain trends are apparent that will reshape the event industry in the post-COVID times!
Let us take a look at the Event Trends after COVID 19:
1. Hybrid Events:
In the post COVID era, we might see a mix of both virtual and physical events. This is because many people might still be skeptical about physical interactions and would not prefer to attend physical events. On the other hand, many would be looking forward to physical events because of the fact they have been deprived.
Event organizers might decide on what events will be physical and what will be held virtually based on the number of guests, nature of the event, etc.
The past year has driven home an important lesson that important meetings can be held even without physical interaction. What this means is that the overall cost of organizing an event can be minimized by avoiding unnecessary travel where possible
2. Maintaining the Health and Safety of the Guests, Staff, and Sponsors:
COVID 19 has made us realize the importance of hygiene and cleanliness. When physical events make a comeback, maintaining cleanliness at the venue will be the most important factor. Whether it is the hall where the event is held, the toilets, the corridors, everything will have to be spotlessly maintained.
3. Larger Venues:
Keeping physical distancing in mind, large venues will be required even for events where the number of attendees is less. We might see outdoor venues becoming more popular as they allow more space for following the physical distancing norms.
Technology had made a foray into the event industry even before the pandemic in the form of digital marketing, online forms, online platforms, etc. However, the pandemic has forced the event management teams to adopt newer and advanced technologies to enhance the event experience for the attendees.
Technology will become more important than ever in the post COVID era. Event hosts will need to use apps, etc. for event registration instead of physical form filling to minimize physical contact.
Event management platforms will become a must for organizing events. It will become imperative for event management companies to hire technical experts to support different aspects of technology that they adopt
5. Food & Beverages:
Food and beverages are important ingredients for successful events. Buffets were popular in the pre-COVID events as they were convenient and the hosts could offer an elaborate menu to the attendees. However, buffets will be quite risky as they involve a lot of physical contacts. Hence, we are likely to see on-table serving of lunches/dinners in post-COVID events. Providing packaged meals to the guests is another option for event hosts.
6. Managing the Events on a Budget:
The uncertainty that we have experienced in recent times has taught us a vital lesson, that we need to manage our funds wisely. In the post-COVID times, event organizers will need to be extra cautious about the expenses incurred and ensure that they don’t go overboard with them.
The COVID 19 pandemic has disrupted our world in more ways than one. The only way ahead for the event industry is to adapt and create events that delight their audience in the current situation. This is a tough ask, but with some out-of-the-box thinking, it is not impossible! You can simplify your task of organizing amazing events by using WeInvite a platform designed specifically for hosting events. WeInvite helps streamline the process of event hosting while you can focus on creative ideas to create memorable events!