Industry events during a pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of people to change their way of life and set a new perspective on many aspects of our life. It opened to us a new reality with great changes, in which we must be ready for anything – to adapt the technical and legislative framework, to master new skills, to change the ways of interaction. And now we see how quickly these changes began to be implemented.

The event industry was valued at over $ 1.1 billion in 2018 and was expected to grow by an average of 10.3% to reach $ 2.3 billion in 2026. But after COVID-19, these projections have clearly changed. What will happen to the event industry after the coronavirus?

When we talk about events, we are talking about public events such as conferences and exhibitions, forums, corporate events and seminars, promotions and trade shows, or music and art events. In 2018, corporate events and seminars made up the bulk of the events in the industry part. In terms of income, the sponsorship category brought in the largest share in 2018, with the 21-40 age group being the active age group to participate.

Despite the gradual lifting of restrictions, we understand that the time has not come for holding mass events with a large number of participants. Quarantine has accelerated online and offline collaborations, and in the future, this will make the event industry more progressive in terms of the use of digital solutions. But many people believe that there is nothing better than a personal meeting. Now organizers, exhibitors, sponsors, and most importantly, attendees are re-evaluating each upcoming event not only as a health risk, but also as a huge financial risk.

Traditional measures will inevitably evolve to accommodate global changes. They will resume, but will not be the same as before the pandemic. Most people will only attend events that are of real value to them. Contracts will be strengthened and termination conditions carefully worked out. Venues and providers will try to protect themselves from losing revenue, while agencies and event managers will try to avoid paying for an event that may never happen.

The online sector has developed rapidly in recent years, now it is firmly established in the event industry. This is a very interesting task for us – to develop a new direction with the help of advanced technologies, as well as other approaches in attracting an audience and changes in the minds of both organizers and participants.

The world will not give up on online events. Many major world events have been postponed for at least a year. Those that cannot be postponed are held in an online format.

The coronavirus did not open a new page in the history of event marketing; rather, it forced processes that were already taking place in the world. Previously, students could attend “live” classes, and improve their knowledge on online courses, but now, for example, at the University of Cambridge, all are transferred to distance learning, at least for the next year. And if earlier some of the guests participated in conferences remotely for various reasons, now the goals of the conference are held online.

Also in the corporate environment: before, you had to make video calls only with colleagues from other branches, and now – with everyone. Remote interaction came to the fore, there was an opportunity to evaluate not only its disadvantages, but also its advantages, to try new solutions. And, of course, the company’s successful developments will continue to be used.

The online format often allows you to solve the same tasks as offline, but within a smaller budget – this is a weighty argument to transfer part or all of a number of projects online.

There are now many ways to make online events as realistic as online. Motive recently hosted a science chemistry show that sent reagent kits to participants. All experiments were absolutely safe, and the effect was amazing. The agency held virtual art parties: everything happens in the same way as offline, only the presenter and other participants interact remotely. It is important that there is a premonition of the event. For the effect of complete immersion, it is worth using all the organs of perception, VR and sensory techniques will help here.

An alternative was found for concerts: Doing Great Agency launched the STAY HOME CONCERTS CLUB platform for selling tickets to online concerts, without providing recordings so that viewers can watch the performances live.

The ability to offer virtual attendance is what gives event organizers a tactical edge, especially when it comes to audience comfort and outreach to sponsors. While virtual events may not fully replace offline events, they are becoming an increasingly viable option for companies to complement existing conference programs. By organizing or attending a virtual event, organizations can save on rent, accommodation, meals. At the same time, online events reduce the environmental impact of personal events and provide an opportunity for participants to participate regardless of their physical, geographic or financial circumstances. With such advantages, virtual events will not go anywhere, and over time they will only confidently establish their own rules in this area.

Some startups that can help event organizers have a more holistic experience, as well as those that offer virtual reality solutions, will receive more attention and recognition.

  • Troop Travel (Seed): Consolidates thousands of data points, allowing corporate travel managers and meeting planners to select destinations based on BigData, enabling corporations to streamline meetings and event planning. Troop Travel has added a daily COVID-19 update feature that filters destinations based on infection rates and travel restrictions. He also added functionality for hybrid meetings where multiple destinations need to be selected for small groups of people so they can gather and connect with each other through technology.
  • Run The World (Series A) is a digital event platform designed for all types of events and has all the features a conference organizer might need during (and after) a pandemic. The main advantage – unlike one-way webinars or traditional video conferencing, Run The World allows participants to talk and provides an immersive community-building experience. The startup, which is nine years old, has been popular with consumers since February 2020.
  • Hopin (Seed): An online event platform that aims to recreate the experience and benefits of directly participating in a conference. Their key differentiator is that they try to make the distance unimportant. Whether you’ve been navigating your physical west online for the first time or building from scratch, Hopin can help you create immersive events for your global audience (up to 100,000 attendees .. No travel required.

Many elements play a role in predicting when the event industry will bounce back. An hour will tell if various containment tools have been successful in slowing the spread of the virus and indeed the event industry will recover in a few months. In the meantime, we can only continue to observe how trends develop around the world, and at the same time focus on supporting innovation in this area.