To say it’s been a rocky road for the events industry and professionals this year is an understatement. It has been devastating. But with the vaccination programme being rolled out successively, the roadmap out of lockdown remaining on track, and the Events Research Programme going successfully, there really does seem to be some light at the end of the tunnel this time.
But perhaps this tunnel is leading to a new destination. COVID 19 has changed the way we think, the way we behave and most importantly, the way we interact.
Throughout the pandemic the Events Industry has proved its capacity to bring people together socially in the virtual world. From virtual wine tasting and work parties, to live streaming of festivals and gigs, our industry has impressively utilised technology to keep people connected.
And it seems that virtual events are here to stay. ‘Hybrid’ events are expected to become more regular, incorporating both live and virtual elements. For event planners, this is a great opportunity to curate experiences that are not limited by the size of a venue or audience capacity limitations.
But whilst the virtual world seems to be lingering, once social distancing measures are eased, people will be after what they have so long been missing; live events.
People want new and exciting ideas, not just an event, but an experience to immerse themselves in and remember. With this new demand for supply, comes new challenges for the events industry.
Hospitality Titan, Wesley Mendy says:
‘It’s a whole new era. A Wild West. We are entering into an age of collaborations and connections, underpinned by your level of practice e.g. Sustainability and diversity. Without embracing these factors, you’ll be on the end of a Tyson blow!’
Whether the industry remembers it as a catalyst or catastrophe, the pandemic has produced a revolution in the event industry that has, and will continue to require planners to relearn and rethink everything from business models to event technology and delivery.
People want new and innovative events, rooted in sustainability, diversity and collaboration. Chatting to Mendy, he is adamant that industry professionals can no longer simply set out to defeat competitors, but must collaborate and adapt to thrive in what is going to be a newly saturated market.
And in every market, there are winners. Those who have survived the pandemic will emerge stronger. But with inevitable gaps in the market from those who sadly could not survive, comes the opportunity for new emerging talent to enter with the vibrancy and innovation that is so needed right now. Whether they set up new companies or accompany seasoned professionals to rethink existing business plans, it is with these new innovators that the event industry is on the brink of a new era.