To say things are different now than they were three months ago could possibly go down as the biggest understatement of the decade. From the COVID Pandemic to the protests over racial and social injustices, we’re seeing, hearing and experiencing things in ways unlike anything before.
Over the last several weeks, we’ve been able to engage our partners in wide ranging conversations, primarily about how their approaches to business have changed during this climate, and also how they’re adjusting for the future. For this particular content series, we’re going to focus on how the COVID Pandemic has affected the future of corporate events and what we’re seeing and hearing from our clients, while attempting to address some of the more commonly asked questions. This primary pillar post will set the groundwork for us, but then, you’ll be in control, with the ability to click through to more in-depth posts about sub-topics that interest you. Sort of like those awesome Choose your Own Adventure books from elementary school, but in this case, you’re not going to wind up in the bottom of a well if you choose the wrong path.
Let’s dive in.
So much of what we do as business owners, executives, marketers and event managers is reliant on the state of the economy. The overriding theory among economists is that the road to recovery will take one of three roads; U, V or L. Now, I’m not an economist, so I’ll refrain from going into too much detail, but regardless of the actual recovery road, we’re anticipating three phases of getting back to business,
Currently, we’re still in Phase 1, which is allowing us to cautiously, and optimistically, move forward. That said, we aren’t having events in the same way as before. Given that trillions of dollars are spent annually worldwide on events, companies are engaging in internal debates to determine next steps: “Do we cancel our events or just postpone them? Do we take more of a virtual approach or scrap the event entirely?” These are just a few in a long line of questions that need to be addressed (Learn more about these questions here). In some cases, these questions are for small, community-inspired events. In others, these decisions are affecting hundreds of thousands of people. Regardless of the size, the events that you participate in are critical to the success of your organization. Each of the different types of events you participate in have a purpose. (Dig into event specifics here) So what can be done to achieve that purpose, albeit in a different way?
Recently, there has been a shift toward doing things virtually, largely because we all recognize the importance of these events, but have no way of doing them in person. One of the main benefits to virtual events is the cost savings (no travel, no catering, no entertainment). Because of this, and as we become more adept at doing things virtually, we’ll continue to see an uptick in this area for the foreseeable future. But in-person events will be returning as well, albeit in vastly different form. In many cases, we’ll be seeing a hybrid of the two (Learn more on each of the three approaches to events here).
No matter what format is chosen, the changing perspectives of participants have to be taken into consideration more than ever, primarily those of the Planners, the Presenters and the Exhibitors/Attendees (Learn about all three perspectives here). Enough talk…time to check out some INM solutions.
There are a litany of reasons to have, host or attend events; most of which are driven by human connection and interaction. Unfortunately, we may not be able to do things the same way for a while. Yes, change can be tough, especially when it’s not on our timeline. But with change comes new perspectives and with those, new solutions….and that is exciting.