As lockdown starts to ease in the UK, what people are willing to do and are comfortable with is still very much decided by how each individual feels towards the risks of the virus.
The event industry has been one of the most affected by the virus, and as we come to normalise a world in which the virus may be present, the way we socialise and celebrate may continue to be affected for a long time to come. This means that we will need to look at adapting the way the hospitality and event industry is run instead of waiting for things to get better. Focusing on the positives, the event industry is a highly desired industry with demand still for events and meetings being requested across the UK.
How COVID-19 Impacted Events
When the first lockdown was announced last year, all events had to be cancelled, some moving online but most postponing until they thought things would open back up, many thinking it wouldn't be as long as it has been.
Just as an example, since lockdown started, some major events like the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and European Football Championships were postponed. Other major music events, including Glastonbury Festival and the Eurovision Song Contest were also cancelled, and huge blockbusters had to delay their release dates. Further to this, smaller events and personal events, like weddings, also had to be cancelled. A good majority of these events haven't just given up on going ahead though, most have postponed and are now waiting for the green light to go ahead. This includes some major music festivals, like Reading and Leeds, who are excited to be going ahead in 2021.
What The Future Of Events Looks Like
This industry cannot stay frozen; this is mainly due to the demand slowly growing as groups start to meet up again as Covid guidelines loosen. Although it is likely that certain factors will influence what this will look like for some time. Let's take a look at some of these:
It is essential that you keep your distance from individuals and from other households with any event going forwards. This can be done by using methods like staggered entry or having certain exit times to avoid a rush of people attempting to get out of the same place; you could even try one-way systems. There is a lot to consider when keeping people apart, but this can be built into your event planning.
One of the biggest concerns for any event is what food and drink will be available. Before Covid self service buffets were a popular way of providing hot drinks and lunches, nowadays this style of catering is currently considered too risky as it involves multiple people touching the same surfaces. The new method for events would involve people being served both food and drink as they can remain distanced.
Cleaning/Hand sanitising stations have been popping up nearly everywhere, including public places recently. Providing more sanitation to the public can help prevent germs and bugs being spread as well as providing signage to ensure people are aware of the risks of not doing so.
- Accessible Considerations For Virtual Events
During the pandemic, virtual events have become the new way of connecting people to their target audience. As things have started to return to normal, we have seen a significant rise in hybrid events, which is particularly popular in business conferences. This is where a small group can attend face to face to have discussions, and then these discussions are then broadcasted to a much bigger audience who can ask questions and get involved digitally. According to the Post Covid-19 Event Outlook Report, 90% of event marketers plan to invest in virtual events, and a survey conducted by PCMA on business events professionals showed that 7 out of 10 businesses had switched their events to a virtual platform.
A curated networking event is perfect in a smaller form. Curated networking events are designed to work by helping members or companies find others just like themselves to form partnerships or deals. Before COVID-19, many of these curated networking events worked on finding people by luck and hoping to bump into and start a conversation with the right people. These events can be highly effective if organised correctly, and if we find ourselves in a position where attendees have to be reduced, you can use this tool to create events that would facilitate more meaningful discussions with a smaller number of people, even if they take place over socially distanced tables.
The Impact On Live Entertainment
What could be questioned is if the shift to a virtual world for conferences and business makes for a better suit? You could argue that there is more to be gained by moving these kinds of events online, including the fact that the events can be reached by a much larger audience but keep a simpler standard. On the other hand, nothing will quite give the same atmosphere and feeling that live entertainment can offer. The loud, creative celebrations can never be replicated online.
You'll also find that because of lockdown, people have been finding new ways to consume music and entertainment from new channels. One example of this is how Fortnite used their platform to host a live in-game concert featuring Travis Scott where 12 million people logged into the game to watch.
Overall though from this lockdown the event industry has not only gained new and innovative ways of supplying entertainment to the masses but also has seen that there will always be demand for live events, entertainment and performances.
Working in the Event Industry may not be the same but this is also a great opportunity to use this time to change and bring new ideas and discovery. It's time to let go of outdated beliefs and welcome change. Event Planners who wish to expand their offerings can now take advantage of a variety of new opportunities. Find out what The Training Room can do for you by clicking the link below:
Become a Qualified Events Planner