The pandemic has impacted nearly every facet of everyday life, particularly the ways in which we gather and socialize. Until we get the virus under control, the fate of in-person events looks grim. If events haven’t been postponed or canceled altogether, they were transformed into virtual events held over online platforms. A survey conducted by PCMA revealed that over 87% of event planners canceled their upcoming events in 2020, and 66% were postponed due to the pandemic. The report also shows that 7 out of 10 businesses transitioned their events to a “digital-only” option as a solution to no longer being able to host events. But what does this mean for the future of the in-person events? Will the events industry ever recover?
The Pre-Pandemic Events Biz
Pre-pandemic, the business events industry added more than $1 trillion to the global economy. It goes without saying that this number no longer reflects the industry—the pandemic struck everyone by surprise. The term event can include any type of gathering that is typically large, such as corporate events, conferences, concerts, and art performances. Back in 2018, the majority of events dominating the industry were corporate events and seminars. Sponsorship generated the most revenue, and the demographics of attendees were predominantly 21-40.
Companies that rely heavily on revenue generated from events have been hit hard by the pandemic. The pandemic has forced marketing and event planners to reassess their future money-making events as they can now pose a huge health risk. Even though certain events have transitioned to virtual, most regular event-goers agree that these events are not comparable to face-to-face experiences. Most would prefer to connect and engage in-person. As a result, fewer people are likely to tune into the events or spend money on tickets.
Besides companies that host plenty of events throughout the year, services directly related to the organization of large events are struggling to evolve and recover. Events that were scheduled to occur in 2020 were postponed or canceled, such as the Summer Olympics or Coachella. Last spring, the event management website Eventbrite was forced to lay off almost half of their employees. Some events later this year continue to be scheduled for the summer, such as music festivals, in hopes that COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted by that time.
New Technologies to Support the Events Industry
No one expected virtual events to become the only option for events. However, even before the pandemic, virtual events were valued at $78 billion in 2019. Of course, this number is expected to grow significantly due to the unexpected shift of events to online-only. Certainly, in-person corporate and entertainment events will resume following vaccination distribution, but they will not be the same.
Once in-person events resume, it’s likely that a virtual component will still play an integral part. The concept of hybrid events has recently emerged, which involves a smaller in-person audience at an event that gets broadcasted to a large audience. In the future, people might become more selective about the types of events they attend. Virtual components provide a solution for those that are not yet comfortable with attending.
Even before online platforms, technology was already incorporated into events and meetings. For example, most event-goers will have their cell phone on them for accessing a map of the event grounds or a schedule. The addition of an app like COVID PreCheck allows for a solution to have in place for checking the health of attendants at events. Attendees can simply flash their QR code from the COVID Precheck app and see how it can provide a more seamless experience for verifying vaccinations or a lack of symptoms. This would be the ultimate way of incorporating a safe, convenient way for easing our way back into the in-person events industry.
In 2020, people worldwide were forced to change their event plans, but hopefully 2021, will see a return of in-person events once the vaccinations have been sufficiently distributed. Just because we can’t throw events right now doesn’t mean we can’t prepare for them. That being said, proper measures will have to be put in place for the safety of everyone. But we don’t want these measures to be too inconvenient for event-goers. Check out the COVID PreCheck App for an easy solution to support your company’s future events.