As the world looks to combat Covid19 in some cases, and in others plot a path of recovery one definite is no one really knows what is going to happen next.
Yes, we can all make educated predications, but a pandemic that has touched all corners of the world at the same time is an unknown quantity and just when you think you can safely predict a return to some form of normality it can be dismissed immediately because of the rapid changing nature of what is happening.
In some cases it is quite remarkable – and I suppose admirable – there are certain sectors who believe everything could be back to normal come the last quarter of the year. This is certainly a worrying trend we have seen from events space over the past few weeks.
Yes, the current climate is playing havoc with the live events industry no matter what sector they represent and it’s imperative the companies in it begin to start generating revenue in order for them to survive, and credit to those who are managing to do this to some degree with virtual offerings, but worryingly there are still a number of major players who still believe they will be running live events from September onward and cannot move into a new digital space.
Currently this is tough to do with most governments banning indoor events and even those outdoors are restricted to a low capacity, but in our opinion it’s not the legalities, which are likely to mean very few, if any large scale events, take place for the rest of 2020, it’s the change in behavioural habits, which are likely to stop them happening.
If you step back and think for a moment how likely are you to risk your own health by putting yourself into a risky situation by mixing with hundreds or thousands of people at an event? It’s the same with the travel industry and whether you would risk your health to fly anywhere. Of course, there will be those that don’t care about either, but having spoken to colleagues, the industry, friends and family the majority of those are not prepared to put themselves at risk for short term gain. There is nothing any event organiser can do to change this, but there are opportunities to potentially ease these fears with certain initiatives of procedures, but the cost of doing these can be huge and take away the essence of live events.
There is no doubt live events will be back and will continue to be a source of connecting, doing business and seeing projects, services and items brought to life that virtual and video calls cannot do, but until there is a vaccine it’s best to be cautious and not think about bringing back large live events from the end of the first quarter of 2021 unless something drastic happens and a vaccine is readily available.
In the advertising sector this decision has been taken out of the hands of many of the organisers of the biggest conferences and events as their biggest revenue clients, the likes of Facebook, Google, Twitter, Adobe and most US adtech companies have banned live event attendance and participation until June 2021, which would leave to big a holes in their revenue to realistically run without making substantial losses.
It is certainly a tricky and tough time, but never before has creativity and the use of virtual solutions been so popular and we believe the result of this combination will see a number of events create a balanced hybrid between virtual and live solutions for the future and beyond.