The hard lockdown, which started in March this year, forced many businesses and event managers to transform their business model and embrace technology by offering planned events online, in a bid to stay afloat.
Eight months later, as the eventing industry is starting to reopen following an easing of lockdown restrictions, there is a glimpse of a new normal on the horizon.
Mike Lysko, the CEO and founder of Flock Eventing Platform, says: “online events offered businesses and event managers a welcome solution during lockdown. As a result, many businesses have recognised that there are several benefits to virtual events and digital event technologies.
Many of these technologies and digital event solutions are now integrated into events and he predicts that many organisations will not return to the “old way of doing things”, despite the gradual lifting of the lockdown restrictions.
Lysko considers some of the changes businesses and event managers can expect in the run up towards a pre-lockdown events industry.
1. Event managers will have to adapt to cater for smaller physical events and will need to provide virtual event integration. Venue operators will need to implement infrastructural changes to support the online broadcasting of events. In other words, venues will need to offer a seamless integration to compliment clients’ use of virtual event platforms. This will most likely become a strong consideration for businesses looking to host physical events and hybrid events.
2. Event apps will become essential. Managing an event through an app provides business and event managers with effective and efficient control whether they host a hybrid, physical or online events. Apps make it easy to track every aspect of an event from administration to execution, it increases visibility for event sponsors and provides demonstratable ROI based on the data collected.
Additionally, businesses can have a single branded app for all their events where data is stored for attendees to access as and when needed. Event apps also provide attendees with a better experience because they can get all the information, they require when they need it, thereby cutting down administration tasks such as delegates can simply view or download the information they need from the app.
3. Event venues will be limited to a small number of physical attendees.
Even with lockdown restrictions easing, the Coronavirus has made businesses and people acutely aware of the dangers of being in close proximity to one another. This is likely to lead to smaller physical event gatherings as delegates choose to attend the event online rather than in person for health or other reasons.
4. Health, safety and data security measures will increase.
Despite the drop in Coronavirus cases, the health risks remain and the prior collection of health information of delegates attending events in person and the screening of these delegates on arrival at venues is likely to remain important and necessary protocols.
This will lead to two notable changes to the industry:
• Additional data security measures will need to be taken to protect the information attendees share with companies.
• More people will want the option of attending an event virtually if they have health concerns, prefer to limit their travel, or do not want to share health information with third parties.
“Events have always been a way for people to connect, share information and learn more about a company, product, service or person. Online events and event technology offers attendees more control over their environment and health, and provides business with a cost-effective solutions to reach more customers,” says Lysko.
5. Artificial Intelligent (AI) technology provides a personalised experience. AI technology is improving faster than expected and event managers and corporates will use this smart technology to personalise each attendee’s experience. Companies will use the data they collect to provide more value and to show attendees more of what they are likely to be interested in and less of what they aren’t.
6. Virtual reality (VR) and 3D experiences will grow in popularity and sophistication. Future physical events will increasingly incorporate augmented and virtual reality elements to engage and enthrall attendees. Bulky headsets will be replaced with sleek, comfortable glasses for in-person experiences, and those attending events via their desktops will be able to enjoy an experience akin to Sim City – enabling them to attend events and concerts, shop at exhibitions, network with other attendees, and more – thanks to VR and 3D technology.
These are just a few of the changes the Flock Event Platform founder believes will emerge in the industry. He emphasises that the events landscape is unlikely to return to how it was pre-lockdown and many businesses may further change their business model to incorporate what they have learnt during the pandemic to create a more robust business.
“Many people in the industry have changed their approach to events due to the disruption caused by COVID-19 and the hard lockdown”
“This is not necessarily a bad thing because industry disruptions have made way for improvements, changes and a willingness to embrace technology
“We see the excitement around the reopening of the industry and a renewed eagerness to do things differently, which will have a positive impact on the event industry as a whole,” Lysko concludes”
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