The health crisis caused by the spread of Covid-19 has rapidly transformed the traditional events industry and has driven virtual meetings.

Now, the organizers must worry more about cleaning, hygiene measures and distance between attendees to adapt to the demands of society. In turn, companies face a reduction in budget and the difficulty of bringing people from different provinces or countries together in the same place.

The rooms will not be able to be filled to their maximum capacity, so fewer people will participate. Likewise, most of the attendees will be those who are geographically close to the location. This reality suggests that meetings will be smaller, simpler and of shorter duration.

For its part, in the events industry, a decrease is expected in the prices of venues and in the commissions charged by the organizers. It will also be necessary to invest in adapting the facilities and convention centers to make them more versatile in order to guarantee a healthy distance between participants.

Against this background, innovation is key to avoid further economic losses and adapt to recent changes. Technology has already proven its power to overcome physical barriers and to keep information flowing between people, so companies are beginning to consider more virtual meetings and hybrid events.

The digital transformation of events will be marked by the use of technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, video calls, chats, etc. However, the most significant changes in the meetings and events industry also include:

Limited resources

The Covid-19 pandemic is generating an economic crisis that forces many companies to reduce their staff and reduce the budgets assigned to different areas.

In the events industry, this scarcity of resources poses the challenge of creating meaningful experiences for attendees based on creativity, flexibility and efficiency.

Otherwise, event organizers will not be able to recover their production levels or increase them in the future.

Selective audience

Currently, both companies and exhibitors, sponsors and attendees are re-evaluating their participation in events. These meetings are not only perceived as a risk to the health of those involved, but also as a financial risk.

Most people will only attend an in-person event if it provides them with a must-see experience or a unique opportunity to gain insight and make valuable connections with others. Otherwise, they will prefer not to attend.

This latter scenario will greatly affect the profitability of the meetings industry and the return of investment of companies. And to avoid this, event organizers will need to be more resourceful to:

  • Guarantee the attendance of guests
  • Increase the scope of events and stimulate participation
  • Transmit the value of the event in a unique and emotional way
  • Increase productivity

New demands

Businesses need to avoid further financial losses, so they will make sure they don’t have to pay for an event that may not take place. For this reason, convention and meeting venues will have to make contracts and cancellation terms more flexible to give customers confidence.

Similarly, it will be necessary for them to adapt their facilities so that attendees feel safe during the event. Social distancing, the use of masks, the supply of hydroalcoholic gel and the taking of body temperature are the new basic needs that meeting rooms and event organizers must cover.

Likewise, it is estimated that hotels will have to lower rates in the reservation of rooms to maintain their profitability and attract customers. Food and beverage services will also trend downward to stimulate recruitment and secure some profit margin.

Inclination for sustainability

Sustainability is a growing concern, especially in times of pandemic. Event organizers must make an effort to work with recyclable materials with low environmental impact, as well as to contribute to energy savings.

The reduction in CO2 emissions will be another of the primary objectives, so the transfer of resources from distant places will be avoided. Instead, there will be a preference for local products, be it food, assembly and production materials, or gifts.

This new form of organization will add value to local communities and will form part of the organization’s Social Responsibility actions.

Reduced times

Until the world has a vaccine to stop the spread of Covid-19, people will not feel willing to spend a lot of time in extended meetings with numerous people around.

The organizers must reduce the time invested in activities that are not essential for the development of the event. In this way, attendees will have a concise, enjoyable and value-laden experience without exposing themselves excessively to risky situations.

Bet on hybrid and virtual events

Hybrid events combine the face-to-face experience with the virtual one, so that a small group of people gathered in one space can communicate and interact with a wide audience through different digital channels. For their part, virtual events concentrate the entire experience on the digital plane.

Before the pandemic, hybrid and virtual events were rarely part of companies’ marketing strategy. Despite this, they are now becoming the best way to hold meetings without putting the health of those involved at risk.

Companies have found that to maintain contact with their customers the use of technology is essential. And for that reason, these modalities will begin to be more frequent.

Not only because they facilitate the attendance of people from anywhere in the world, but also because they reduce production costs, guarantee a greater return on investment and provide added value in the experience of the participants.

However, to achieve these goals, just offering a live webcast will not be enough. It is about giving participants a more immersive and differentiating experience that captures their attention and strengthens their relationship with the company.

Therefore, just as event organizers have the equipment and resources to sponsor a face-to-face meeting; they are expected to have the right software and tools to develop effective and memorable virtual meetings.

There is no doubt that face-to-face events will return. Her return will be gradual as the effects of the pandemic are overcome. First, local, regional and national meetings will be resumed while international meetings and conventions will be the last to take place.

However, this complex and uncertain social context allowed companies and event organizers to recognize the need to create innovative and transformative solutions to adjust to a changing reality.

This is why hybrid events and virtual meetings will be part of the new normal in the events industry. In addition to allowing companies to demonstrate their ability to adapt, it will help them convey their value proposition to potential customers and at the same time obtain a high rate of return.