This year the exhibition and live events sector has seen a crisis like no other.
How does event management need to adapt? How do we bring confidence back for those organising events and for those attending events.? How can sales and marketing still gain value from events?
These challenging times have seen the events industry adapt quickly, often turning to event technology. With such uncertainty many in the sector have had to think outside the box. We have seen the quick turn around of events being delivered virtually. More recently, with the easing of restrictions, hybrid events have been hosted. We have also seen a change in approach, with greater flexibility of venue contracts and ticketing, as well as greater collaboration between event agencies.
A new approach to event management
Many in the live events sector have demonstrated a new approach to event planning. Below are some thoughts on how you could approach you next event.
Now is the time to adapt and the best way to do this is to reach out and collaborate with other event professionals. We need to help each other, to learn and explore new ways of working. Doing this in silo is hard, so think about how you could partner to extend and strengthen your event offering. Whether that be through the use of technology, or in partnership with a live venue, or by calling on event agencies to deliver something a little out of the ordinary. After all now is the time to think outside of the box.
The pandemic has impacted business, with many struggling in these uncertain times. With pandemic guidelines changing on a frequent basis, with uncertainty for the future, it is important to be transparent and keep your business communications clear. So be plain spoken and honest. This is important to gain the trust of visitors and attendees. Perhaps think about shedding any old T&Cs that may hinder commitment, such as cancellation clauses. Clearly show how you can make your event safe. Be up front and helpful, this will help install confidence.
Together with being transparent it is also important to be flexible. Being agile is important when there is so much turbulence. So, as well as being clear it is also important to be flexible so we can bring the live events industry back online, virtually as well as in-reality.
During Lockdown we all reached out to technology to stay in touch. The events sector is not exception, with some impressive uses of technology, such as the Farnborough International Airshow going digital. The UKickstart EVENT 2020 was also a good example of how to use technology in tandem with live attendance. These hybrid events will hopefully remain the norm, further extending the reach of live events beyond the walls of the venue and beyond the date of the event itself.
Incorporating event technology is now essential. Enhancing engagement for live and virtual audiences through the use of enhanced presentation technology, competitions, real-time information sharing, voting and polls.
The live events sector has been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. Hopefully we will see a return to large events soon.
What do you think can be done to make events of value?