Last week was undeniably one of the toughest on record for the event industry. Is there light at the end of the tunnel?
I started writing about events just a couple of years before the last financial crisis. It was a tough time. Last week has been similarly miserable if not worse.
The panic that is taking the world by storm is resulting in many event cancellations, but most of all, it is making people scared to go out and meet face to face.
I won’t deny this is a major threat for the industry as we know it. It makes no sense to be in denial of what everyone can see.
We have, as an industry, two roads ahead of us: succumb to panic or get things going, even if the latter means holding on until things settle.
Because things will settle. As they always have.
This is also a wake up call for the industry. Nobody can predict the future, but many, many times we have anticipated a downturn and gotten prepared.
How can you be prepared for fear? You can’t… and you can.
On February 11, I tweeted this:
With the #coronavirus having a massive impact on the meetings industry your live streaming offering should be a priority if your event happens within the next 4 months.
— Julius Solaris (@tojulius) February 11, 2020
Live streaming or virtual events — the most hated technology by planners is now their most sound opportunity to keep business going until next year.
Many many cancellations are happening. I understand how that is the only option for a trade show with 100,000 attendees, but conferences with 4,000/5,000 attendees do not need to cancel. They can still happen with live streaming and mobile apps as networking tools.
Will it be the same experience? No. Nothing can replace face to face. But this is not the matter.
The matter is to keep people meeting, online or offline. To keep things as normal as possible. Close business deals, learn about a topic.
This is why you will find a bunch of new resources on EventMB to manage your event online whenever you cannot postpone it.
This virus has been one of the worst wake up calls for the industry and the beginning of a new way to look at events. A new event industry where technology is an integral part of the plan to include attendees who cannot be there, whether because of a virus or to avoid unnecessary travel, but undeniably want to be there.
There are tough days ahead of us but this industry is solid, and human beings want to meet in person. The uptick (whenever summer or a vaccine kills this virus) will be monumental, and we will live in a new world where everyone appreciates the value of face to face.
Be strong, keep calm and make people meet.