In early 2020 the world changed.
COVID-19 changed the way we live. The way we work. The way we do business (or lack thereof). Heck, it even changed the amount of toilet paper required to wipe our bums apparently…
The whole world came to a standstill and with it some complete industries. Including the events industry. Due to the scale of many events, it will probably also be one of the last industries to recover from this massive blow. Some events businesses will probably have folded by now. Or they might not make it through to the end of 2020. It’s a sad reality, and not only for our industry, unfortunately.
Luckily, restrictions are starting to ease around the globe. A tiny light is popping up at the end of this very dark tunnel. But what is waiting for us on the other side?
The Long-Term Implications for the Events Industry
A complete industry collapse like this is bound to have some long-term effects. We have had many conversations with clients, suppliers, and fellow event managers about what the future could hold. No-one has a crystal ball but one thing is certain: there will be big changes to our industry. The most obvious three will probably be these.
Many major events are partly or completely funded by local councils. Due to the huge deficits governments are facing around the globe, funding for major events will most likely not be the same again. At least not for the next couple of years.
As a result, some major events will likely be scrapped from the calendar altogether. Alternatively, they could be scaled down significantly.
In-House Event Management
Subsequently, another result of the reduced budgets for major events will be that Councils will take their event management in-house. They will expand their in-house event teams to save money on contractors. Great news for freelance event managers, not so great for event management companies (like us).
And this is not only applicable to the government sector. There will probably be a lot of organisations who will now, in these uncertain times, prefer (or should we say ‘attempt’?) to run their events themselves. After all, how hard could it be, right?! 😉
Even though restrictions are easing, some form of social distancing will probably linger throughout society. The restrictions around major events will certainly be one of the last to ease. And then it’s still the question whether these types of events will even be allowed to return to their previous attendee numbers. At least in the next few years.
Some of our clients are considering moving their major events to seated venues. Others will most likely need to enclose their event perimeter to control numbers.
In the end, the big question will be: Is it viable for major events and festival organisers to continue if (or when) attendee numbers will be restricted?
COVID Safe Planning For Events
Like in nearly every other industry, a COVID Safe Plan for events will be a must moving forward.
In Australia, we are currently waiting on the release of an approved COVID Safe Plan for the events industry. Therefore, we don’t know yet what type of criteria will need to be met. However, without a doubt event organisers will from now on need to include COVID safe planning for events. The following elements will probably need to be incorporated:
How will organisers ensure the maximum number of attendees will not be exceeded? What measures will be taken to allow attendees to practice social distancing?
Management of Public Hygiene
What facilities will be provided to improve public hygiene? Hand sanitizing stations and the provision of face masks will probably become mandatory at every event site.
Many restaurants, shops, airports, and businesses have adopted temperature testing since the start of the pandemic. Therefore, it’s not unlikely for this to become the new norm at major event sites.
At the time of publishing this blog, a COVID Safe plan for events, or the guidelines for it, has not yet been released in Australia. To find out if an industry framework is available in your Australian state, check out the Safe Work Australia website. For other countries, keep checking your local government websites.
And it doesn’t stop at a COVID safe plan. Event planners around the world will need to ensure all their safety plans are updated to suit the new norm.
As a result, all of our templates for event plans will also be updated very soon. They will include COVID safe measures and strategies for your planning. Therefore, make sure you keep checking this space for the arrival of the updated plans.
In summary, the event industry will most likely never be the same. From reduced budgets to attendee restrictions and COVID Safe Plans. Right now, the future of the events industry is still like a newborn giraffe – a bit shaky.
One thing is for sure though – event managers are by definition a tough breed. So, whatever the future holds, we are ready for it. BRING IT ON! 👊