There’s no question that the world we live in will change forever post COVID-19, none more so than the corporate events industry. Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen a complete shift in the landscape as to how corporate events are both run and attended.
Whilst it will take time to see the long-term effects COVID-19 will have on the industry, here at Bright Vision, we foresee 6 major changes in the post-COVID-19 world.
1. Types of events
Terms such as “hybrid” (a mix of live interaction and pre-recorded installations) and “virtual” (a completely pre-recorded interactive event) will start to become a lot more prominent in the corporate events industry. Some of the world’s largest and most iconic events will no longer be held “in-person”.
Over the past 12 months, we’ve seen events such as South By South West (SXSW) and The London Film Festival pivot from established “real life” events to hybrid and virtual versions.
2. Importance of time
Attendees will now be a lot wearier regarding how best to utilise their time when it comes to events. A 2-day in-person event in the past may well have included overnight stays, 2 days worth of travel, and a whole day at the event itself when only half of the day is of any real value.
With hybrid and virtual events likely to become a permanent fixture in the corporate events calendar post-COVID-19, days of travel and afternoons wasted in hotel lobbies will no longer be a necessity.
Corporate events have always commanded a considerable chunk in any marketing or sales budget. In a post-COVID-19 world, high-end ticket prices are more likely to drop for hybrid and virtual versions of corporate events for a number of reasons.
The production value for events has shifted dramatically. Event organisers used to cover everything from venue hire and signage to lanyards and passes. Many of these things are now redundant when changing an offline corporate event to an online version. From an attendee and sponsorship point of view, travel, food and accommodation budgets will no longer be required, in addition to any money spent on offline marketing, such as flyers and promotional material.
One of the most complicated elements of corporate events is gathering data when it comes to a return on investment for both sponsors, attendees and organisers. With events moving online, we are able to see a greater and more accurate range of statistics when it comes to engagement. This will now play an important role when it comes to setting prices for both tickets and sponsorship opportunities. For example, knowing exactly how many people are tuning in to a talk from certain countries at certain times will help determine a number of opportunities for the corporate events world post-COVID-19.
It’s safe to say that travel in a post-COVID-19 world is going to change, and this is going to have a huge impact on corporate events. With various countries adopting periods of self-isolation and travellers being required to pay a substantial amount of money to stay in “hotel quarantine” for 2 weeks, it’s hard to justify attendance at any corporate event.
Whether this will still be the case in 12 months’ time, regardless of the destination, is obviously yet to be determined, but one thing’s for sure; any travel will need to be done with some serious planning. Vaccinations and tests carried out ahead of time will almost certainly be a fixture that will take time and money, so last-minute Ryanair flights to attend events will no longer be the norm.
“The best business is always done at the bar” could well be a rarity. Having virtual “bars” as part of online events means we will no longer physically have to buy anybody a drink in order to make a connection, but at least there are social aspects being integrated. Virtual business cards and “speed networking” will enable us to swap details with just a couple of clicks, keeping track of any connections made, meaning that the days of coming back with piles of business cards are almost a thing of the past.
Whilst the corporate events world is changing, we need to embrace it after COVID-19 as things start to open up again. Making business connections is incredibly important for any professional, and whilst we may be doing it differently moving forward, it’s important that we support the industry and continue to evolve.