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The events industry recalibrates to weather disruption

When the events industry took a beating in the first half of 2020, event organisers and speakers had to change gears, innovate and quickly adapt to new realities. We share how eight members of the global events community are coping with this “new normal” in this Altafy Exclusive, and how rethinking their business models will help them become more nimble and stronger in the coming months.

In December 2019, professional speaker Jerome Joseph was thrilled to see his speaking calendar fully booked till July this year.

However, in February, cancellations started to stream in as the global events industry took a major hit from social distancing measures and restrictions in public gatherings due to COVID-19.

Thankfully for Joseph, who is the CEO of The Brand Theatre Worldwide, going virtual was not an entirely new venture, as he had been offering such sessions to some of his clients for the past five years. When the restrictions came into play, Joseph and his team decided to go full throttle in this new direction and take their virtual offerings to the next level. “We realised that our clients still had a budget to spend on training and development. We said we need to do more and this meant that we needed to look at a complete transformation of our business. We got on the phone, spoke to clients, and said that we are making sure that everything that we offered could be translated to a virtual platform.”

Breaking old business models

Live events were driven by large audience numbers and organisers are now being pushed to find new ways to get those numbers back, or at least get closer to them.

El Kwang, Founder and Chief Explorer, Untangled, agrees. “Event planners who understand brand strategies will be able to strike a balance by using a combination of virtual and small face-to-face events as part of their marketing and sponsorship mix.”

“Event attendees will be highly selective with the events they would consider attending so more attention will be required in developing content that is engaging and unique and sets you apart from the competition,” Kwang adds.

Old financial models have been broken, and many businesses are feeling the strain in their cash flows.“With events not starting to bring in cash flow to the same levels as pre-COVID-19, and many borders closed, we are moving into a traditionally busy period without those baseline events plus the high-value end of year events,” observes Deanna Varga, Managing Director and Founder, Mayvin Global.

“Many suppliers in the sector are small businesses and/or operating on small margins. With events cancelling or postponing, many are operating without cash flow and limited pipeline in sight,” Varga explains. “Will we have the same level and calibre of suppliers on the other side that can provide the same calibre of support to the industry?”

On the positive side, Varga says that the pandemic has encouraged event organisers to rethink how they can add value to their clientele. “This is a positive challenge as it’s making us all re-evaluate how we address the problems of the customer, the event planner, the association or the corporate special events producer. It’s invigorating and frightening simultaneously,” says Varga, whose company focuses on creative revenue generation for the business events, tourism, and arts sectors.

Read the full article here: https://www.altafy.com/insights?post=covid-19-events-industry-recalibrates-to-cope-with-disruption