It is no secret that the ongoing pandemic has drastically impacted the events industry. Approximately a year into the virus outbreak and almost everyone has major events canceled or postponed. Sadly, the event industry had to pivot itself through these uncertain times to meet the ends.
M.I.C.E (Meetings-Incentives-Convention-Exhibition) is a $1000 Billion market that has been affected by the virus outbreak. Globally, by mid-March, industries canceled 100 percent of their events, resulting in a loss of $666 Million in revenue and loss of employment.
The event industry’s struggle is real, and the turbulence is so unprecedented that if you type in Google ‘future of event industry,’ you will be inundated with many articles predicting the future of the event sector and ways to move forward. But the truth, no one really knows or can anticipate.
But what we missed perceiving is the period of opportunity that the event sector is blessed with. While the situation seems challenging now, the event industry can be a disruptive innovator and get their unique ideas out in the market first, which involves huge rewards.
This article gives you a quick and expected glimpse of the event industry’s future post the pandemic that will help you gain success in the altered reality.
Changing to the hybrid model
Conducting physical events are impossible today, but they won’t be the same for long. While no more than a few people might be allowed to accumulate for an event, the remaining attendees can gain knowledge virtually.
As event venues will have a capacity, event organizers need to have the digital component available for the attendees, thus accepting the hybrid model.
The current pandemic has forced respondents to adapt to digital solutions, aka virtual event platforms. From live streaming to remote viewers, chat rooms to facilitate interaction between participants and the organizers, digital elements are being tried and tested for a better implementation into the hybrid model.
The events’ digital side will leverage the technological features, stretching their limits to provide a new and exciting experience of the event and its offerings.
Moving to portable devices
In a Cisco report, it is estimated that video will represent 82 percent of all business traffic by 2022. Over 70 percent of the global population is expected to have a smartphone by 2023, making smartphones the fastest growing mobile device between 2018 to 2023.
Mobile technology is already in use to watch videos, listen to audiobooks, etc. This digital transition is expected to shape the way participants sign-up and engage in events. Mobile technology is used to display event schedules, news alerts, and QR codes to redeem offers and soon expand to create augmented reality pathways, along with projection mapping, enabling organizers to project 3D scenes into surfaces.
To make these events possible, the event platforms’ technical literacy and cross-compatibility are required with multiple operating systems and devices. While people are still getting equipped with the mobile technology environment, mobile technology will be the norm in a few years if the events are conducted in a hybrid model.
Opportunities to generate revenue
It is an obvious human tendency to consider that digital events would be priced lesser than physical events, perhaps because of the lower setup cost, lack of face-to-face networking opportunities, and sometimes shorter duration.
But this practice can be changed when the digital event provides more value to the participants than any physical event and creates new opportunities to learn, grow, or get a job.
For example, think about the ‘freemium model,’ where all participants can have free access to the keynote speakers for the event’s entire duration. But then you provide a paid breakout if the participants want more in-depth knowledge and networking opportunities with the speakers.
The pandemic has forced the event industry to adapt to various challenges at an unprecedented speed. This has even pushed many experienced event managers into unfamiliar territories, thus creating groups dedicated to navigating the new virtual terrain.
The benefit of conducting digital events is that there is no constraint with space or time. People all over the world can attend to the events without thinking twice about their travel, lodging, pandemic, or anything for that matter. Virtual events provide attendees with everything that physical events can enable.
Still, we can expect changes that are yet to be discovered and implemented, methods that are known but were never put into action in the event industry yet. While we can presume the future of the event industry, no one can be really sure of what the future holds.