Insight: Issue 19 (4th November)
Well, it’s Bonfire Night tomorrow.
So that’s another key date in the events diary we’ll be missing. But, at least the UK’s pets will be happy…
In today’s news: how the 5-tier lockdown system could prompt the return of Scottish events; 4 models for embracing change (whether you like change or not); how to avoid COVID risks when travelling to and from events; a cautionary tale of event attendees testing positive, and what we can learn from it; news of an airline’s pilot testing program that could be useful for events; and 4 key insights from event marketing profs that predict the future of our industry.
5-tier system could see Scottish events return
This article in The Scotsman points to the fact that Scotland’s new 5-tier lockdown system could see the imminent return of live events—in some parts of the country, at least. For the first time, the Scottish Government has moved small-scale indoor events into the same category as small-scale outdoor events; a welcome change after the provisional mid-September reopening date for indoor gatherings was postponed at the eleventh hour. The second key change is, of course, the 5 tiers of restrictions.
In tier 1, for areas with the second lowest levels of infection, the new plan envisages the opening of music venues and theatres, and the go-ahead for ‘small seated indoor events’. This means pilot in-person events could be staged at these venues very soon. That is, if Scotland’s cities can actually achieve the coveted tier 1 status…
How we can embrace & facilitate change
If there’s one thing event profs have gotten very used to this year, it’s adapting to change…because, well, we haven’t had much of a choice. But what about embracing change, and actively seeking it? With an uncertain future lying ahead for our industry, this timely article by Conferences That Work explores 4 models of change, and explains how we can apply them to our everyday lives. We’ve got:
- The Diffusion Model—this is, to use the author’s own eloquent description, a fancy way of saying ‘shit happens’. So, um, maybe don’t rely on this model too much.
- The Hole-In-The-Floor Model—a carefully designed and controlled top-down process that aims to create instant change. The biggest flaw is, of course, that effective change takes time (and the name isn’t a glowing review, either).
- The Newtonian Model—this concept is based around the idea of ‘pushing’ people to change; and the harder you push, the quicker the change will take place. The biggest flaw in this one is that…people tend to push back.
- The Satir Model—*SPOILER ALERT*: this is the good one. Unlike the other models, which are clearly limited to understanding how personal change happens, the Satir Model is universal. It applies to both personal *and* organisational change.
And if that makes absolutely no sense at all, let the experts explain.
How to avoid COVID risk getting to & from events
There are plenty of blogs out there that discuss possible COVID-safe event practices, but fewer have focused on the crucial ‘before and after’—how to get delegates to and from those events safely. But if planners want to keep their events as protected from COVID-19 as possible, they need to think beyond the venue and consider the entire event journey.
Event Manager Blog has compiled some need-to-know info around event travel—including current airline policies, advice on coordinating travel from the airport to the venue, and tips for managing attendee movement after on-site testing has taken place. Have a look, it’s a must-read.
A cautionary tale: US event reports COVID-positive attendees
With live events resuming in some parts of the world, we’re starting to see some success stories where event health and safety procedures have been executed without a hitch. Unfortunately, we’re also starting to hear about event planners having to put their COVID-19 risk management playbooks into practice when attendees test positive (AKA, every event prof’s worst nightmare right now).
Connect Marketplace—which took place from October 19 to 21 in Orlando, Florida—had all the on-site precautions you’d expect; including symptom screening and temperature checks, mandatory face masks, social distancing, boxed meals, and hand washing stations throughout the venue. However, 3 delegates still tested positive for COVID-19 after the event, so the organisers had to write to attendees this week to let them know they may have been exposed to the virus.
They note in the letter that no one failed the temperature checks, and no one reported any symptoms. But, while the people who tested positive could have picked up the virus anywhere, their attendance at the event places a responsibility on the organisers to reach out to all attendees quickly, and to be 100% transparent.
Could an airline’s testing program work for events?
In other news, United Airlines have announced a free COVID-19 testing pilot program (pun intended) for customers on select flights between Newark Liberty International Airport and London Heathrow. The 4.5-week program—starting November 16th and running until December 11th—requires every passenger over the age of 2 to test negative immediately prior to departure. Passengers who test positive will not be allowed to fly (until they receive a negative test result) and those who do not wish to be tested by the airline will also be prevented from boarding.
Through the testing program, United hopes to create a safer long-haul environment and increase consumer confidence in air travel. While rapid-testing technologies are known to have a higher rate of false negatives than polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, which can take days to get a result, mandatory rapid testing could be a valuable layer of security for airline passengers when combined with mask wearing and social distancing—and the same could also be true for meetings and events.
4 stats that point to how events will evolve
As we embark on what is *supposed* to be the busy season for events, we can’t help but look ahead to 2021 and wonder where we’ll be 3…6…12 months from now. And we’re not the only ones pondering the future. The Bizzabo Blog team spoke to 400 event marketing profs in mid-senior level positions about what they’re expecting—and they uncovered 4 valuable insights on how events will evolve:
- More than 80% of marketers consider greater audience reach to be the most positive effect they’ve experienced from pivoting to virtual.
- Attendee engagement remains the number one hurdle that marketers face as they navigate the virtual events landscape.
- An overwhelming 97% of marketers are confident that hybrid events will become more prominent moving forward.
- And 63% of marketers plan to resume in-person meetings and events in 2021.*