Insight: Issue 68 (27th October)
All eyes will be on Glasgow this Sunday, as COP26 finally kicks off.
As we’re sure everyone not currently living under a rock is aware, COP26 is the long-awaited United Nations climate change summit, which will be getting started in Glasgow this Sunday 31 October.
In the run up to the global summit, the UK has been working with every nation to reach an agreement on how to tackle climate change – and now, finally, more than 200 world leaders will be arriving in Scotland for 12 days of talks, alongside tens of thousands of negotiators, government representatives, businesses, and climate-conscious citizens.
Just FYI, this won’t be your average summit; most experts believe COP26 has a unique urgency – and it’s being touted as the most significant climate event since the 2015 Paris Agreement. Not only that, but it’s the biggest summit the UK has ever hosted – in our back garden, no less! More updates to come.
As well as COP26 chat, we’ve also got: a new survey declaring that demand for in-person events has *finally* returned to pre-pandemic levels; 8 tips for pivoting back from virtual to in-person events (the reverse pivot, if you will); a report from UK Music revealing that COVID has wiped out 1 in 3 music jobs; tips for event companies addressing their long-term sustainability; and Glasgow Convention Bureau’s new #VirtualGlasgow walking tour.
Demand for events back to pre-pandemic levels
First up for today, the third edition of the Global Recovery Insights 2021 report was published last week. It’s the latest outcome of a quantitative global survey of trade show visitors and exhibitors, which has so far gained 15,000 responses from more than 30 countries. And the headline result is? Demand has *finally* returned to pre-pandemic levels for both exhibitors and visitors, with no signs of a fundamental shift away from in-person trade shows…Yes, for real!
72% of visitors say they plan to attend trade shows with the same or increased frequency in the future, with 62% of exhibitors reporting the same intention. The impact of the pandemic on spend has also been less severe than predicted, with 45% of exhibitors expecting budgets to return to normal within the next 12 months. Kai Hattendorf – CEO of UFI, one of the driving forces behind the study – commented:
“The report gives plenty of reasons for optimism, including quelling doubts about a possible shift away from live events and indicating which shows are likely to bounce back quickly. At a time where physical trade shows are restarting around the world, we hope that these findings will help the industry to a fast recovery and beyond.”
8 tips for pivoting back from virtual to in-person
Given the rising demand for live events, Event Marketer has shared some tips for perfecting the ‘reverse pivot’…AKA, transitioning back from lockdown-era virtual events into real-world, in-person experiences. It might sound straightforward in theory, but – much like with the original, virtual pivot – you can’t simply lift and shift your strategy. What you *can* do, is:
- Divide and conquer. Virtual events require different skillsets and know-how to physical events – and that means you’ll need two separate, dedicated teams for hybrid events.
- Timing is critical. Now that live events are returning, attendance won’t be as simple as switching on a laptop – so you’ll have to be 100% sure that your event schedule works for target audiences that need to travel.
- Embrace smaller, more targeted experiences. Pivoting back from digital will probably require paring down your audience to save on budget – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing! After all, shifting your focus to smaller, more targeted groups will let you connect with attendees on a more meaningful level.
Report reveals COVID wiped out 1 in 3 music jobs
Unfortunately, as events open up, it’s too-little-too-late for many. UK Music – the collective voice of the UK music industry – has unveiled its This Is Music 2021 annual report, revealing the devastating impact of COVID, which has wiped out 69,000 jobs. To put that figure in perspective, it’s 1 in 3 of the total workforce.
In the report, UK Music called on the government to introduce tax incentives and other employment-boosting measures to help the sector rebuild after the pandemic. It also called for urgent action to resolve the problems facing musicians and crew touring the EU, with suggested actions including:
- A permanent reduction in VAT rate on live music event tickets.
- More funding and support for music exports.
- Boosting funding for music education and for the self-employed to help secure the talent pipeline.
If you want to know more, you can check out the full report here.
Confronting your organisation’s sustainability
Plenty of organisations are also facing a difficult period, as they address issues related to the long-term sustainability of their business in the wake of COVID-19. To all event businesses that are struggling right now, Meeting Media Group recommends:
- Revisiting your strategic plan. Remember that some interim changes made in the last year to accommodate the pandemic will likely become permanent, and this may have a knock-on effect on your long-term strategy.
- Updating your benchmark metrics. Specifically, see if there are any new metrics that make sense in the post-COVID world, like percentage of pre-pandemic conference-goers versus those who come back in-person to your post-pandemic events.
- Reconnecting with *all* your stakeholders. Because *a lot* has changed. Venues may no longer be hosting in-person events the way they used to, and hotels and conference centres may have reduced their staff considerably. So, now’s the time to touch base.
New #VirtualGlasgow walking route launched
Because you know we like to end things on a cheery note – Glasgow Convention Bureau has launched a new online walking challenge in advance of COP26 that allows delegates to explore some of Glasgow’s sustainable initiatives virtually. The challenge aligns with the People Make Glasgow Greener strategy, encouraging delegates who are joining a conference online to take a break, step away from their computers, and get moving. Wendy Russell, International Manager at Glasgow Convention Bureau, said:
“To welcome delegates logging in from home, the virtual walks are an ideal addition to our #VirtualGlasgow toolkit to help online delegates feel part of the live conference experience by enjoying and learning about their virtual host city.”