Latest News: COVID-19 and the events industry (03/04 June)
Since the slight easing of lockdown last week. . .
…we hope you all enjoyed a soppy, socially-distanced reunion with your loved ones at the weekend (al-fresco, of course).
Today’s news is bringing you: new WHO guidelines for mass events; a look at how venues and event profs have been collaborating in the COVID-19 crisis; 5 ways events are adapting to this crazy world; best practice for virtual conferences; and the hotel staff singing and dancing their way through lockdown…
WHO provides guidelines for mass events
First up for today, and this one’s a biggie—the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued new guidelines for organising mass events. The purpose is to provide key planning recommendations for governments, health authorities, and national/international event organisers on containing the risk of COVID-19 transmission during mass gathering events.
The report advises governments and event organisers to work together to evaluate the potential risks associated with events, as well as the capacity to apply appropriate prevention and control measures. Then, once all public health risks have been addressed and mitigated, event organisers can find guidance across 3 phases:
- Planning phase—guidance on how to develop and test a preparedness and response plan.
- Operational phase—advice on how to modify the event itself, including info on social distancing and hygiene procedures.
- Post-event phase—the follow-up, i.e. maintaining communication between event organisers and health authorities, in case any cases of COVID-19 arise as a consequence of the event.
You can view the full doc here. The guidance is still pretty vague, and it leaves a lot of room for interpretation—but we’ve got to start somewhere.
How venues & event profs are collaborating
At the beginning of the year, the coronavirus pandemic caused a tidal wave of event cancellations and postponements across the entire events industry. Unsurprisingly, this put a strain on the relationship between event organisers and their venue partners, with both sides experiencing devastating losses. Many event profs were unable to get out of contracts despite lockdown orders; whilst venues were frantically trying to reschedule events in a time of unending uncertainty.
To see where things stand, Event Manager Blog spoke with event profs and venues to find out how they’ve been coping, and ask how they might need to change the way they work together to plan events in a post-COVID world. Their point is: no-one knows how the next 18 months will turn out, so it’s crucial for planners and venues to collaborate in this difficult time to find solutions that suit everyone—as *that’s* how our whole industry will recover. An interesting read, with an important message.
5 ways events are adapting to restrictions
Though lockdown restrictions are being eased in many countries (including ours…see opening GIF), the events industry will remain severely disrupted for some time to come. So, with no end to social distancing in sight, how are businesses adapting their event schedules?
Pico, a global brand activation and event marketing company, did a some digging to find out how their clients were transforming their strategies—and they uncovered 5 ways events are adapting to coronavirus restrictions:
- Clients aren’t just pivoting to virtual, they’re also shifting to digital. Their research revealed that 93% of their clients think digital marketing in the COVID-19 era is important, an increase of 14% from before the pandemic.
- Audiences have high expectations of virtual events. Their clients reckon target audiences won’t reduce their expectations if events are moved online—so they’re upping the ante with mixed reality, and boosting engagement through gamification. *
- Content is still king. While there is no substitute for in-person events (obviously), engaging digital content is a solid substitute—and 46% of respondents are looking to increase their investments in digital content over the next 6 months.
- Digital = data-rich. An increase in online events and digital tactics lends itself to building an integrated, digital-first approach to event marketing—which, in turn, provides rich data and easily-measured results. Hooray!
- Basically, it’s a paradigm shift for the events industry. And those who come out of this pandemic stronger than ever will be the creative, experience-led, and digital-first thinkers.
Best practice for virtual conferences
Speaking of ‘pivoting to digital’ (honestly, we’ve heard that phrase so many times now, it’s starting to lose all meaning…).
As meeting profs migrate to virtual, questions have arisen about best practices and industry standards. How long should virtual conferences be? Should you charge less? That sort of thing.
These questions prompted education consultancy Tagoras to carry out interviews with 361 virtual meeting organisers. The outcome, a 62-page report, provides data on a wide range of topics: from sponsorships, to pricing, to average attendance rate—plus some case studies that puts it all in context. In other words, it’s pretty damn thorough. To pique your interest, these are some of their thought-provoking findings:
- 43.8% of online conferences get no revenue from sponsors or exhibitors.
- Only 15.2% of organisers don’t charge for attendance.
- Just over half of respondents said their virtual conference attendance was lower than for a comparable face-to-face event.
Fairmont are dancing like no-one’s watching
Safe to say, everyone has developed their own methods of coping with stir-craziness during lockdown—but staff at 2 closed Canadian Fairmont hotels have found a particularly creative outlet.
In a series of humorous videos, staff members dance and sing their way through the empty halls of the hotels, practising ‘The Art of Waiting’ until they can reopen for guests. From a tap-dancing bellhop (above, for your amusement) to an opera-singing chef, you can check out all the videos here. We might have to give this a go in our warehouse…