Latest News: COVID-19 and the events industry (24 June)
Look alive, kids.
It’s time for our weekly news round-up.
Today we’ve got: an insight from destination leaders on the changing landscape of the events industry; a beacon of hope for incentive event organisers, with submissions now open for SITE’s Crystal Awards; 14 safety features for post-lockdown events (if ‘unprecedented’ doesn’t take the cake for word of the year, ‘hygiene’ might); demystifying 23 virtual event buzzwords; 5 tips for nailing your virtual event production value; and a look at how tech will save the world…or, at least, the events industry.
The changing landscape of the events industry
Last week, destination leaders gathered online for the MeetGB Virtual Roundtable. The main item on the agenda? Discussing the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on business events. This conversation covered the initial shockwaves caused by the virus, how venues intend to reopen, and what the business events sector needs from the government to aid its recovery. In all honesty, we’re impressed they wrapped that up in a single day…they must have had A LOT of coffee…
But anyway, the main points. With travel restrictions still in place around the world, there will inevitably be fewer events coming to the UK from abroad in the short-term. And even when these restrictions ease and destination events can resume, many people may not want to get on a plane for a while. BUT, the group reckon increased business from the domestic events market could make up for this shortfall; the caveat being that local communities will have to be comfortable with large events for this to work.
The panel also discussed venue capacity and social distancing, with several venues expressing concerns that operating within the current 2m distancing policy would make opening so difficult that they wouldn’t break even financially, and would have to remain closed until 2021. Based on our own socially-distanced layouts for some of Scotland’s most popular venues, we’d have to agree that the outlook for 2m is pretty bleak.
However with the UK Government relaxing the 2m rule from July 4th, there may yet be a shard of light at the end of the 2020 event tunnel – our own projections for venue capacities at 1.5m and 1m are far more encouraging. We wait with clammy palms on the Scottish Government’s next move.
SITE Crystal Awards now open for submissions
Speaking of destination events—the 2020 SITE Crystal Awards, which recognise stand-out incentive event programs, are now open for submission. Companies that have offered incentive travel experiences between 1 April 2019 and 30 June 2020 are invited to submit their programs, showcasing how they’ve made the world of incentive travel a better place. Ellie MacPherson, chair of the Crystal Awards Committee, says we should be championing creativity now more than ever:
“The travel industry is undoubtedly one of the sectors most drastically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is also one of the most resilient. By recognising the brilliance of incentive industry professionals both in the good times as well as in the face of adversity, the SITE Crystal Awards offer a joyful, energising reminder of ‘Yes, We Can’.”
We wholeheartedly agree, Ellie! You can browse the list of awards categories here, and make sure to get those submissions in by the 14 August deadline.
14 safety features for post-lockdown events
Yes, we’ve talked about hygiene procedures in these briefings before. And yes, we’ll probably talk about them more in the future. That’s because the advice is changing every day—and it’s our responsibility as event profs to keep up with these developments and factor them into our planning.
Event Manager Blog has shared the most recent guidance, with 14 must-have safety features for post-lockdown events. Some of these are fairly standard (face masks, hand sanitiser, disinfectant wipes), but others you may not have thought of. Things like…
- Inflatable walls—Another creative way to enforce social distancing. Easy to set up, pack up, and wipe down after use.
- Safety pois—These are stickers based on the principle of stoplights. Green indicates a walking area, where delegates shouldn’t stop; yellow represents an area where delegates can pause briefly, to chat or browse stalls; and red means delegates should come to a complete stop, e.g. to check in at a registration desk.
- Separate AV equipment—There’s been plenty of talk about disinfecting equipment, but we should be talking about not sharing equipment as well. It’s a good idea to have all speakers equipped with different mics, for instance.
Read the full article here, then go wash your hands.
All about the lingo: 23 virtual event terms to learn
We love a bit of jargon busting, so we do. And the Event Leadership Institute has hit us up with a great explainer post on virtual event lingo. If you’ve found yourself scratching your head in an online meeting, you might find this article handy. A couple of the busted buzzwords are:
- API, aka Application Programming Interface—A computing interface that allows one service to communicate or interact with another service.
- Integration—Refers to the ability to share data between 2 different platforms.
- Engagement—There are many ways attendees can interact, or ‘engage’, with your content; including polls, surveys, live chats, and questions.
- On-demand—Planners often record a live keynote or session, and then make the recording available to watch anytime, i.e. ‘on-demand’.
Boosting your production value for virtual events
Once you can talk the talk, you need to walk the walk—and that means production value. Just because you’ve set up a webcam, doesn’t mean you’ll nail a virtual event. But don’t worry, because C&IT have shared their 5 straightforward production tips for improving the quality of your online meetings. This covers: setting, lighting, webcam quality, positioning, and sightline. Pay attention to all 5, and you’re sorted.
That said, if you’ve got a really important virtual gathering on the cards, the best tip for boosting your production value is to work with professionals. Have we mentioned Cameron Live lately?
Let’s talk about tech, baby
And lastly, because we’re all tech geeks at heart, we’re sharing a fantastic article by our friend Gilly Bain, Director of YOURgb Events and member of E.P.I.C. (Event Producer’s Independent Committee). And it’s not just because we love the title.
‘Let’s talk about tech, baby’ explores the impact of COVID-19 on events, but focusing on how tech is reshaping the industry. And, specifically, how it will continue do so as we move through each stage of emerging from this pandemic; from virtual events, to hybrid events, to socially-distanced live events, to…dare we say it…normal.
An insightful read, head over to Gilly’s LinkedIn page and check it out.
Let’s talk about tech, baby.
Let’s talk about. . .A & V?