Latest News: COVID-19 and the events industry (06 May)
Is it even hump day. . .
if every day in lockdown feels like hump day?
We’ll let you mull that over while we start this briefing…Today we have: news of large expos resuming in China; the need to distinguish events from ‘mass gatherings’; why virtual events are a wake-up call for our industry; a how-to guide for tough decision-making; how to hop between Marriott’s most scenic hotels from home; and a welcome alternative to sourdough, ‘cause we’re never ones to follow the crowd.
Differentiate events from ‘mass gatherings’
First up for today, a lesson in why word choice will matter as the UK considers post-lockdown regulations. According to Conference News, The Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP) will advise the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) to differentiate business events from ‘mass gatherings’.
You’ve probably heard that term a lot since March, as it’s become the go-to descriptor for any congregation of the public. The BVEP’s concern is that ‘mass gatherings’ is too ambiguous and shouldn’t apply to organised events, which can respond systematically to public health requirements in a way that unorganised gatherings can’t (for example, by tracking, tracing, and vetting delegates).
With a large portion of the public still concerned about the risks surrounding COVID-19, this distinction is an important one. Without it, the events industry may not be able to begin its recovery after lockdown ends. And, since our industry is worth £70 billion to the UK annually and supports 700,000 jobs, the cost of this ambiguity would be very high.
Expos resume in China with strict health checks
Terminology aside, if we want to look ahead to how the UK events industry will recover, we should be keeping an eye on China, where life is slowly starting to return to normal.
The 2020 Hunan Auto Show took place between 30 April and 5 May at the Hunan International Convention & Exhibition Centre in the southern city of Changsha; the first major large-scale exhibition to resume in China, providing a beacon of hope for event profs worldwide.
The safety regulations surrounding the trade-show may give an indication of what the future holds for our own events in the UK. To qualify for entry, attendees had to submit an ID card, supply a personal health declaration via an app to gain an access code, and undergo a strict health and identity check before arriving at the venue. Staff, volunteers, and exhibitors also underwent stringent checks, and all participants in the trade-show were required to wear masks and were urged to wash their hands frequently.
A sign of things to come…as predicted in our recent blog ‘Events in a COVID World’. Essential reading for event profs everywhere.
Is virtual a wake-up call for the events industry?
“Nothing beats face to face” has always been the mantra of the events industry…Until 2020, that is. As COVID-19 swept across the globe and shut down our industry in a matter of weeks, virtual events took over—whether we liked it or not.
But, as many event profs eagerly await the return of live events, Event Manager Blog is encouraging us to reflect on all the ways in which this virtual-only interlude may change our industry for good. With businesses across the world now relying on online events out of necessity, virtual is likely to become the new benchmark for determining whether a live event needs to happen. Once these businesses have experienced the cost-savings, wider reach, and tangible analytics that virtual events produce, they may find it hard to justify in-person gatherings. That means event profs will have to work harder, and be more creative, in order to persuade them.
The bottom line is, event hosts will be analysing live events with a fresh set of eyes, scrutinising every choice and every cost. Sure, that’s a scary thought…but it’s exciting, too. Change is coming, our industry will reinvent itself—and it’s our job to embrace it.
How to make big decisions in difficult times
We’ve talked a lot about mental health in these briefings, offering up everything from at-home wellness tips to practise during lockdown to a dedicated support line for event profs. Well, now we’ve got some advice to get you through the working day, too.
Stress is like kryptonite to good decision-making, often leading to reactionary thinking and oversimplification. And, since we’re all feeling stress in abundance right now, Smart Meetings is helping us out. They pointed us towards a TED Talk by Cheryl Einhorn, the creator of the AREA Method; a four-step decision-making system for solving complex problems in difficult circumstances. In the talk, she explores how groups can tackle problems in a way that gives proper consideration to the right factors, while minimising friction between team members. In other words, it’s a how-to guide for not-letting-stress-get-the-better-of-you.
This is sure to resonate with event planners during these trying times—so if you’re feeling overwhelmed and have some important decisions ahead, give it a watch.
Hop between your fav hotels. . .from home
If you’re a sun-chasing frequent-flyer with a cancelled summer holiday on the horizon, we reckon you could use a pick-me-up. Well, Marriott thought so too. They’ve blessed us all by sharing 29 high-res images of their most photogenic resorts around the world on their website, for you to use as backgrounds in video conferences. You can choose from vibrant cityscapes, snowy mountains, and sandy beaches…
We’d say it’s as good as the real thing…but we won’t patronise you like that. Regardless, you should download a few and have a laugh anyway.
Please, no more sourdough
Lastly, a very important public service announcement…please stop posting photos of sourdough on Instagram. (Seriously, why is everyone baking sourdough in lockdown?).
Never ones to follow the crowd, we reckon it’s time to mix it up a bit. Why not make a flatbread instead?
Go on, we dare you.
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