In July 2020, 20% of event planners and 35% of suppliers expected a 51-7% decrease in revenue for the next year. However, many online events took place in 2020 and in-person and hybrid events have been successful recently. So, what is the future actually like for the corporate events industry?
The following article hopes to shed some light on where the corporate events industry seems to be going, into the final quarter of 2021, for corporate event planners.
Insuring Corporate Events
In August, the government announced an event cancellation insurance scheme, which began at the start of this month. This is partly due to the amount of music festivals that did not go ahead over summer due to being unable to obtain such insurance. The scheme has been endorsed by such organisations as the Events Industry Alliance and the Meetings Industry Association.
However, the scheme has been criticised. For instance, the Association of Independent Festivals has pointed out the scheme’s failure to cover events that need to reduce capacity or cancel as they would be uneconomical if social distancing regulations had to be applied again.
Right now, it’s up to the government to improve on insurance and other schemes so that the events industry as a whole can fully recover.
Health and Safety Measures
In 2021, it is expected for requests for proposals (RFPs) when sourcing venues to include Q&As related to COVID-safety measures. If you’re a corporate event organiser, your planning strategy must question your venue about their sanitation, disaster recovery and outbreak response, how their staff has been newly trained to adhere to social distancing and hygienic food preparation, etc.
Event organisers have always had to ensure that risk assessments have been carried out. However, 2021 has seen how different event organisers are splitting off from each other in terms of which safety measures different event planners see as necessary. A GBTA Study found that 83% of companies require their events’ attendees to wear masks. 73% say they’d be interested in attendees providing health information. This might be, for instance, whether they’ve had a negative COVID test result. Will you require your attendees to wear masks or show a negative COVID test result at your next event? How will this alter the perception of your company, compared to those that don’t have such requirements?
We expect to see some conflict within the events industry, before it settles on a more standard health and safety planning method.
This step of corporate event planning links to the above point about insurance. This is because event planners need to ensure that their events are held in a responsible manner. They cannot allow avoidable COVID outbreaks to happen from their own oversights at their event. Of course, the health and safety of attendees should be the first priority anyway. However, we see the event industry increasing their anxiety and preparedness around it so that they cannot be held liable for any outbreaks.
How will health and safety measures affect event budgets in 2021?
On the one hand, social distancing measures are affecting how event spaces have to be altered. Smaller meetings, where they take place in-person, have to be in larger halls, so all attendees can be at a safe distance if necessary, especially vulnerable attendees. This might result in event spending being larger than it would typically be. Larger facilities are needed even with fewer attendees.
On the other hand, one safety measure is mobile application technology. While having its own costs attached to it, it may also increase revenue for event planning teams in 2021 and beyond. For instance, a mobile application used to allow contactless check-ins and meal preferences for guests, may also be an all-in-one offering that allows audiences to record loyalty points, etc., for the events they attend. This is a good chance for event organisers to obtain incremental additions to revenue. Additionally, it can be used long after an event has taken place.
We’ll be releasing a blog post all about the future of event budgets, so keep our social media notifications on or subscribe to our mailing list to be notified when this post is uploaded.
Virtual and Hybrid Events
In terms of other event technology, we’ve discussed at length how hybrid events are the future of the corporate events industry. Are they in fact the future, or will the events industry move away from them soon?
Compared to before the pandemic, the percentage of respondents feeling that in-person meetings are “somewhat/much more effective” than virtual meetings has dropped from 96% to 76%. So, while in-person events are still preferred, the degree to which this is the case has reduced. People are now more satisfied with virtual events. This could work out to be quite convenient for the events industry. Event professionals do not have to suddenly produce the budget required to host in-person events again and book venues, refreshments, etc.: they still have time to rely on online events for now, or hybrid events with quite small in-person components, if they prefer. You can also rely on online events with the reason being that you would prefer to avoid making your attendees cause pollution with their travel.
However, this normalisation of event technology might cause grievances in smaller companies. For instance, the main things holding companies back from holding online events are complexities in networking with virtual audiences, planning and executing such events, a lack of technologies and technical support, and how expensive hybrid events can be.
These are all things that bigger companies might find easier to adapt to. For instance, bigger companies can afford seamless technologies for engaging with their audiences, including live chat features, attendance, tracking, lead tracking, and mobile apps. These help online attendees to connect with the exhibitors/speakers as well as in-person attendees, and even exchange contact information to gain valuable connections, heightening the value of the event. Does this mean that the events industry will become even more competitive, with the bigger companies adapting more easily with more expensive and seamless technologies while the smaller companies get left behind?
We hope to prevent this from being the case – CPD Online aims to partner with organisations and offer premium event streaming services, including interactive Twitter live-scrolling features, for a tailored fixed price so that there are no surprise charges. To receive a livestreaming service for a pre-discussed budget that works for you, contact us here.
We believe that what we’ll start to see in corporate events in 2021 and beyond, is that the bigger companies will continue to host great hybrid events so that they can display environmental friendliness and not have to worry about a lack of insurance for cancellation costs. There may be widespread anxiety about smaller companies getting left behind in this respect, but as long as they also adapt to new event technology such as interactive livestreams, they will continue to survive and even thrive.