A few thoughts on the future of events
Earlier this morning, I spoke to Julius Solaris of Skift's Event Manager Blog at part of his conference's "pre-show." Here are a few of the takeaways, in case you’re curious. And if you tuned in, thank you! 🙏
🚫🍷 Virtual events are decreasing alcohol consumption, which is high in live events, is a good thing because it allows networking to be more deliberate and professional. Less belligerent attendees and planners focused on connecting attendees meaningfully is a good thing.
🚫🥩 Moving events online allows you to reappropriate F&B expenses, the biggest part of event budgets, toward production (which is key for virtual events) and programming (eg speakers).
🚫🦠 Live events are possible and happening, when size is limited and covid testing is provided.
🎭 The pandemic is forcing the events industry to go through a “dress rehearsal” of virtual events — their proliferation was inevitable. This will make them better in the long run. The incremental progress they would have made over the next decade is happening in one year.
📈 Here is the order of operations for the return of hospitality, travel, and events: (1) Domestic leisure travel, (2) social events (SMERF), (3) business travel as corporates re-start that engine, (4) small corporate events (MICE), and (5) larger corporate events by late 2021 and early 2022.
👰🤵 Social planners, who were sort of looked down upon, will be more successful during this time than corporate planners because those events will come back first.
🏨 Limited and select service hotels are the winners. That’s the hotel segment that was under construction and they are the ones that will recover the fastest due to increased domestic travel, especially in smaller and unknown markets as Americans hit the road due to cabin fever.
🧹🧼 Speaking of hotels, they are actually saving costs. They laid off staff they didn’t need and they’re spending less on housekeeping due to minimizing social interactions (eg cleaning rooms once per stay (only after check out)).
💰 Live events may get more expensive due to the demand of talent (eg DJs and vendors) and the costs of safety/security. That will drive free, illegal, and virtual events up. The best ones in these segments will be the future events we attend.
💥 The governing bodies of our industry have been asleep at the wheel and will get disrupted.
⚖️ Our industry has “haves” and “have nots” — laborforce (blue collar) and planners (white collar). We need retraining programs and government help for the former because those are not the ones re-skilling on their own for the most part.
📲 Apple’s App Clips in #iOS14, which allows you to use features within apps instantly, will change event apps. Imagine walking to an event and seeing the site map immediately with downloading the app!
🌈 The need for belonging, which humans get through live events post-covid will be greater than ever. Community events, comprised of tight-knit interest groups around shared affinities will increase.