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How the Pandemic changed the events industry

It’s been a hard 15 months. The pandemic has made all our lives more difficult, lonelier, and changed the way we think about the way the world works.

And no sector was challenged more than events – which has faced tough questions about how it can continue to operate in the age of COVID.

But in challenge comes invention – events have begun to respond, and the creation of new experiences has brought new ideas to the sector, giving organisers a richer menu of options going forward.

Below we outline the new elements COVID has added to the events industry that might just stick around.

Virtual options

Nothing will beat in-person events for the adrenalin-filled immediate sensation. But what if you can’t get into the event you want? It used to be that if the venue was full, you couldn’t get live access.

But the pandemic forced organisers to create events at a distance, accessible only via the internet. Technology infrastructure providers had to quickly step up to offer better streaming quality, and software companies improved virtual experience products at speed.

The result? Virtual events that were more responsive, that considered a different audience and tried to find new ways to boost engagement and emotional reactions to things just happening on a screen. These elements will continue going forward, as event organisers now have the opportunity to open their event experience to a wider group – those who attend and those who can’t but want to experience it in real-time. This could widen the participation in events, and boost income for organisers, reducing their risk.

More than this, the use of digital tech could enhance in-person events, with votes, special streamed video to give those in a crowd a tease of what’s coming next, creating lighting effects from a crowd’s phone are all possible after the surge in investment in digital event technology. This could see a boost to the in-person experience in a way that was unimaginable just two years ago.

Tracking

The need to track attendees has added a huge administrative burden to events, but this could be offset by the opportunity this gives to organisers, if they can leverage the information they gather.

This information, if gathered in the right way, could be used for advertising and other marketing activity, to help organisers to promote their future events.

More personal, larger events

The first large events to launch after the first lockdown separated visitors into households, like the measures used in the hospitality sector. This model could be used to create special VIP experiences at live events that allow organisers to boost incomes with personalised packages for visitors.

People love live events

Perhaps the biggest effect on the events industry from the pandemic is going to be the reaction when COVID is managed, and events can operate without restrictions. The last year and a half have focussed an entire generation on the importance of live events – how it makes them feel, the memories they share with friends, or the boost to their wellbeing from seeing a remarkable performance.

This means that when things open, there will be a huge demand for live events, a demand that will be maintained as millions of people look to make up for lost time.

Conclusion

There’s little doubt the last 14 months have been horrendous for the events industry and massive damage has been caused to the companies that make up the UK industry and the individuals who make their living from it.

But pent-up demand means the industry, over the next year and a half, is going to come roaring back, and create the most vibrant period in the field of live events since before the Pandemic.

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