27 Apr 4 Ways Event Industry is Gearing up For the COVID-19 Pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic is one of the biggest challenges that the world has faced in recent times.
But beyond impacting millions of people around the world, it has become a massive blow to almost all industries as well, crippling economies and setting the stage for a crisis that will have ramifications for many years to come.
One of the industries that were hit the hardest was the events world. Unsurprisingly, quarantine and self-isolation, not to mention widespread fear, has almost completely paralysed all public activity, so some of the biggest and most significant events that were supposed to be happening right now have all been cancelled or postponed.
However, even though the current situation is grim, people in the events world are already looking forward to the challenge of tackling the present situation headfirst.
Recessions have come and go, and just as every single time before, the events world will bounce back from COVID-19 stronger and more resilient than ever.
But what are some of the ways that you can survive these turbulent times and set your business up for success in the future?
Let’s explore a few of the main considerations below.
Prepare for a Buyer’s Market
When the economy is booming, an event agency usually doesn’t have a lack of prospective customers who’d like to work together. In fact, in some cases, you may even have the luxury of dictating your own terms, raising prices, or adding qualifications for clients or projects that you take on.
With the aftermath of COVID-19, a lot of that is going to change.
With event management services providers struggling to recuperate and stay afloat, you’ll see a lot of companies struggling to close any new clients and offering bargain rates or options for their prospects.
But while it’s true that some of the premiums that you were charging might not be available anymore, there are ways how you can (at least partially) leverage the situation to your advantage as well.
Sure, you might have to take on smaller projects and work on tighter budgets, but that is just the new reality that you can expect for the foreseeable future.
However, the same situation also applies to all of the suppliers and vendors, who will be forced to slash prices as well. Use this as an opportunity to renegotiate rates, seek out great bargains, and build relationships that you can count on for a long time to come.
Because of the recession that is to come, be prepared to deal with the cutthroat competition you might not have faced before. Companies that were happy with their funnel will find themselves scrambling to make ends meet and will start pursuing clients from outside their typical pool.
However, those that are the most proactive usually end up with the best results, so you should focus on figuring out how you can reach the people who have the best chance of becoming good customers.
Use cold calling, cold email, retargeting ads, and referrals to get in the room with key decision-makers in your industry who are looking for the services that you provide, and you might be able to close deals on projects that you didn’t even know were available.
Revise Your Contracts
A lot of the devastation in the events industry came from the cancelled events as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. That’s especially true for event organisers, who often had contracts that had to be followed through on original terms even though the economic situation has changed completely
Today, many hotels, venue owners, and suppliers are still trying to fight for their right to be paid, and in some instances, they are succeeding. But, as you can imagine, the lack of understanding or empathy towards those that this is affecting will not earn any company a good reputation in the long run, and will probably make surviving in the industry almost impossible.
So, if you have previous agreements that you could push on even despite the circumstances, you should consider if that’s the best approach. While you may be tempted to boost your revenue, the behaviour won’t go unnoticed, and as an event agency, you can’t allow your reputation to suffer at a time like this.
Instead, work with the people you have agreements with and try to reach a compromise that both sides can be satisfied with. Whether you’re on the hook or you have someone on the hook, consider negotiating better terms, postponing the arrangement, or even canceling it altogether.
In the events industry, every service provider is connected, so use the process of revising contracts and renegotiating as an opportunity to strengthen relationships that will carry over to the upcoming years.
Use Virtual Components
Because there’s no precise timetable for when the COVID-19 pandemic will be fully under control, it’s also unclear when large-scale or even smaller events will be able to return to normal.
Venues packed with people are probably the worst possible environment when dealing with a pandemic, but that doesn’t mean that all events have to be canceled or postponed until the crisis is over.
In fact, you could end up achieving pretty good results if you’d only be willing to experiment with some of the available technological solutions.
Virtual event attendance has been on the rise for years now, and those event management services providers that can adapt the technology on a larger scale will be able to return to normal much faster.
Conferences, conventions, and even product launches can all still happen in the virtual realm – the software and technology are at a stage where thousands of people could watch and even participate in events simultaneously.
So, if you can arrange for speakers to prepare presentations from their homes, offer an interactive and engaging program, and set up your events in a way that delivers value to the audience that you’re targeting, you may find that the self-isolation and lack of activities might actually serve as a motivating factor that gets people booking your online events at a much higher rate than ever before.