The event organization structure is going through a seismic shift as the industry is changing in front of our eyes. On the one hand, the shift is due to the ever-changing technology which is advancing even more rapidly and, on the other hand, due to the current COVID-19 outbreak situation that is giving everybody around the globe a hard time.
Face-to-face interaction is as limited as possible and is becoming progressively coveted while companies are forced to rapid digital transformation. Since more and more employees are strongly advised to work from home, workloads need to be migrated to cloud to ensure business can function properly. The alternative temporary solution to face-to-face meetings and gaining accelerate popularity are the video conferencing services, which ensure effective communication and the well-being of the employees.
Other parts of the technology industry that are currently in great demand are the streaming, gaming and video content platforms. Not to mention the telecommunication industry, which is critical to today’s society, making it all possible. Adults and children equally need entertaining. Children need to continue their education and be kept occupied while their parents are working. Adults need a replacement for leisure activities like going to theatres, parks, concerts etc. that are currently unavailables.
Coming back to the event business, the DNA of events is changing as organizers are currently focusing on moving their activity online, where possible (e.g.: virtual team buildings, webinars, virtual exhibitions). Physical events have been cancelled or, best case, postponed indefinitely. Even so, when the event organizers will resume their activity the main focus will be keeping their clients safe and constantly reassuring them that all measures have been taken for the events to take place in the best and safest conditions. For instance, steps like installing hand sanitizer stations in some essential places of the event space will lessen the concern.
Here are a couple of measures we believe will become more and more practicable once we’ll be out of danger and the physical events will take their natural course.
- AVOIDING CROWD DENSITIES: designing the event in such a way that minimizes congestion (both within arrival and departure areas and time intervals), avoids intense traffic and overpopulated public transportation, and where possible implement options for virtual (or partly virtual) participation.
- ENCOURAGING TO SELF-PROTECTION MEASURES: stressing the importance of effective personal hygiene practices and protection gear among staff and attendees. This could be communicated via media messaging before the event and during the breaks, signage throughout the venue, staff awareness and informing the participants upon arrival.
- Increasing the regularity of cleaning the contact surfaces within the event space
- Wiping more diligently elevator buttons, door handles and knobs, handrails, light switches, electrical sockets and other commonly used surfaces
- Making available anti-bacterial substances all around the event space
- Making hand-washing more accessible and if required, even consider installing temporary hand wash stations for staff and attendees
Conclusions / Future trends: Technology usage
With companies having to rethink the way they do events for their employees and perhaps with reduced budgets for some of them, the trends might lean toward smaller corporate gatherings and groups of people or toward options for partly virtual participation / hybrid events. A new computing platform is emerging based on Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, drones, Blockchain Technology.
As for us, we have developed a back-up strategy that includes an elaborated plan for the events organized in the first 3-4 months after the restrictions will be lifted, that is the months between June and September. We are targeting indoor vs. outdoor events, small size vs. big size events and client activations.
Our recommendation for the next 3 months is that events be organized by departments, with a maximum of 150 participants if an indoor event is required.
We will take advantage of the warm season to encourage customers to opt for outdoor events that allow minimal social distancing.
We will avoid encouraging activations that have the potential of keeping the participants crammed in one place, such as photo booths; we will avoid concerts or any form of entertainment that concentrates the entire audience of an event in the same perimeter.
Although the world as we know it has stopped for the moment, we are still designing unique events structures and engaging, creative activities, so that we can come back even stronger, more creative, faster and better.