Adapting has undoubtedly been a key to survival on every front. It seems that now is the time to move from businesses adjusting their products and service delivery to meet demand during the lockdown, to adjusting strategy, thinking and approach for the longer term. This leads to questions of when annual events might be safely booked with questions around limitations imposed on mass gatherings, localised lockdowns, travel restrictions with associated quarantine requirements and concerns around the potential for a resurgence (aka the dreaded second spike).
The promise and perils of moving events online
Those who could, moved their events online but there were many compromises and disappointments that went with that experience. As confidence in online events was low and perceived value largely untested, some organisations waived their normal ticket prices in order to gain delegate numbers. Whilst this strategy can pay dividends in terms of growing the database, it can lead to less actual attendees (do they value what doesn't cost them?) and also sets an expectation (like with free memberships) that can devalue the event going forwards. As with all things, this decision and the implications have to be very carefully considered. For those that have taken this path, financially and reputationally the journey back may prove a little harder.
Early online events have often had a detrimental impact on exhibitors, many of whom found themselves sitting in an empty Zoom room for hours on end. Without exhibitors seeing ROI and pledging their ongoing support, many events will lack the funding to remain viable so what can be done?