Until a few months back, events and conferences played a very important role in the business world. Even as a standalone industry, it was rewarding for someone who was willing to go the extra mile and deliver value.
According to Allied Market Research, profit margins can be as high as 40 percent in the event business. Although the last recession hit the global event and training industry, it has bounced back strongly, with year-on-year growth, reaching a market size of $1100 billion in 2018 and estimated to reach $2330 billion by 2026.
However, all the momentum has been brought to a screeching halt by the COVID-19 pandemic. This time around, the impact is directly on people who are the foundation for the event industry. With increasing social distancing norms and policies against mass gatherings, thousands of events across the world had to be cancelled with no relief whatsoever.
In India alone, the sector accounts for the employment of 60 million people of which 10 million were directly affected due to the crisis. The Indian event and exhibition market itself is bound to experience an INR 1 lakh crore hit this quarter leading to a financial crisis as per a recent survey conducted by EEMA (Events and Entertainment Management Association).
Experts predict that there might not be a revival until the end of 2020. In fact, many events that were scheduled for the end of the year have already been moved to 2021. And many more have moved to hosting virtual conferences and webinars.
This novel situation has now forced individuals, companies and the industry as a whole to pause, step back, pivot, and make remarkable changes to avoid future disturbances. Many are now looking at ways to digitize their offerings and transition to virtual platforms.
However, there are many challenges to creating and hosting virtual events as follows:
Sub-standard internet connections lead to broken audio and video, poor content delivery and ultimately will result in attendees dropping off midway. We have seen this happening often over Zoom calls. It is essential that the host has a good internet connection.
Human brains are designed for identifying non-verbal gestures and establishing real social connections. All of this is missing in a virtual event where the host cannot give his undivided attention to one single person and customize engagement. (Read more about video fatigue here).
You can only do as much as the tool at hand. Organizing a virtual event may require more than just one tool or software. While buying expensive products is one thing, understanding them and deploying for a larger audience is cumbersome. (Technology deployment especially for first timers is a challenge).
Lack of Support
An event host has to do what he does best. Hosting the actual event. Worrying about the technology, promotions and feedback will only take away his/her time for things that matter most.
We at CLOwork understand the ebbs and flows through which many of our community hosts are sailing. We have been educating them on how to handle this situation better and ways to overcome a red bottom line.
If you are an event host and are looking at ways to revive your business, please fill in your details below.