What we know about the Covid-19 crisis is that we don’t know much.
As the worst crisis ever to hit the event industry is wreaking havoc with damage that it will take years to contain, there are lingering questions that will shape the future of events.
We’ll explore some.
Europe and the United States are facing a resurgence in cases — one that is pushing many governments and states to re-introduce containment measures. It feels like we are quickly moving back to square one.
The confidence that was slowly building back local event ecosystems is quickly being replaced by uncertainty.
We were hoping for October or November to deliver something that resembles a plan of attack for 2021. If you compute all the feedback, research, and comments we have collected over the past few months, the reality is that no one has the answers to all of them.
We will strive over the next few months to keep you posted when answers materialize; in the meanwhile, here are a few questions that will shape the future of events:
1. Will virtual events deliver enough revenue to make up for the loss of in-person events?
2. Will virtual events manage to connect people attending online?
3. Is rapid testing a reliable solution to go back to live events more quickly?
4. How long will the stigma of ‘superspreader events’ affect the live event industry?
5. When will business and corporate audiences feel comfortable attending events in-person?
6. Will hybrid events be the future, or should planners invest only in in-person business?
7. How can planners create barriers to entry for virtual events?
8. What will attendees want once they go back to live events?
9. How will businesses protect themselves against contagion related lawsuits?
10. How far will attendees travel to attend events?
11. How long will it take to go back to the industry’s level of business in January 2020?
12. Should demand bounce back aggressively, how will a decimated industry cope with it?
13. Will a vaccine work, and how long before the perception of safety is restored?
14. Are virtual events just a bubble waiting to burst?
15. Is the increase in reach and attendance of virtual events just the effect of working from home?
16. Will the current generation of event professionals be able to adapt to the new landscape?
17. What will be the role of industry associations going forward?
18. How will planners deal with the demand for hybrid events and the technological challenges associated with it?
19. What will happen to existential challenges such as sustainability and inclusion?
20. How will the industry attract talent and entrepreneurship after such a dramatic year?