The End of an Era: The Evolution of the Event Industry and the Lessons Learnt
The sudden cycle we had to go through pre and post-pandemic
The Covid pandemic revolutionized the world in a way we never thought was possible. At the start of it, many industries were struggling to keep their head above the water. Among the most affected - such as airlines, hotels, and leisure - the event industry was also one of the many industries forced to alter its way.
The shift from live events to virtual, hybrid, and then returning to live was tricky, but was proven to be possible after many trials and errors. So what exactly did we have to go through? What can we expect in the years to come? Are we back to where we last left off pre-pandemic? Let’s break it down into different phases.
Phase 0: The Normal
For years, we believed that the only form of profitable events are live events - for 48% of events in 2019, ticket sales compose 60 to 100% of revenue. The event industry went years operating under the same plans without much change: plan out an event, choose a venue, create a marketing strategy, make sure that everything runs smoothly, then repeat.
The system worked. The event industry kept generating profit, even saw the peak of $1,311.4 billion in revenue in 2019. But the industry had grown too comfortable with its ways, leaving not much room for innovation or improvement. It would have fallen stagnant if not for what comes next.
Phase 1: The sudden transition
At the start of 2020, the world had never thought to prepare for a global pandemic. Governments were scrambling to come up with regulations to contain it, but among this panic, it hurt a lot of industries— including events. We saw a halt in the activity: venues closed, crowds dissipated, and lockdowns were increasing.
This is where digital platforms have essentially become our life-saver. We were able to shift to virtual events by leveraging digitalization so a lot of people could still connect and meet albeit indirectly. However, it goes without saying that organizers and all stakeholders in the event industry had to work extra hard to change their ways from the usual onsite events to virtual ones in a short amount of time.
Phase 2: Surviving and thriving through virtual events
After the abrupt change and adaptation of Phase 1, organizers have started to make use of technology to come up with solutions for their events. With more time for thorough planning, organizers are entering an exciting time.
Here, they tend to come up with creative and innovative solutions for their events. A few great examples are virtual concerts and virtual tours where people can actively participate and engage from anywhere in the world.
Phase 3: The Rise of Hybrid
By this point, a lot of people had started getting vaccinated and restrictions were starting to loosen: live events are back on the picture though only limited for a number of attendees. However, with Covid-19 still on the rise, people are still rightfully wary of crowds.
This is where hybrid events became popular. In-person events are a great choice for those who are looking to make meaningful onsite connections, while virtual events are for those who are looking to get involved from the comfort of their homes. While digital platforms play an empowering part by acting as a bridge between both to maintain a sustainable connection and attain any information they need with ease.
Phase 4: The Safe Mode of Live Events
As advanced as technologies are, humans are fundamentally social beings who thrive in onsite meetings. Virtual events can only go so far, we are not made to read social cues or tones through simple texts and video conferences can get tiring. Organizers and attendees are ready to go back to live events–even, craving it.
Venues are starting to increase their attendance limit and people are more comfortable to go out with the wide distribution of the 3rd dose of vaccine. Live events have started to get back on the map along with digital platforms–still a crucial tool in this phase for extra engagement and increasing the value of events.
We are currently about to pass this phase into the next. So what are we expecting?
Phase 5: The Never-ending Evolution of Events
We are ready to fully dive back into full live events. However, the event industry is no longer what it was and it certainly will never go back: we discovered new ways to plan events, made use of technology to make events more accessible and engaging to more people, and learned the best analysis method for future events.
Rethinking our “Normal”
The previous phases have certainly given us lessons - both the easy and hard way - so what did we learn and what has changed our new “normal”? Does it mean we are back to phase 0? Let’s break it down.
- Digitalization is key
The pandemic has taught us to embrace digitalization, it has been a great help in keeping the industry afloat during the pandemic. So far, technology has been able to help in maintaining sustainable networking, help in business matchmaking, reach a bigger audience, keep the attendees engaged, and help collect the right data to assist organizers enhance their future events. And it has the potential to do so much more, so be more open to new innovations.
- Organizers’ skill are beyond just planning
Organizers’ role is not limited to just planning anymore. More doors have opened and organizers have more room to innovate and get creative in engaging with their audience. Organizers are also much more tech savvy and are more used to analyzing event data to enhance the experience for all.
- A different definition of success
A successful event now does not just mean how many people physically attend the event and engage with your activities. It is much more than that. An event that reached a wide audience and converted most of them into registered attendees is considered a successful event. So is an event that has many attendees visiting back their organizers’ website or has many clicks on the on-demand personalized content in the events’ digital platforms.
Our definitions of success and our metrics are not the same as it was before. But excitingly, the new system we have created is projected to generate revenue of $3,605.8 billion by 2027. Which means that the exploration in events will only lead to more profitable outcomes for the industry.
Moving Through Phases with DigitaLIVE
With digital platforms being an important key element throughout all the phases the event industry has gone through, it is no doubt that finding the right tech provider becomes crucial.
At Jublia, we strive to empower all kinds of live events with our robust solutions. With a decade of experience making sure everyone involved in the events makes the best out of it, let’s discuss the best solutions for yours. Drop a message to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow our LinkedIn to book your demo today!