Beating the barriers: executing events in turbulent times
With the UK’s entrance into step 4 of the government’s roadmap delayed until at least 19 July 2021, managing director of event production specialists Eclipse, Robin Purslow discusses the execution of events amidst a time of turbulence and transition across the events industry.
“Uncertainty”, “exceptional” and “unprecedented” times. All words that have come to the forefront throughout the course of the pandemic, and now almost 18 months later, words that many will very much welcome being purged from their everyday conversations.
While such words remain pertinent and very much still apply, to every situation there is solution, and despite last week’s setback on the UK’s full reopening the event industry’s unbounded agility, versatility and creativity will be central to its recovery over the course of the next six months and more.
With event cancellations and postponements and their consequential impact upon the industry well-documented throughout the pandemic, news of a delay to the UK’s full reopening has expectedly been unwelcome. However, as a global industry complemented by inbound and outbound travel, the uncertainty not just within the UK but across every continent and country will serve as a direct correlation to booker confidence, event capabilities and ultimately event bookings, and therefore this isn’t simply a short-term challenge.
As international delegates remain restricted to travel, subject to restrictions enforced by their respective governments, delegate numbers cannot be expected to return soon and is already a trend we are seeing with our enquiries from event managers and planners both in the short and longer-term. While this may be the case, and as many venues experience the same situation, to facilitate bookings and support with essential revenue generation the following options can be proposed to ensure your venue is equipped to do business, better.
Whether it’s an award ceremony, annual conference or otherwise, cancellations and postponements can be hard to avoid under the current circumstances, however there’s still opportunity to put forward alternative solutions that can generate crucial revenue.
Understanding and empathising with event bookers is now more important than ever, and putting forward interim proposals and opportunities will be key to maintain valuable connections as well as returning business opportunities in the future.
Where we’ve witnessed week-long events delayed until further notice, at the same time we’ve also found great value and gratitude from clients where we’ve been able to propose contingencies and complementary alternatives such as stand-in, shorter events.
While celebrating and connecting face-to-face holds its own value, many have welcomed packaged events whereby virtual offerings can be integrated into existing event plans, with many opting to hold these interim virtual events as their larger, more physical event plans remain on hold.
Video and Hub Conferencing
Virtual events are nothing new, particularly as we’ve all adapted to Zoom, Microsoft Teams and more over the last 14 months. Virtual capabilities have however evolved ten-fold during the pandemic and now present an array of opportunities to overcome international barriers all whilst ensuring optimal engagement.
Utilising our own virtual event studio or those we have located across venues around the world, advancements in technology now allow users in a wide range of locations to deliver events without actually having to be in the same location, whether that’s speakers, sponsors, facilitators, or delegates. The format enables presenters and speakers to deliver from any site and is often utilised when delegates are unable or willing to travel, as it eliminates the need to employ just one dedicated event venue.
Combine these capabilities with our immersive augmented reality environments and events truly need no limits. In fact, delegate engagement and consequential commercial opportunities have been seen to increase in this format, with many venues now equipping themselves with our on-site virtual and hybrid studios to capitalise on rising demand for this offering.
We are all acutely aware of the impact COVID-19 has had upon venues, event planners, managers, and all those that make such significant contributions across the entire supply chain to make our £70bn industry one of the UK’s most valuable.
While we continue to overcome these barriers and develop innovative solutions to keep business moving, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team of event production experts for support on moving forward and to discover how Eclipse can assist your event through this turbulent period.