Covid-19 has forced many industries to adapt and change the way they do business in order to survive the economic turmoil that is happening across the entire world.  The events industry is one of the hardest hit with their inability to hold in-person events, such as Corporate and B2B events, Social Events and Weddings. Many of these events bring in business to the UK as well as contributing to the hospitality industry across the board.  Events are a natural choice for companies large and small, to market their services and products, and for many industries to stay up to date with the latest trends and research. They serve many purposes and are an integral part of the way many organisations do business.  

    Many companies have looked towards online platforms, including Dynamic Thought’s Co-founder and CEO Jessica Hartley, who specialises in business events. Through this pandemic, the industry has had to “turn on its head” and pivot to a virtual format in order to continue reaching and engaging their audiences. This includes all types of business events – from conferences to trade shows and large expos; they have all had to adopt a new virtual business model quickly. 

    I asked how events have changed during the national lockdown and social distancing implications. Virtual events have increased, as people are extremely wary of attending in-person events and with lockdown rules many in-person events are not able to take place, leading to a lack of international delegates. Yet with the sudden popularity of video call apps such as Zoom, virtual events have found their ground, encouraging audiences around the world, without any travel expense, all from the joy of their own home.

    In a brighter future, without a disease looming above us, events may be able to return. Yet Jess believes companies will use more “hybrid models” which has a growing “virtual on-demand element as well as an in-person event", in order to welcome and connect to everyone. However, networking is key in business and “you cannot underestimate the power of face-to-face communication”. Events are a great way to bring communities together to share and support each other. Whilst virtual events allow audiences to interact, many will be keen to get back to in-person formats as this is their preferred way of doing business.

    Although with the pandemic not easing up, there is no “clear plan on how we will return to in-person events”, leading to several job cuts and unemployment increasing. Much like theatres and other in-person events, the events industry as a whole “cannot survive if we continue without a timeline on when events can be reintroduced” and we will lose a lot of talented and creative professionals. 

    Therefore, in order to stay afloat during these difficult times, Jessica has advice for companies: update online and digital skills as virtual events are growing and “here to stay”.