Navigating Through a Pandemic: The Economic and Social Shifts

Two narratives dominate global attention in our current climate. On one side, the coronavirus advances relentlessly. On the other, event cancellations trigger a domino effect, halting thousands of significant events worldwide. Organizers must prioritize safety, leading to a cultural and economic standstill. These event cancellations, while often overshadowed by health concerns, signal deep economic and social shifts. They affect livelihoods, industries, and society’s fabric as we navigate the pandemic’s multifaceted consequences.

The Ripple Effect of Cancellations

Prominent tech events like the Mobile World Congress have come to a standstill. This has captured media attention worldwide. Specifically, the tech industry has faced over USD 1 billion in losses. More broadly, the events industry has suffered a substantial USD 16.5 billion loss due to the pandemic.

Consider the Mobile World Congress. It was cancelled with a fair amount of notice. As a result, exhibitors and attendees were forced to cancel their plans. They had invested heavily in marketing, stand designs, and business meetings. Now, all that preparation and investment have gone to waste.

Challenges for Event Organizers and Exhibitors

I recently had a conversation with a major US-based tech company. They are seriously considering cancelling their flagship annual event. This event typically hosts over 10,000 attendees and features hundreds of live and on-demand presentations, panel discussions, and networking sessions. With the virus spreading rapidly, they are faced with a difficult decision. If they choose to cancel, they will lose all the time and money invested in developing content, organizing speakers and exhibitors, and promoting the event to potential attendees.

From the perspective of an exhibitor, the situation is equally dire. A business partner of mine experienced deep disappointment when ITB Berlin was cancelled at the last minute. They had invested months in planning their stand, creating marketing materials, booking travel for their staff, and most importantly, arranging invaluable business meetings with potential clients and partners. Now, they are left grappling with the loss of all those opportunities.

Embracing Plan A or B with Virtual Events

In the face of such unpredictability, organizers and exhibitors need a robust Plan B. Virtual events have emerged as a resilient alternative. They are impervious to the global crises that would cancel a physical event. The advantages of hosting a virtual event from the outset are clear. Since exhibitors, speakers, and attendees can participate from wherever they prefer, be it their office or home, virtual events eliminate the need for travel. This not only saves on travel costs but also reduces the need for physical marketing materials, venue fees, security, catering, and other associated costs.

Virtual Events: A Realistic Alternative

The current situation requires many professionals to work from home and discourages travel, which makes the benefits of virtual events even more significant. The tech company I mentioned earlier is opting for a virtual event instead of their traditional physical event this year. They are utilizing a VR-enabled Virtual Event Platform from AVIANET, which allows them to make good use of the content and assets they’ve already invested in. This platform brings together would-be attendees and stakeholders from around the world in a realistic virtual environment. There, they can engage in one-on-one meetings, exchange business cards, attend panel discussions and presentations, and even participate in interactive workshops.

Planning for Uncertainty

The trend towards virtual events is accelerating. More and more organizations are recognizing their benefits—not only in times of crisis but also as a cost-effective and time-saving alternative to physical events. While you can’t predict uncertainty, you can certainly plan for it.

If you’re ready to embrace the future of events and are considering a virtual alternative, now is the time to act. Get in touch to explore how you can transform challenges into opportunities and ensure that the show goes on, regardless of the circumstances.