What Happens to Events and Meetings after Covid19
Bangkok, April 2020 – After many years’ experience of working in the event industry, with over 15 years in Asia alone, we have seen the sector evolve and change. The industry has become more mature with several membership organisations, certifications and global players that now dominate the sector.
Unfortunately, with this versatility also comes fragility. We can all agree that the event industry is a passionate but fragile sector. Amidst political unrests, strikes, wars and even viruses such as Covid19 and SARS, the event industry is used to being hit hard and knows when it needs to take a knee or bow its head.
This sector is different when compared to other global markets. We have seen it all before and risk management has grown because of our need to evolve, adapt, and change. Complete standstills have happened numerous times before in Thailand. We have seen political unrest, airport closures and floods. Other Asian markets still managed to move forward while being faced by earthquakes and tsunamis.
When these things happen, tourism is hit hard. And the event industry is most likely the next that sector that gets swatted hard in the face before it comes to a complete or partial standstill.
Although we have faced continuous challenges across these industries, we have lived through the problems before and then returned to renew the business and continue to bring in new customers.
The past few years have seen different challenges amidst a weak economy that has created hard times for some companies in these industries, to the point where some struggle to survive. Companies with a large workforce significantly reduce their numbers over the years. Instead of healthy growth, the decline in budget and business has weakened and placed these businesses in survival mode.
Although tourism is growing in arrival numbers, most tourists now being promoted to are from other Asian countries. These groups or individuals come in large volumes and flood into countries. Such an influx can damage the environment and create massive plastic waste. They do not spend much money to boost the local economy and businesses. Most of them come in extensive group tours, visit specific restaurants and leave in lightning speed without spending on the frontline. This has a massive negative knock-on effect for the local business that serve the tourism industry.
Since 2008, all we have seen are constant problems that somehow negatively impacted the tourism and travel industry. And although we are used to dealing with that, this time it’s different!
COVID 19 caused a complete standstill for everyone, which has brought a time of awareness and rethinking the life and work we live. For some folks, Corona impacted negatively and brought fear for the great unknown, while others lost their jobs and fought for their existence. Governments came in and offered financial support, requesting people to fill in the application online. Unfortunately, people, who need it the most cannot afford the internet or cannot read or write. These group of people are sadly being left behind, while the people with a house, smartphone and with reading and writing skills receive extra final support.
Other people experience COVID19 positively. The situation empowers them with uplifted energy. They have embraced this moment to look at themselves and their businesses. They are considering how to make changes, rethink and reshape the way they do business. And when their business returns to the ‘abnormal’, nothing will be the same again.
Whether you travel, step into a department store, visit the convenience store, attend classes or events, in some way each aspect of our lives has been affected. For good? We are not sure! But we will have to live with the new ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’.
Events have been affected big time. Significant events, as you know, have come to a complete standstill leaving promoters behind with financial burdens and headaches of cancellation terms. In contrast, house concerts and intimate streaming, and in-house performances have flourished over the weeks, as we try to live through the pandemic.
Some small business owners were forced to close their businesses, and many more will come, leaving behind a devastating impact on the industry. Others have taken the opportunity to grow their business. COVID19 has forced us to step into a moment of self-reflection in regards to who we have been and who we want to become on both personal and professional levels.
At the same time conversations evolve on how we can move with our best foot forward beyond the outcome of Corona and when we can go back to doing the things we love. Nobody knows. We might just need to be flexible enough to deal with it and adapt in this time of change.
How do we have to deal with the new abnormal? And how do we deliver events or travel beyond this pandemic? The issue has raised lots of questions. No industry standard exists yet on the best practices on how to run future events.
Thinking about the tremendous unknown makes me excited. It fuels my energy levels to the top of the mountain. How can we, as a company, evolve in a better way to manage and run our events? We all need to upgrade our operating procedures, rethink our output and integrate new technologies to make efficient working without disruption from home or at the office. We need to implement new standards and ways of doing things.
Imagine tomorrow’s events where corporate companies offer virtual attendance during a live show for those who do not like to attend physically. Welcome temperature checking at the entrance before attending. See floor marks where to stand or move throughout the event. Welcome alcohol dispensers and hand washers or hygienic spray booths before walking in.
Discover new technologies to order your food to the table in a meal box. Buffets might have to implement separate spaces where less than ten people may wait to pick up food with alcohol dispensers to wash your hands before receiving the food. Embrace new layout and floor plans for social distancing while having tabletop conversations or speaking to people through technology-driven tools. Other thoughts might include reducing food waste and carbon footprints, and using eco-friendly recycled materials while leaving the use of plastic in the past.
Just mentioning a few ideas here, I am sure that many other valuable implementations will happen so we can attend events we love. Executing events in the new normal is a tremendous challenge for most organizers. We must adapt to our businesses. It will require hard work but it will be worth it in the long-run.
The big winners who come out of the COVID19 challenge are businesses who disrupt, who have a changing mindset and who see the importance that what was working before might not work now or in the future. The losers will be the businesses who will pick up the pieces once everything bounces back to discover that the processes they used do not work anymore. But then it might be too late.
We need to be innovative and make changes and adapt to the challenges that lay ahead. Unfortunately, most within these industries will overlook the problem, stand up and continue on as they did before, which will exasperate the problems even more.
These times are changing! The pandemic called COVID19 has changed the way we lived forever.
B-Concept Group and B-Concept MPA provide turn-key solutions that cover branding, channels, design, digital, entertainment, events, MICE, team building and productions.
B-Concept Media Entertainment Group is a Bangkok-based Full-Service Artist, Digital, Events & Media Company. The Company currently services consumer, fashion, hotels, lifestyle, tech and tourism businesses with digital marketing, entertainment, events & meetings and lifestyle solutions.
B-Concept distributes Fatboy lifestyle products in Thailand and operates different channels including Thailand Event Guide, Gay Asia Traveler – an LGBT Community – as well as EZY-Go, an attraction booking platform.
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B-Concept Media Entertainment Group Co., Ltd.
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