Changes which could be permanent
We can safely state that COVID-19 will have undoubtedly rattled the daily habits of many of us. While some companies believe that once the crisis is over, all will go back to normal, others have understood that this simply isn’t the case. It will be necessary to find smart and concrete solutions that will help us adapt to our post-crisis reality. With this being said, we also shouldn’t underestimate the psychological and economical impacts caused by such a radical societal transformation.
Companies will have to revisit their business models, goals and operations, in terms of their human resources but also in the way they lead their operations.
Postponed events, cancellations and lay-offs
Knowing how to adapt to this new reality means understanding how this crisis will have changed our respective industry and preparing for different scenarios. Furthermore, it also means rapidly accepting that some competitors may use this new reality to reposition themselves. Those that will use this strategy will be one step ahead of others and in certain sectors, this change may play a role in the survival of these companies.
Today, we now know how much the event industry has been impacted by this pandemic. In the Quebec province, we have stopped counting the number of sports and cultural events that have been cancelled or postponed. To add to this, the number of layoffs are also greatly fluctuating. In an article from the journal Les Affaires, published on the 21st of April, it is said that the sector of information, culture and entertainment has been extremely impacted, with a loss of 26’000 jobs. The article also emphasized the gravity of the situation for freelance workers who heavily rely on governmental programs as their safety net.
Furthermore, the situation is also dire for event promoters, especially smaller businesses, who have been given government instructions not to resume activity before August 31st. Even then, event venues will not be permitted to run at full capacity, in order to respect hygiene regulations. Faced with this reality, some venues, such as the Cabaret du Lion d’Or, believe they will have to close permanently. Even larger performance venues, who in usual circumstances must fill their venue to a capacity of 70% to break-even, aren’t seeing the future through a positive eye. With social distancing regulations in place, it seems as though many venues will face difficulty balancing their budgets. In the meantime, international measures differ, with Germany considering worst case scenarios and predicting they may have to close concert halls for 18 months.
So, how do we adapt ourselves?
When we analyse the situation through a wider lens, we can note that this pandemic could modify the entirety of the events ecosystem. In an attempt to rethink the practices of this industry, solutions are beginning to appear. For instance, some regional events are considering reducing the sizes of their events, in favor of more events spread throughout more cities. Furthermore, we are already witnessing the growth of new strategies which aim to incorporate technology in event management. Virtual events will most likely co-exist with physical events, wherein some in-person exhibitions could be organized in tandem with virtual conferences.
Nonetheless, technology does pose limitations: 2.0 events wouldn’t be able to financially sustain caterers and hotel services.
Another question remark remains: will the public be willing to pay for virtual events? Indeed, La Presse announced a few days back that artists will soon be performing virtually with the help of a new app developed by Louis Morisette, the lead producer of the Group KO. [TRANSLATED QUOTE] “The application Yoop helps people connect in a virtual room, a show room, a conference room and a television studio.” Alternatively, Just For Laughs will be using the technology pointdevente.com to organize the first numerical French comedy festival at the end of May. However, let’s not forget that virtual events won’t be able to fully replace the energy transmitted by audiences during a live concert or congress. As Louis Morisette mentioned, virtual shows and events remain a parallel model.
In the context of corporate events, technology has long been incorporated into webinars and business meetings. It’s no surprise that many companies have already turned to virtual solutions as a response to event cancellations. However, it’s important to remember that online solutions do require expert resources. Even though, logistically speaking, the organisation of a virtual event verses a physical conference differs in many ways, both require a lot of work and preparation. This is especially true if you wish to present your participants with a quality event and a unique experience. Unique numerical experiences also heavily require event organizers to make use of their creativity.
The event industry will have to leave behind their strategies and rethink a new mode of operation. OPC Events is now offering its services in virtual event management and is ready to help you tackle our newly modified event ecosystem. Are you looking for an accompanied experience that is out of the ordinary? Contact us now to know more!
- Cédric Stanghellini, 28th March 2020. Coronavirus : confinement, attention au stress post-traumatique. LCI
- Zacharie Goudreault, 7th April 2020. Événements annulés: des répercussions économiques majeures à Montréal. Métro Montréal
- Olivier Schmouker, 21st April 2020. COVID-19: quels sont les travailleurs les plus touchés?. Les Affaires
- Sylvain Larocque, 18th March 2020. Des mises à pied par milliers. Journal de Montréal
- Caroline Montpetit, 15th April 2020. L’été incertain des spectacles en salle. Le Devoir
- Émilie Côté, 21st April 2020. Le public est-il prêt à payer pour le virtuel?. La Presse
- Justin Bariso. Bill Gates says the Coronavirus Will Change Life Forever. Here’s How to Adapt