• Selina Arnall

2020 - So No One Told You Life Was Gonna Be This Way!

Your job’s a joke, your broke, your love life’s DOA. It's like you're always stuck in second gear. When it hasn't been your day, your week, your month, or even your year...

2020 a year we will remember for a lifetime for so many reasons!

After a cracking start to 2020, everything was fabulous until we got to mid-March then it all went downhill, with events being among businesses the most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and with little clarity about when live events will come back, especially being located in Melbourne there is even less clarity to when we will be creating again it all kind of went down the crapper pretty quick...

But fear not, for stood down event creators just like myself the outlook for live in-person events remains strong, as reported by #spicenews this week 67% of Australian event planners are expecting to host the same number and more events post-COVID, and I for one know that I can't wait to be out and about bringing physical events to life again, the more the merrier I say!

This is encouraging feedback that the appetite to hold live face-to-face events is still strong and this is merely just a period of downtime for the industry, perhaps for some a much needed time of rest and recovery?

Penny Lion, executive GM of events #TourismAustralia states that the research conducted not only highlights the challenges facing the industry at the moment but also suggests optimism for the return of live events in the medium to longer-term, demonstrating that face-to-face events are still seen as very valuable, which is great news for the industry.

This makes the next three months crucial for the event industry to start advocating for safe(r) ways to have meetings happening again, conducting short lead events in which COVID-safe event practices are demonstrated will help the Australian events industry rebuild and start to instill confidence in hosting events more widely.

Hybrid events becoming a part of our ‘new normal’

There is no question that the safest way to host meetings and events at this present time is virtually, and it is safe to say that virtual events will not be going anywhere for the foreseeable future this mass communication platform has allowed event organisers the opportunity to reach a greater and wider audience than in-person events, they are cheaper and more efficient practice for producing meetings and events BUT this mass exercise has created one of many new phrases that have entered our vocabulary as a result of COVID-19 and life in lockdown, that being #zoomfatigue

Ah yes ‘zoom fatigue’ the mental exhaustion we are all feeling from the delights of online video conferencing! ‘You're on mute’ ‘Your frozen again’ ‘Can you hear me’ ‘Camera’s on everybody’ if you haven’t heard at least one of those in the last five months then I need a tutorial from you.

Zoom burnout is real, and this en mass exercise in online events has also brought to the forefront that we so desperately need and miss live events, virtual interactions don’t quite cut the mustard and cannot replace our much-loved trade shows, conventions, incentives, conferences and more.

Hybrid events that mix live and virtual audiences will be the norm for 2021, and by the end of next year, we may start to see events with little to no virtual component. The hybrid dynamic allows the production of live events where there are in-person limitations, such as number restrictions, and sq meterage per person allowances, as the limits are slowly but surely lifted we can expect to see the balance shift to live events.

What an exciting thought!

Thoughts on Christmas parties this year? Will we be partying virtually with our colleagues or are we best off holding back on the celebrations until we can have drunk fun in front of our bosses and peers again?

There are many challenges facing the industry right now, with clearly some barriers that even with our creative thinking caps on we cannot cross but the outlook is positive there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that in-person events will be more relevant and more needed than ever in our ‘new normal’.


Credit: Business Events Australia