Five Post-Pandemic Event Trends
It’s fantastic to see a huge and rapid return to live events at venues across the UK, but the longer-term impact on our working practices will inevitably result in permanent changes to the UK (and international) events industry.
Having set up his first event agency back in 1986, our CEO, Sam Gill has witnessed more change in the UK events industry than most, so we asked him for his view as to how the last two years might alter the industry as we step once more, into the world of live events.
Live is still best (for most…)
For those of us who were lucky enough to have attended last week’s dinner at Banqueting House as guests of Jimmy Garcia Catering, the event was a timely reminder of the value of networking and entertaining clients in a live environment.
Whilst I was not surprised to see the huge recent return in demand for summer and Christmas parties and social gatherings, it is also pleasing to see so many switching rapidly back to live for one day and residential conferences. This indicates that our clients also see the added value of communicating and networking in person.
Virtual has its place
The industry pivoted brilliantly in 2020 to deliver some amazing and engaging online communication, entertainment and team building events that kept teams loyal, engaged and motivated throughout the lockdowns.
The skills and the value of virtual to clients will not be suddenly ‘unlearnt’, as everyone gradually returns to their offices. I predict virtual events will continue to deliver value in conferences and team communication. Especially to those with national and international workforces.
Business and Incentive (don’t) Travel (please!).
I am hopeful that the pandemic has taught us that flying thousand miles for a few business meetings is a waste of time, money and, most importantly, wasteful of our planet’s limited remaining clean air.
The increased sustainability awareness will surely also lead to the demise of needless long-distance incentive travel; a part of our industry that I have been long been unhappy with; and no more so than now. I am delighted that Story has just joined isla to further our drive for lower footprint event delivery.
Early signs are that the new hybrid working practices will make Fridays (and most likely Mondays) less popular for live events. As many people decide, or are allowed to, work from home on these days. This will reduce the number of ‘prime dates’ available at all venues and make Thursdays the new ‘best night’ for social events and mid-week conferences more the norm.
This will have a long-lasting impact on corporate revenues for hotels and event venues, but it should also mean better value can be gained from those who are happy to stage events on these ‘off-peak’ days.
Sense in Sensibility
It’s hard to state this today, given the atrocities currently being committed in Ukraine. Yet, I do feel that the pandemic will deliver a long-lasting increased sensitivity to our workplaces and wider society.
Issues of sustainability, diversity and inclusion are coming to the fore. This must be reflected in the way we deliver events, regarding access, behaviour, service of alcohol, food waste and the many other aspects of delivering events more cautiously in our post-pandemic world.
And finally, please remember the one thing that has not (and will never change) in my 35 years of delivering events. However challenging the environment, there is no better place to thank, reward or motivate your teams and customers, or to launch a new product or service, than in a live event environment!