The Event Industry Is Changing Again…
I had a nice essay planned for this week’s edition of The Lookout. But as the news unfolded over the past days, I realized I couldn’t ignore the elephant in the room.
I might have seen it coming. Especially while walking through the scene playing out on the streets of Cologne last Thursday, as I made my way to the office. It was that day that, coincidentally, Germany reported over 50,000 new cases of Covid-19. The next day, the Netherlands announced it would go on partial lockdown.
Less than three months after things began a safe, and socially distanced restart, it suddenly appeared that much of Europe’s winter event season had been called into question.
Government restrictions in different forms are coming into effect. So far, the new restrictions announced have yet to specifically target large events, or demand cancellation. Despite the lockdown in the Netherlands (which was one of the first to return to large fairs and shows), exhibitions have continued there (exempt from the harshest restrictions) and many scheduled in the next weeks plan to go ahead. Elsewhere, some events this week saw smaller numbers, and upcoming events have quickly made changes to their programs to comply with guidelines, and others announce delays.
This time, the event industry is better prepared. Confidence comes from new hygiene concepts, government support, advanced technology and satellite locations to mitigate risk. But the industry’s confidence doesn’t mean much if it is not shared by sponsors, exhibitors and participants. Increasingly, exhibitors have begun to pull their attendance at upcoming events, and uncertainty from visitors is already visible. It is their support that the industry relies on. In some cases, this uncertainty has had a knock-on effect, with the first wave of events this week announcing cancellations. Others are following suit.
No one can predict what will happen next as the pandemic endures. But the last year has taught event organizers and producers that we can’t be complacent if we wish to continue to serve our clients and demonstrate our value. We must continue to adapt ahead of the rest when it comes to digitalization, as other industries have increasingly become accustomed to.
But most importantly, always, always, ensure there’s an alternative to cancellation. Even if there are insurances in place, there’s no bigger missed opportunity than a cancelled event.
PS: Why not consider a digital option? We’d love to show you how. Today is your last day to enter the PIRATEx event conception workshop raffle (950€ value)! Submit your name and company for a chance to win here! Get your entry in! Good Luck!
This week’s event industry news has been developing fast. Here’s what I’ve been catching up on this week:
Covid-19’s latest impacts on the Event Industry:
- Messewirtschaft: Politik darf nicht in Aktionismus verfallen [AUMA] Germany’s Exhibition Industry body calls on the government to consider the impact when issuing new Covid restrictions. More than two-thirds of Germany’s 380 trade fairs planned for 2021 have been cancelled or delayed.
- SachsenKrad and E-bike days Trade Fairs Cancelled [ORTEC Meese und Kongress] Dresden’s January fairs for motorcycles and e-bikes have been cancelled citing rising coronavirus concerns and potential delivery bottlenecks for exhibitors. Events in Dresden have been particularly hard hit, as the Semperoper announced a cancellation of a show this week due to coronavirus, and others call on the city’s exhibition halls to be reinstated as vaccination centers.
- Messewirtschaft in der Coronakrise: „Die Branche ist zutiefst erschüttert“ [Der Tagesspiegel] Comprehensive look at how Germany’s event industry is weathering the crisis, and cautiously plans the months ahead. The largest exhibition companies have earnestly begun expanding their international satellite locations outside of Europe, with strong growth in Asia, the Americas and the Middle East.
- Dresden möchte Covid-Impfzentrum in der Messe reaktivieren [Dresden.de] Dresden’s health authorities have asked to reinstate the use of the city’s exhibition center as a vaccination center, citing slow vaccination rates.
- Findet die SPS 2021 in Nürnberg als Präsenz-Messe statt? [Industrie] Top exhibitors Siemens, Weidmüller, Beckhoff and Pilz drop out of attending Nuremberg’s SPS 2021 fair scheduled to take place in person next week.
- ISPO Munich and OutDoor by ISPO permanently shift to new dates [ISPO] ISPO Munich, planned for an in-person event in January, announces a permanent shift in dates, effectively delaying their scheduled 2022 event ten months until November 2022. The organizers emphasize the changes were due to retail adjustments in ordering cycles, not coronavirus concerns, and highlight the digital offerings they provide their community continue to grow all year long.
- RAI Amsterdam to remain open despite new Dutch Government restrictions [Exhibition World] Trade shows and fairs remain open and exempt from new regulations in the Netherlands for indoor spaces with fixed seating.
- Corona-Krise: EU-Kommission genehmigt deutsche Beihilfen für Messe- und Kongressbranche [European Commission] A bright point as the European Commission approves the latest German aid scheme to support the trade fair and events industry. This new funding provision allocates 208 million euros to be distributed to owners and operators of trade fairs and service providers impacted by Covid in 2021.
- Hannover Messe 2022 Plans Focus on Digitalization and Sustainability [Automation] Next year’s upcoming Hannover Messe announce their focus on Digitalization and Sustainability. Earlier the event announced they would return permanently as a hybrid event.
- PLMA’s 2021 “World of Private Label” International Trade Show cancelled [Fresh Plaza] Citing new lockdowns in the Netherlands, December’s World of Private Label trade show announces its cancellation for 2021.
- Vorsorge statt Nachsorge – Registrierung für das neue Absicherungsinstrument für Messen und Ausstellungen startet heute [BMWi] Germany announces the opening of a new “security instrument” similar to insurance for trade fairs and exhibitions to protect upcoming events.
How to do it:
- Key learnings from pandemic-era show producers [Exhibition World] What does it take to endure and thrive during the pandemic? In this piece, the Society of Independent Show Organisers shares some insights from their work with UFI on the key areas organizers must focus on as hybrid productions move forward. One key learning? Marketing will be taking a new role– not just in promoting the event, but communicating its safety and appropriate guidelines to ensure attendee confidence.
- Loyalty Matters [Event Industry News] How to ensure your events and exhibitions proceed with low risks? Developing key relationships with the right suppliers and partners so you can diversity and pivot fast. Here are some takeaways from industry veterans Exhibit 3Sixty.
- B2B World Fest 2021 Replay: what now for business events? [The Drum] How should event organizers and clients proceed in an increasingly uncertain event climate? Television quality broadcast production is becoming a must-have for live events, as well as content that can be effectively recycled into marketing products. This may demand new types of hires in your team to enable pivoting to meet the market.
- Where is everyone? Global Skill Shortage in the Event Industry reaches unprecedented heights! [Linkedin] Jürgen Künkel, founder of Vantage Global Event Production writes about the impact 2020 and 2021 had on trained audiovisual and production professionals. He cites, 30-40% of event experts have left the industry, ensuring a slow recovery for live events and an increased risk for organizers. But, it’s not all negative. Here’s how organizers can begin to level up their teams to make the most of the current situation.
Don’t Miss it:
- Bizzabo Acquires Klik to Transform In-Person Events Into Immersive, Data Driven Experiences Eventtech platform Bizzabo announces their latest acquisition in an effort to further “revolutionize in-person experiences”.
- Physical tradeshows might be on shaky ground, but technology isn’t [Redshark] Journalist Simon Wyndham writes, “I have had more face to face meetings and discussions with relevant people at companies during Covid than before”. After months and months of cancelled shows, he has appreciated the greater accessibility of companies via video conferencing, rather than jostling for a sound bite during the bustle of a trade show floor.
- COP26 furniture to sit in car park tents ‘for months’; [BBC] Despite the alarming headline, a compelling story of how materials from COP26 event are being recycled– a great example for other event organizers and professionals
- 5 minutes with managing director of the UK’s fastest growing events and ‘human experience’ agency, Michael Gietzen from Identity [Make it Clear] An insider look at what it takes to build one of the world’s fastest-growing full-service events agencies. Identity has come up with a unique formula for their productions, where engagement and experience are at the heart. A compelling take on digital and mobile apps here.
That’s all for this week’s edition of The Lookout!
In the meantime, let’s stay connected if we’re not already on Linkedin or follow the PIRATEx team on Twitter. If there’s anything you would like to read about when it comes to online, or digital events, let me know! I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions.
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Until next Friday!
The Lookout Newsletter #50
PIRATEx Managing Director