The Road to Live Event Recovery
Undoubtedly, one of the most affected corporate fields in 2020 was live trade show events. And, unfortunately, the industry continues to experience the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, with billions of dollars’ worth of revenue lost in canceled and postponed events–and these ramifications will likely continue for years to come.
The Anaheim Convention Center reported an estimated $900 million in economic losses for the first and second quarters of 2021 and 187 events were canceled at McCormick Place in Chicago, which amounted to billions in lost revenue.
Both the ACC and McCormick Place have established themselves as large vaccination centers to support their communities moving out from under the threat of the virus, but COVID-19 remains an ever-present threat.
However, despite supplementing face-to-face events and interactions with Zoom parties and other virtual gatherings, many people are asking when live and in-person events will return. Most experts say: they won’t. At least not in the ways you think they will.
Virutal events became an absolute necessity after the first stay-at-home order of 2020, and CEO of vFairs, Muhammad Younas–as covered in Exhibit News–answered that call.
His vFair platform offers a variety of interactive virtual events for college graduations, virtual open days, alumni networking events, guest lecture series, stage performances, team-building exercises, virtual job fairs, and more. They supplement these events with virtual yearbooks, trivia challenges, scavenger hunts, customized virtual campus settings, 3D modeling, virtual avatars of students and participants, and other activities.
vFairs promises a safe and entertaining virtual experience to supplement the face-to-face events that COVID-19 has made nearly impossible. They’re not the only company leaning into live streaming and virtual meetings–there has been a global shift towards virtual gatherings, and the shift likely won’t go away with the conclusion of the pandemic.
Experts predict that virtual events won’t be going away any time soon, and they’ll play an integral part in hybrid events designed to bridge the gap between pandemic and post-pandemic gatherings.
These hybrid events will consist of a small number of people–likely those who are in the same social distancing pod–with most attendees logging on remotely. These hybrid events will also have a large amount of COVID-19 safety precautions. They’ll ensure that businesses aren’t forcing employees back to work too soon and will accommodate for potential event cancellations due to the virus’ unpredictability as we get further into 2021.
Live streaming and virtual events aren’t just lauded for their safety measures– entertainers and event organizers alike have recognized the power of livestreaming. By creating accessible events they’re allowing people who would have otherwise been unable to attend the event to participate, and people from across the globe can log on.
Virtual events are unlikely to replace in-person gatherings completely, but their power has been recognized and having a global audience has proved invaluable.
While state governments and local event centers like the Anaheim Events Center and McCormick Place have been working to vaccinate their communities and relieve their virus threat level, experts don’t see live events coming back anytime soon.
They’re predicting attendance for face-to-face events will exceed 2019 attendance in late 2022, and hybrid events will soar in popularity as event organizers and other hosts realize the power of live streaming and other virtual events. Undoubtedly, as we move towards a COVID-19 safe world, hybrid events will allow us to ease into face-to-face events with relative safety and allow events to be more accessible for people around the globe.