08 Feb When will events be back?
When will events be back?
Wind the clock back a year. It’s the 8 February 2020 and the very first news of Covid-19 had just started to reach the UK. Not long afterwards (at the end of February to be precise) we received a call to postpone a 2 week roadshow in March. We were to be promoting a well-know brand to events agencies and conference/travel agents. serving artisan coffee at their offices while our customer networked and built closer relationships with their clients.
I still remember the shock of that first phone call when the reality of the situation started to dawn on us, but we quickly composed ourselves feeling confident that we could be back serving coffee in the summer.
Yet here we are now a year later, following a roller coaster of events, still wondering the same thing. Will we be back this summer? The straight answer is that we are still no clearer on an answer to that question.
So how have things changed in our world? Well there’s a skill that we’re certainly pleased to say we have – it’s called adaptability. Without it we’d be like zombies, lacking life and money.
With lockdown 1 we started up a local coffee delivery service, offering the community their morning caffeine fix. In June we sort of went back to work with a few bit on location. TV sets, adverts, that kind of thing. It was feeling positive, we introduced new Covid measures, confidence grew and we were enjoying it. Then, bam! Lockdown 2 and another round of cancellations on the work front. Christmas soon followed and yet a few more events were cancelled (we never expected these to be cancelled back in February 2020). Now here we are in Lockdown 3 where the journey out seems to be a much more tightly controlled process- one that we are expecting to take longer than the previous lockdown releases.
The end of events as we know them?
The question that everyone in the events industry is asking is “when will events come back?” And in the back of our minds we are really asking whether another strain of Coronavirus or some other pandemic will come along and repeat the story. When you look at it with an honest viewpoint, we have to accept that this could be the end of events as we once knew them.
For us, events as we know them include exhausting days serving thousands of coffees, sourcing car loads of milk and working 12 hour days only to have to then prepare for the next. day. But it also includes. fun, camaraderie, healthy interaction, entertaining customers and giving bl**dy good customer service in order to earn a smile along with a few bucks. How satisfying!
When I talk about adaptability, we have been extremely fortunate to be kept busy with other work, but for the events companies and businesses that rely on earning their only living from events, I can only imagine the difficulties they have faced.
Focussing on the positives though, and what I have witnessed is impressive ingenuity from entrepreneurs – the introduction of virtual events in place of physical events, new services being launched and initiatives that have taken a lot of hard work, of which I applaud. Marketers have been pioneers at changing the way people can gain knowledge. If this can’t be done by bringing people together physically, it has been done by bringing people together virtually. It’s still early days, but the number of virtual events being held is rising rapidly. And new technology has also emerged to help. Canapii’s free event management platform gives event managers and businesses the ability to run virtual events for free, really helping them to take that leap into the unknown and test the waters with virtual events.
Canapii feels that the future will be a mixture of physical and virtual events and I have to say I agree. So where does that leave the event suppliers? Well for. us, we’re perhaps venturing into different markets – supporting businesses with a physical touch not at their event, but post event as a reward for success. We’re definitely noticing an increase in coffee van hire for staff recognition and ‘thank you’ treats. Where the audience can be contained, there’s still a place for great experiences.
Whatever the future, we feel it’s bright, and we know that once again events will be used to engage, enthrall and educate – regardless of what form they take.