The events industry is one of the sectors that has been affected the most worldwide due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. The industry is adapting and tackling the situation differently in different countries. But how has the UK events industry changed since COVID 19?

When the pandemic hit the UK, the events industry saw a rather disappointing change in consumer behaviour and its business model. Due to the pandemic, the UK events industry had to bring some changes to the business model and make use of different software to facilitate both virtual and hybrid events.

The UK events industry had to go through drastic changes to keep up with the challenging times of the pandemic. So, let’s take a look at what these changes are that is allowing the industry to keep afloat.

How was the UK Events Industry Affected by COVID-19?

The pandemic has devastated the UK Events Industry. Most world events were either postponed or cancelled. Hence, the UK events industry has taken one of the biggest blows due to COVID-19.

International events such as the 2020 Summer Olympics and the Wimbledon Championships were cancelled and postponed. The Grand National, a highly anticipated event in the horse racing community was cancelled due to the pandemic as well. Other local events such as the MK Bike Show have also been postponed.

So many event cancellations at such short notice with little to no hope of resuming during the pandemic affected the livelihoods of people involved in the industry. But the UK events industry is resilient and quickly found ways to adapt to the new world.

Although sports events like the UEFA Euro 2020 were postponed, local league matches continued while maintaining strict protective measures. Matches took place in empty stadiums and were aired with “fake crowd” cheers on sports channels.

Like this, the UK Events Industry had to get creative and change to meet up the many challenges of the pandemic.

How Has the UK Events Industry Changed Since COVID-19?

Due to the pandemic, the UK events industry had to completely change its business model to meet the changing consumer behaviours. Moreover, the industry had to incorporate cutting edge technology to adapt to the sudden changes brought on by COVID-19. Here is an in-depth description of how the industry changed after COVID-19:

  1. Change in Business Models

Due to COVID-19 limitations, the events industry had to shift its traditional business model to the virtual world. Although virtual conferences were nothing new, the pandemic was the catalyst that pushed the UK industry to the virtual world.

Although customers do not get the in-person satisfaction of going to venues, virtual events present a passable alternative to the traditional one. Virtual events such as webinars and virtual concerts are taking over.

Now, event organizers have to facilitate remote customer participation, digital marketing for virtual events and deal with bandwidth hiccups. They are leaning towards developing subscription-based virtual events. Even then the customers have to spend a fraction of the cost to experience the event.

Since the entrance of the events industry is still quite new in the virtual world, there is a lot of space for new cutting edge technology. For now, the events industry has a changing business model.

2. Change in Consumer Behaviour

With an increasing number of COVID-19 infected individuals, consumers are extremely cautious about outdoor activities like attending physical events. Research conducted by Reed Exhibitions backs this up.

The “COVID-19 Customer Need and Mind-set Barometer” survey of Reed Exhibitions presents that the pandemic is rapidly changing consumer behaviour. It found that since lockdowns began about 84% of consumers tried their hand at new digital services.

Due to the pandemic consumers are less eager to see real life traditional events. In September 2020 the percentage of consumers willing to participate in online events instead of in-person events is 94%. Again 59% of consumers or visitors are willing to attend online trade shows.

Many exhibitors worry that visitors will not engage in digital activities. Although 43% of exhibitors believe that they can successfully meet the objectives of the event online. Moreover, the notion that visitors will not engage in digital activities during online events is not based on any substantial data.

Although virtual events have gained traction due to the pandemic, in-person events have not lost their charm. As soon as COVID-19 limitations are lifted, people will go back to traditional events. But consumers are now open to the idea of attending virtual events along with in-person ones.

  • Making Use of Software for Virtual Events

Zoom

Zoom has been the go-to software for virtual meetings in 2020. But recently it launched a software “On Zoom” that specifically facilitates virtual events and event market places. Apart from Zoom, there are some other software that are being used for arranging virtual events.

Hopin

An event management software platform that is taking up the internet by storm is Hopin. It is a UK based company that calls itself a virtual venue. Hopin features virtual rooms that connect and engages its users.  

Sofar Sound

Gaining popularity during the pandemic, Sofar Sound is not new in the virtual world. Since 2009, it has been turning quaint cafes, warm living rooms and other such spaces into mini-concerts. When the lockdown was imposed, Sofar Sound shifted their business online by offering listeners to join virtual live concerts of independent musicians.

Reattendance

Another great option for virtual events, specifically for entirely-virtual crowds. Business events and personal events are included however they’re mostly known for their virtual conference services.

Events Managed

For larger events, hybrid, virtual or in-person we can help. Whether business or pleasure, we can help you to weigh up all of the options, choose the most effective for your requirements and also set up, manage and pack down from your event. Explore this new and exciting event management style with our experienced team, contact us today!

4. Hybrid Events

While many event management companies are shifting online, it does not solve the problem the industry is facing as a whole. From physical venues, managers to waiters who were part of the event industry have lost their jobs.

Moreover, virtual events are a temporary alternative. It cannot make-up for the wholesome experience presented by in-person events. Hence, the event industry has to shift to a more conclusive business model.

Hybrid events that incorporate elements of both live and virtual events may become the norm. It facilitates both in-person and virtual attendees. That is, there will be a limited number of attendees visiting the live event, whilst the majority of attendees will enjoy it virtually.

Hybrid events allow event managers to facilitate live events in venues with limited in-person visitors while also maintaining an online show. Thus, such events can take place while maintaining the social distancing rules set by the government.

How Will the UK Events Industry Look Like Post COVID-19?

The image of the post-COVID-19 world is still unclear. But we can make some conjectures from observing the present. Here are my two cents on how the UK events industry will look like post-COVID-19,

  • High Standards of Hygiene

Consumers will expect high standards of hygiene from event venues. Not only the venues but also planners, employees and suppliers will also be under scrutiny. Events Managed can help you to find reliable and high quality venues using our free venue sourcing

Hence, the events industry will emphasize maintaining top-notch hygiene levels even after COVID-19 ends.

  • Increasing Popularity of Hybrid Events

Hybrid events will not end with the pandemic because it offers the best of both worlds. Consumers who don’t want to travel hundreds of miles to attend an event will opt for attending its virtual counterpart.

It may not have been as popular in the pre-covid days. But, being in quarantine has definitely allowed people to ease up to the idea.

  • Going Contactless

The pandemic was a catalyst that pushed the events industry to go contactless. And even after the COVID situation is tamer its effects on the people will remain. The culture of heightened concern of being sick is going to stay for a long while and may even be passed down to newer generations who were born and raised during this difficult time.

So, there is no other way for the event industry but to maintain high standards of hygiene. For this event managers will provide contactless registrations, menus and brochures. Event companies will create apps that will help them provide contactless services and so on. 

Conclusion

So, how has the UK events industry changed since COVID? By a lot. When facing any challenge, resilience is key. To put up with the problems brought on by COVID-19, the UK events industry is being just that. With resilience, the UK events industry is exploring new business models and working its best to stay relevant.

Every moment of our time is spent perfecting our craft and this is no exception. The Events Managed team have plenty of experience with hybrid and virtual events. We’re also constantly working on new ways to make sure future events are Covid-proof. To find out more, contact us today!

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