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The Future of

Live Events

Most of the content from this article has been sourced from this report.

It’s good news for those itching to get back to events in person, you’re not alone. C&IT’s Global Agency Outlook recently undertook a survey which showed that the majority of event planners expect large-scale events to return in the third or fourth quarter of 2021. Results showed that just over 30% of respondents picked Q3 2021 as the period that they expected live events to get back to business while 29% said that they thought Q4 is when we can get shows back on the road. Q2 2021 was a little less popular answer with 16% and Q1 2022 was chosen by 12% of the respondents. With just 4% of people thinking that large-scale events would not return until beyond the second half of 22% we are encouraged that many in the industry share our optimism that events will be back as soon as possible and better than ever. 

The return of business travel

Business travel plays a key part in the large-scale events planning and execution. With many event planners opting to host their event in locations that require travel both domestically and internationally it is important that business travel returns as promptly as possible. Predictions for the return of international business travel were slightly more positive, with more than 26% of respondents believing it could return to something like normal by Q2 2021. The second and third most popular answers were Q3 and Q4 of 2021.

Event capacity

The main question we receive with many enquiries is ‘how many people can we host an event for going forward?’ and like many at this stage we are unsure and continue to be guided by national governments. The survey posed this question and it brought a vast array of responses such as: these were very likely informed by different national government rulings on the matter. Several event planners, based in Thailand, UK, India, and the USA said they could see events for 5,000 people happening again. Some responses were more cautious and stayed under 100.

Words of encouragement

We all need some words of encouragement from time to time and those of you who took part in our survey had plenty to offer. There was much talk of a comeback in 2021, a more resilient industry as a result of everything that’s happened this year and the hunger for live, face- to-face events that can’t be replicated online. Here’s what some had to say: 

“I have great faith in the industry bouncing back and re-inventing itself in the same way it has done over the last 30 years through various confidence hits it has taken in economic and other terms.”

“People do not want to live virtual lives. Travel and face-to-face events will rebound, just make sure you’re there when it happens.”

“The appetite of UK event-goers to return to live events has been proven to be high. Take a look at what happened after the first lockdown: There was little hesitation to attend pubs, restaurants and other smaller organised events.”

Our outlook

It’s no secret that 2020 was a difficult year for the events industry. We are an industry that relies heavily on face to face experiences and while social distancing is a necessary precaution it takes away from engagement live events provide. We are happy that both ourselves and the industry has remained resilient working with hybrid and virtual events to keep attendees and staff safe.

Digital and hybrid events have come to the forefront over the last 10 months at a rate no one could have predicted; we believe these will now always have a place within the events industry. Whether they are standalone or virtual events paired with live events. For example, it is likely that most events will continue to be accessible online either during the event or available on demand. 

But we stand by our values that face to face events allow people to connect to one another and enjoy real, human experiences which is why they will return sooner rather than later. It is these experiences that connect you to your colleagues and allow you to bring together ideas and work collaboratively that will drive your business’ forward. We’re not ready to give up the advantages that live events provide and as soon as the time is right we have put all the necessary procedures in place to resume face to face events again!

Want to read more of the report? You can download the full version below which explores the growth of digital and hybrid events as well as upping the standard of digital events until live events return…

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