What are the impacts of COVID-19 on the events industry?
- Event postponements and cancellations
- Cost-cutting measures
- Potential job losses
- Transformation of convention centers
- Focus on online events
COVID-19 has definitely halted many economic activities short in their tracks. In the early stages of strict quarantine guidelines in the Philippines, people’s movements were limited and mass gatherings have been prohibited to minimize the spread of the virus. Keeping this in mind, the impacts of COVID-19 on the events industry alone are far too great. The industry is expected to even face more challenges when it comes to coping with social distancing and a lot of new things with the new normal.
When one visualizes the events industry, the image of people gathered in a large space cannot be shaken. But this short-sighted way of viewing the situation will eventually miss the point and purpose of why exhibitions are held and hosted in convention centers in the first place. Despite this, the safety and well-being of the public remains in the best interests of event organizers — but the industry certainly carries the brunt of these impacts.
Event Postponements and Cancellations
Many upcoming scheduled events were inevitably postponed or canceled because of the virus. Business events that may have already booked spaces with convention centers like the World Trade Center Metro Manila, undoubtedly face uncertainty with regard to this aspect.
As physical events continue to be canceled, there seem to be limited methods by which these spaces can generate revenue. The public who may have been long anticipating these events will likely be disappointed. Hosts of large-scale events would have to accommodate each and every person who has requested ticket refunds.
The lack of economic activity has also forced the events industry to conduct cost-cutting measures in their operations.
For example, businesses that rely on events like comic book shows or logistics shows would need to minimize their usual budget allocation for this kind of activity. They would also have to find alternative sources of income that are usually derived through convention shows.
Management of convention centers may also begin thinking of ways to reduce the costs of running their facilities.
Potential Job Losses
There is truth to the notion that small businesses are among the hardest hit by the pandemic. And behind these businesses are thousands of employees and individuals that have been forced into either underemployment or unemployment.
Companies would have to think of other means to still provide ample compensation for their staff who are primarily involved in marketing and event promotions. For physical structures like exhibition centers, in-house staff usually responsible for setting up equipment and other utilities may also be forced to find other means of earning.
Transformation of Convention Centers
Convention centers serve as one of the main drivers in the events industry. On a more positive note, these spaces can also be transformed to help ease the burden experienced by the healthcare sector.
Public and private groups in particular have collaborated in order to transform the World Trade Center Metro Manila into a COVID-19 facility for those affected by the virus. This is a great way of turning spacious halls into areas that can accommodate quarantine zones, isolation beds, and rooms for frontliners and other health workers.
The general public can also play their part in this endeavor. No donation can be deemed too insignificant for this cause every help counts, especially in a global pandemic. Private companies that have formed partnerships with convention centers are also able to do their part by redirecting funds to cover the purchase of personal protective equipment, extra bedding, and other types of expenses.
Focus On Online Events
On a more positive note, service providers of physical events can now begin redirecting their efforts towards online events. The use of digital platforms will continue to thrive as long as the pandemic persists. After all, it is expected to take a while before brick-and-mortar events can be conducted again with the right protocols and safety measures.
Online events need to focus on engaging the public through interactive techniques. The idea behind online events is that they should not serve as a replacement for typical face-to-face interactions that were conducted in the past. Instead, they should serve as a new platform that can help participants stay informed and be updated on relevant content.
Industries that have relied on exhibition centers to promote their products and services don’t need to lament the loss of an actual space to do these activities.
The impacts of COVID-19 on the events industry is something that cannot be underestimated. Many companies are dependent on events as part of their marketing strategies, in order to ultimately stimulate and increase revenue.
Despite all of these impacts, there are renewed methods for the events industry to continue staying afloat during the new normal. Brick-and-mortar structures may be a thing of the past, but creativity will continue to reign.