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Coronavirus and the changing world of events management

By Kim Ludvigsen

Did you know that, according to many publications and reports, event management is one of the most stressful jobs in the world?

That’s right. Event management consistently ranks within the top 10 most stressful jobs each year, alongside the likes of enlisted military personnel, firefighters, pilots and police offers.

For event managers, there’s no shortage of things to do: finding a venue, hiring staff, getting equipment, organising travel, liaising with speakers, enlisting caterers – the list goes on.

And to make matters worse, each year brings with it new challenges and new trends. These are things that event managers have to address well in advance if their events are to be successful and memorable.

Recently, we conducted a survey of more than 100 event management professionals, asking them what they believe to be the main trends and challenges for event management in 2020.

One of the biggest trends we saw was rescheduling due to last-minute changes which, given the coronavirus outbreak, is reaching critical level for events managers.

Dealing with last-minute changes

There’s so much to do in the run up to an event – from finding a venue and drafting an itinerary to liaising with speakers and organising teams.

So, when there are last-minute changes to the schedule, the venue or the technology being used, this can turn what would have been a successful event into a scenario where the event manager is presented with some serious issues.

According to our survey, last-minute changes (43%) and short lead times (46%) are the two top challenges for event managers. However, there are ways to avoid these issues and/or mitigate them where necessary.


Use reliable suppliers

To avoid problems in the run up to and during the event (whether that’s not enough seats or no catering services), event managers should use reputable, efficient suppliers. They should have a shortlist of quality suppliers who can consistently deliver and always have another on standby should something go wrong. This ensures issues can be remedied as quickly as possible.

Leverage data and technology

Data is what will enable event managers to optimise events in the future. If there’s any kind of data on to set-up time, delays, issues and even attendee feedback, it can all be used to make the next event better. But the technology has to be in place.

Use technology to project the event

Immersion and engagement. That’s what event attendees want. So, it’s no surprise that more and more events are using projections to create incredible atmospheres.

Instead of the typical sit-down experience where speakers talk at the audience for hours at a time, events are increasingly interactive, digital and personalised.

Projection mapping is all about using technology to manipulate light onto different surfaces, turning standard objects into interactive, 3D displays. This helps event managers to reduce on-site technology (and therefore carbon emissions) but drastically improve the attendee experience.

Looking to the future

Knowing the trends that are defining the event management industry will enable event managers to utilise them and create experiences that resonate more with their audience(s).

However, it’s impossible to implement these changes immediately and at short notice. Event managers need to take a measured approach to how they organise their events.

Of the trends outlined in this report, there are a few which can be actioned in the short term to make events more enjoyable, immersive and accessible:

Find out more and download the survey here.

Kim Ludvigsen is CEO at Zurich-based event interpreting specialists, Interprefy