It should come as no surprise to learn that the conference and meeting industry has been dramatically affected by the disruptive events associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the onset of the Coronavirus epidemic, hundreds of events have been cancelled and waking up to the news of postponements seems to have become the new normal.
In the unusual time that we are living in at the moment, conference and event organisers are having to reconsider their options as well as balancing two very important things:
- The health and safety of employees and attendees
- Meeting financial obligations by minimising losses
The COVID-19 epidemic is a grave situation we are facing on a global scale, but let us not underestimate the value of events in all of this. After all, conferences and events are spaces where fruitful professional relationships can be forged, and where high-level debates take place that can truly change the world. Online conferences are a great way to bring professionals from all walks of life together, and connect them with each other in a more direct way which can strengthen loyalty and create some real benefits for all.
So, for the events industry, and for all of us really, the best way for us to get through this unusual situation is to quickly adapt to it. If you do have a meeting or conference scheduled in in the next few weeks and are wondering whether it can still go ahead, you have four options:
- Cancel it. In some case’s the only way to cope with disruption is to cancel the meeting. Many large gatherings that were due to take place this year have already been cancelled as organisers could see no way of guaranteeing the safety of attendees. If you do decide to cancel your event or meeting, then you should work hard to ensure that the negative aspects of doing so are mitigated as far as possible through a clear and professional communication strategy
- Postpone it. Another option is to postpone your event to later in the year in the hope that things will be back to “normal” by then, but this may be difficult to do. You need agreement from all of your attendees, suppliers, and venue managers. It is also hard to predict how this situation is going to pan out as well and so relevance may become an issue
- Move it online. Over the past few weeks, we have seen many conferences and meetings being redesigned and taken online, as this meeting format is probably the best alternative in these challenging times. Virtual events allow everybody to attend as there are no travel restrictions within your own home, and they also allow for the speedy delivery of all of the essential information. In reality, online meetings can reach a wider audience than more traditional live events
Despite the uncertain events that surround us at the moment, there is no reason to think that live events and meetings will cease to exist. However, we think that online meetings will become even more significant in the future and the current challenges we are facing are likely to accelerate a switch towards more virtual or even hybrid event formats. Here at Meeting Rooms we are working hard to provide you with everything you need for phenomenal meetings.