The Coronavirus’ impact on the events industry demonstrates the importance of an online-only solution
The economical impact of Coronavirus (Covid-19) is growing day by day, particularly hitting the events industry. It is calling into question the sustainability of live events, and the importance of online-only solutions.
To date, big events like Mobile World Congress and events by Facebook and Google have been cancelled. Big brands are pulling out of other events, like SXSW - with an online petition currently circulating (with 42,000 signatures so far) to cancel the event. Many event organizers are not insured for such situations. Although, this is ever-evolving and now that the disease is classed as ‘notifiable’, some insurers may cover it.
The Coronavirus’ impact is yet to play out and many large organizations have banned global travel for their employees until the situation stabilizes. Because of this, events are more threatened, with low (or no) attendance by delegates and exhibitors. There are also the long-term impacts on revenue to be considered. Apple, for example, has announced a negative impact on this quarter’s revenues. Eventbrite has reviewed its 2020 forecasts in light of the virus. There are knock-on impacts in the travel, hotel and restaurant industry.
All of this may cause large exhibitors and sponsors to scale back their plans for 2020. Event organizers will have to plan for this, as well as mitigating the current impact of Coronavirus.
Some haven’t needed to cancel
But some event organizers haven’t had to fully cancel their events. Workday and Salesforce have avoided the worst financial and reputational impact of cancelled events because they had a digital solution prepared. By running some of their sessions online, they could still engage their audience, get their message across.
Because of this, their attendees can still learn and share within the community and the organizations can announce news. Speakers can share their expertise. Exhibitors and sponsors still get exposure. Delegates can learn and network. It’s the next best thing to being there, and is infinitely better than a cancellation.
Are online-only events the future?
This is something Zapnito has believed in and supported for a while. By leveraging digital spaces in lieu of offline events, we can fly less and be prepared for black swan events like the Coronavirus. Plus, online events don’t have to be a lacklustre version of the real thing.
Take, for instance, our new video panels. They are designed for up to 15 people to take part in a panel discussion seamlessly, no additional software required, and can then be published directly to the network, or within a specific room. We are also able to embed webinar tools like TwentyThree for live streaming of sessions. These are real, viable alternatives to a live event.
Supporting and enriching live events
Our customers like the OECD, Energy from Waste and Mining Beacon use their online networks to support their live events. This allows them to deliver the expertise of their speakers and sponsors across the world, to attendees who couldn’t physically travel to on-site sessions. It also generates greater awareness, reach and engagement around the live event.
Meanwhile, 3DMedNet use their network to inform the content of their events. The team uses interactive features to gather input from attendees beforehand, to feed into sessions. Plus, pre-event opportunities to network enhance the connections made at the event - breaking the ice before people gather at the venue.
The next step for events organizers, or any organization for which events are part of their marketing strategy, is to create an online-only alternative. A space for knowledge sharing and networking that is as good - if not better - than a live event. A 365 digital offering that supports, enriches, and protects it from the unpredictable.
There is no way of telling if, or when, global crises will occur (or where). But if the Coronavirus outbreak has taught the industry anything, it’s that event organizers must have viable alternatives to live events in case the worst does occur. It’s an insurance policy that will pay off, notifiable disease or not.