This year is testing event planners more than ever before. With COVID-19 on its way to world domination, social distancing is being enforced on a global scale.
As people stay home, events are suffering, and event coordinators are feeling the pain. Event planners are trying to stay afloat during this pandemic, but it’s no easy task as the coronavirus is making an impact on the entire industry and all those involved. But there is hope – keep reading.
What is COVID-19’s impact on event professionals?
Event professionals are reacting in all different ways to the pandemic to meet their clients’ needs. All types of events are being postponed or canceled. Weddings, festivals, corporate getaways, and beyond are being postponed or canceled altogether – even these events!
“The Event industry has never seen anything like this before, where all the wheels are forced to stop turning completely,” said Jenna Phillips, a Director of Private Events in Chicago at 16 on Center. “It’s in the nature of a good planner to be prepared for anything, but this is a new momentous disruption.”
The recent pandemic is affecting more than just event professionals too. As Jenna said, “I’m afraid it is going to have ripple effects for a very long time. I’m devastated for my coworkers and friends who depend on our rooms, restaurants, and bars to support themselves and their families.”
ThymeBase published a report on the topic featuring interviews from event professionals nationwide. They shared their personal opinions on the pandemic, how they’re coping with event cancellations, and what they’re doing to keep busy.
2020’s event calendar is going online
However, not all events are canceled or postponed; they could be going online. Participants can still attend digital conferences or meetups via video conferencing. In-person interactions are off the table with social distancing enforced on a global scale,. Thankfully, people can watch speakers or presentations, attend classes. And even network with other attendees from the safety of their homes.
But before you move every event online, you need to gauge whether a virtual event is right for you and your client. Attendees – even virtual ones – still demand the proper value of the event. It’s crucial to ensure a way to deliver this. Another decision to make is whether to live stream the event (to create anticipation and exclusivity) or whether you record it so people may enjoy it at their leisure. If you’re unsure, use this resource to choose whether or not to take an event online.
While online events are a great short-term fix for many, it’s simply not an option for most. Just the tech industry alone has already lost an estimated $1B this year from canceled events.
How do event planners deal with social distancing?
Event planners are still working (from home), and they are busy as ever rescheduling events as gracefully as possible. While social distancing, event professionals are making the most of their time – like this photographer’s pandemic planning.
If your schedule is freer than you’d like, fill your time by educating yourself. Sign up for an online class, download a book, read an event blog, and find other ways to buff out your skillset. In addition to learning, take advantage of social distancing to reanalyze and organize your workflow.
Download new software and familiarize yourself with it, like ThymeBase Event Planning Software and add your event templates. Or you now have time to finally sort through your CRM. Silver lining or not, this pandemic creates the perfect period to dive into a rainy day project and be productive with your downtime.
Until we discover a treatment or vaccine for COVID-19 (fingers crossed!), social distancing for event planners is a long-term reality. Adapting as an event planner to this new and unavoidable circumstance is inevitable.
Thankfully, technology and innovative event planning software are on our side to make these event transitions possible. Until we’re back to normal, good luck!
Amanda Larson, CED, is a Certified Event Designer, marketer, and content creator. With a degree in journalism and special events management, Amanda has worked in marketing and events for both international startups and Fortune500 companies. She specializes in digital branding, copywriting, and graphic design freelancing for clients globally.