How to sustain your event business during a pandemic?
Updated: Jul 7, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major issues to the global economy, bringing tough times to business owners across many industries. Particularly the event business, which was one of the major sectors hit the hardest having many of its events canceled due to Covid-19. From weddings to concerts and summer festivals everything has been canceled due to the virus. There is still some hope out there for those who are running an event business, following these steps should help you sustain your event business and keep you stable until the economy gets back to normal.
Apply the following methods
Firstly, with many clients having to cancel their events due to COVID 19, the best way to avoid losing them would be to postpone their event rather than cancel them. This is specifically for wedding clients and engagements as these events will need to take place in the near future, therefore it is best to postpone them for a future date. This way you are reassuring a possibility that the client will still have an event rather than it never happening at all with your business.
When postponing the event you must make the best decision favoring your clients and that is their health and safety. It is best to also email your clients at least a week prior to the event so there is no last-minute confusion and it can be an advance reminder to attendees who are traveling for your event.
Corporate clients have canceled their events, it is best to keep in touch and maintain a positive and proactive relationship to show that you still care about their business with you. A proactive relationship with corporate clients is when you're actively engaging with the client instead of them canceling on you. It is very important for you to be sensitive in times like these with your clients, this is to add the human touch that will hopefully keep your clients from finding another event business to host their events.
2. Going digital
Secondly, if possible try converting your event to a digital or online event. Many businesses have followed this trend using social media platforms and Youtube to host their events for a digital audience. Event businesses which are more entertainment-centric may use Youtube for virtual live music concerts and virtual electronic concerts.
Many artists have become creative and used Instagram to live to communicate with their audience during the quarantine. There are many creative options to keep in touch with your audience, if your event business is suitable for the virtual option, adapt to it and keep in touch with your client base and audience virtually until life returns to routine.
3. Finances and Budgeting
Thirdly, you need to maintain the finances of your event business. In these rough times where your business is not doing well, you have to make the right decisions to keep afloat or ride the wave financially. The pandemic has totally shut down some businesses causing them to go bankrupt or lay off many of its employees.
For you to maintain your event business you might need to make these difficult decisions as well, and timing is crucial for these matters as it can make or break your event business. If you can afford to pay your employees, switch them to a part-time position, but if you cannot you will need to lay them off. The right financial decisions in times of a pandemic will make or break your event business, it is important for these decisions to be smart and precise.
Treating your employees during the pandemic
Beyond the financials, it is important that during a time of uncertainty caused by a pandemic you treat your employees well as it sets the precedent for your company for the months to come when you will be re-hiring and bringing your staff back to business as usual. Employees that are treated well during this pandemic will have a lot of respect for their employers as what is happening is out of anyone’s control, this will make them eager to want to join back when things are better. How your business treated its employees during the pandemic will also be important to future employees who view it as part of your companies ethics, so make sure your company goes the extra mile for its staff that has done so much and has been hit hard during the pandemic as well while making the best decision for the business balance sheet.
New Opportunities to rise
The collapse of the event industry due to COVID-19 brought about a new space in the event business, virtual and online event coverage. We have all seen the many people who have streamed their wedding or birthday over Zoom. The live feature which was already available on Instagram saw a usage spike of 70% from mid to late March, in Italy alone the live feature had doubled in usage during the pandemic.
Therefore using social media in a creative way to keep in touch with your clients right now is a key factor in maintaining your event business right now. It helps create a sense of community and a way to engage and keep in contact with your clients.
The event industry was one the hardest hit as the basis of this industry is driven by gatherings. Due to the extraordinary factors such as COVID-19 which has brought consequences including cancellations and dates postponed, this will create bigger importance for what is written in contracts when it comes to vendors and event planners.
COVID-19 created unordinary circumstances which forced most vendors having to cancel bookings and refund customers, or postponing the booking date if they were lucky enough to not have the event canceled. We don’t expect the word COVID-19 to be used in contracts, though there should be clauses associated with health & safety concerns that would limit or stop an event from taking place.
These new trends are a glimpse of what to expect in terms of how we might be interacting and hosting certain events in the future, though the majority of events will still be held at a real venue for centuries to come. The virtual event space for a very long time was limited to conferences and webinars for work purposes only and after the pandemic.
This space is now open to anything and everything from DJs mixing from the apartments going viral, mini-concerts, to couples hosting their small weddings in the backyard of their home, there is no limit to what can be broadcasted. The digital event space has one great upside that a real event cannot do, that is the power to scale up the audience, there is no maximum capacity to how many people can experience your event.
There is a learning curve associated with transitioning into the virtual event space, where most event vendors were prepared for an in-person experience they did not anticipate having to quickly switch to an online-only experience. The ability to learn new digital skills will be vital to continue hosting events digitally and diminish any setbacks in your business.
The top live streaming platforms we recommend
Facebook is the best option as it is one of the most common platforms being used today, there are over 2.6 Billion people on Facebook. Streaming on Facebook only requires you to have an account with Facebook. Facebook easily saves your live-streamed event onto your page.
2. YouTube Live
Youtube is a streaming platform in its own league with no real competitors. This platform also has an immense audience for your event to be broadcasted on, this is great if you are hosting an event with musicians for a non-charitable cause or simply an event you want to get as people to see.
3. Live Stream by Vimeo
Vimeo is an industry leader when it comes to covering weddings and events by videographers, delivering high-quality footage without lag. The great upside with Live Stream is that it allows you to stream the event onto your social media platforms at the same time.
There will be a huge opportunity to rise if you are on the lookout to book a venue as hotels and venues lack bookings; they will be more flexible in terms of accepting offers for their space. Stay alert for this as it can come in handy for clients that plan to have their events being hosted during the reopening phase.
During the reopening phase, there will be a demand and supply issue, initially when things reopen there will be more supply than demand, due to people still being wary of the severity of the virus this will make most people turn away from wanting to have their events go on. Once the limit on gatherings has been lifted and it is made to be safe to have events we expect a big amount of events and bookings to take place putting a strain on the event industry, certain event vendors should prepare to be double-booked for when events are back in full force.
All of the events which were supposed to take place in 2020 and the ones already planned for 2021 combined in one year is definitely going to be something we haven’t seen before.
Adaptability and quick decisions will be crucial for running your business during this difficult time, those who cannot adapt will be left behind. Therefore, it is important that you maintain a consistent dialogue with your clients and keep them in the loop of what is happening.