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Education, museums, tourist destinations, political leaders, company meetings, Friday afternoon drinks, TV shows: all seem busy finding online variations now the coronavirus is disrupting their traditional business models. The picture shows a Dutch quiz program where hundreds of candidates call in on a live connection and get pulled into the program by a smart way of moderation.

The question is whether events with larger audiences and speakers can get the same done. Technically, there would not be a problem: remote interaction is possible, maybe not with a 1000+ audience, but certainly with hundreds of participants. For smaller gatherings, it is relatively easier to go online.

A question that becomes more urgent is whether the majority of event organizers is willing or able to move their business online. Their business model is not only based on retaining speakers but also on organizing hotels, hospitality events, and often also flights for hundreds of participants. For those employees, clients, franchise holders, and other stakeholders attending events is not only a way to exchange information but also seen as rewards to solidify the relationship with the organizers.

Not surprisingly, many conferences are organized in larger cities, with nice beaches, casinos, and other entertainment. With no flights around, and government regulations banning or heavily regulation larger meetings, that business model might be under pressure. We did have over the past few weeks interesting discussions on the future of those offline meetings and are seriously concerned about their future. And we do see professional event organizers do have a problem in moving online.

When we look at the discussions taking place, where people need to be 1.5 meter apart from each other. Where larger airline companies are on the brink of collapse, hotels and entertainment venues have only months to survive, we do not expect any fast solutions, even when a vaccine is around later this year.

What is your take on this? What timelines do you see? Do get in touch if you are interested in discussing the future of your industry.


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