Farmaceutical firms Moderna and Pfizer have applied in December 2020 for permission from the medical authorities to distribute their corona vaccines in both Europe and the US, and the UK has already moved for first distribution in December. That is the first real good news since the world – and our industry – came to a standstill in early 2020. The pain is not yet over, but at least there is light at the end of the tunnel.
As the COVID-19 keep on raging, event organizers tend to focus on 2021 for a resumption of their activities, mostly for Q2, says the latest survey into the business confidence by I-Meet. While the survey mostly focuses on US companies, we see a similar pattern on other continents.
A large majority of the event organizers (71%) see a resumption of their activities by 2021, mostly in Q2.
As a speakers’ agency, we are slightly better off, as we can organize our speakers also for online events, although most of our potential clients still are hesitant to make that virtual jump.
What is happening to the trade shows? The bigger events are not yet sure about their future. While even some of the most established trade show organizers start to file for bankruptcy, some see a future ahead in fully or partly virtual events, reports the Global Trade Magazine. For smaller events recovery might a slightly easier, the massive gatherings might have a hard time to recover any time soon from the coronavirus crisis, says the magazine.
Monday 15 June the delayed 2020 Canton Trade Fair took off, under the pressure of the global coronavirus crisis fully online. The question is: will it work to take this traditional and very prestigious gathering for China’s import and export industries take off. Will old friends join online and will the conference be able to generate new business?
The event mirrors the dilemma for many event organizers. Yes, at this stage of the coronavirus crisis events like this are impossible to hold in another way than online. But can any online event even partially replace the major gathering we have seen over the past decades?
The Planner Confidence Index has been surveying event organizers since March to measure the impact of the corona crisis on the industry. Key finding: confidence in a fast resumption of face to face (F2F) events has dropped dramatically. In March 8 percent of the participants in the survey expected meetings would only be possible in 2021, in June the percentage has risen to 50%.
Two months ago we still hoped the event industry would recover from the Covid-19 crisis in a similar way as SARS in 2002/3. But history seldom repeats itself and also in this case it looks we have been too optimistic. While much of Europe is slowly opening up, and other parts of the world remain in crisis mode, the traditional events as we knew them might not return any time soon. Whether we will go through a second wave of the corona crisis is still an open question: major disruption is here to stay.
That is bad news for those event companies who relied on physical conferences including massive flights, hotel bookings, and entertainment for their business model. Much of our business disappeared initially, leaving our speakers often empty-handed. Now a miraculous revival of the event industry might not come fast, at the CSB we can focus on our core business: connecting established China experts to companies and organizations eager to pick their brains, now in online seminars.
The coronavirus or Covid-19 has kept the world in its grip since the beginning of 2020, first as a China problem, but then fast expanding to the rest of the world.
At the China Speakers Bureau, we organize China experts for a global audience, and our speakers have started to speak out on the impacts of that crisis, countries dealt with the crisis, and how China will deal with the major economic fallout of this global disruption.
Are you interested in discussing more options of speakers to deal with the corona crisis? Do get in touch.
At the China Speakers Bureau, we keep a close eye on event organizers and how they prepare for the coming year, in the post-coronavirus period. We see two broad movements: definitely, a part of the gatherings is turning to virtual events, like for example the Felixstowe Book Festival.
More troublesome is the black swan scenario taken this week by Stage Entertainment, organizers in Europe of larger musicals like Tina, Anastasia, and Lazarus to delay their productions till March 2021. For most annual events, like the Olympic Games, a one-year delay might sound obvious, but stalling ongoing shows and events sounds more troublesome.
The coronavirus has not only stalled most global events, international flights, and the hospitality business. Now, also insurance firms start to increase premiums or outright refuse to insure the consequences of eventualities caused by the coronavirus.
“The market has been “traumatised” by the prospect of unintended coverage for business interruption related to coronavirus,” says an insurance expert.
Education, museums, tourist destinations, 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.
The situation in both Europe and the US is still very unreal. The fallout of the coronavirus is stabilizing in Europe at best, while the US is still preparing or the worst. But meanwhile, we are getting already a few requests for speakers from Asia for events after the summer.
Of course, the rest of the world is also slowly thinking about how the world will look like post-corona, we are pleasantly surprised Asia is already a step ahead. We still have to see how realistic those plans are for meetings with 1000+ people, who have to fly in from the rest of the world while renowned airlines have grounded their fleets and struggling to survive.
As the coronavirus hits big parts of the world outside China, at the China Speakers Bureau we are looking at alternatives in video conferencing. In the past we worked with Google Hangouts, but our mostly conservative event organizers preferred to stick to real life meetings, and we abolished this tool.
But times are changing, and the internal debate at the CSB on exploring video conferences as an alternative for real-life meetings has popped up again. Currently we are looking at two tools: Zoom and Tencent Meetings. Zoom has become fast the preferred choice for many outside China, and we have already good experiences with them. But Tencent Meetings (VooV) is also emerging, and even helping the United Nations in setting up public conferences.