How will the event industry bounce back from the COVID crisis? At VO, we are anticipating an exciting recovery in three inspiring phases, opening up a new era marked by a new balance between live activity, virtual activity, fun, well-being and reinvigorated creativity.
It is clear that the health crisis has turned the world of events upside down. Yet it should emerge from this stronger. Indeed, at VO we believe in a future that promises new and exciting avenues to explore and a model to rebuild. The end of the crisis should lead event industry stakeholders such as our agency to experience three major phases with their clients - three phases that will lay the foundations of tomorrow's event industry.
A “hedonistic” reawakening
The return to normality after more than a year and a half of the coronavirus crisis will be celebrated fittingly! Once the virus is under control, companies will want to spoil their employees and customers, and reconnect with pleasures long forbidden. And what better way to mark the occasion than with a great live event? The need to celebrate the “liberation” and get together will be such that, in the very short term, companies will want to quench the need to reconnect with their staff and customers through friendly, celebratory gatherings. Companies will also look to cultural events to fully revive their brands and reconnect with their customers.
Hybridisation - the new breadth of possibilities!
The second phase will be that of experimenting with the new post-COVID paradigm - a hybrid, complementary formula of a single event in two versions: one live, and one digital. Boosted by the isolation caused by the health crisis, the virtual alternative has certainly demonstrated its enormous potential and added value. In the future, every live event could be imagined as having its own interactive digital version. Supported by the new value of inclusion of the greatest number, every event will become an experience accessible to everyone, wherever they are. Our agency has begun to anticipate this new challenge of juggling the on-site and online dimensions. On-site will focus on what digital cannot offer: meeting up, live interaction, spontaneous networking, the celebratory side, the involvement in the event... On the other hand, digital will focus on certain content that will work better than on-site events, such as conferences. All this will be hinged around a single common message. VO sees this two-dimensional merger phase as an exciting opportunity to reinvent events once again.
Welcome to the third dimension
Once the new digital/live combination has been properly assimilated, actors of the event industry will be able to access a third dimension - that of boosted creativity concerning new, untried or unexpected event paths. Constantly evolving technologies will make it possible to take these events to another level, whether it be in the way of disseminating messages or ways of reaching audiences. In the panoply of possible formulas, the “no-tech” trend might even become a sought-after and popular event option. Just as slow food responded to fast food, the disconnected event will respond to the digitalised live event.
The future belongs to those who think ahead
In order to anticipate these developments it is pressing for, VO is working now to strengthen its digital and technological skills and to integrate the expertise needed to ride out the various phases. On the digital front, we launched an innovation and R&D review three months ago. We are also continuing to consider how to integrate the societal CSR dimension into the three types of approach to events of the future: 100% digital events; purely live events (including no-tech events); and, for the most part, hybrid events. Our expertise in circularity, which has been constantly developed over the past three years, will help VO to create even more responsible events with certain values that have been revived during the crisis. VO will ensure that circularity and the defence of biodiversity are further asserted, along with systematic compensation for the CO2 footprint of our events.
If all goes well, we can look forward to the start of the event spring... in autumn 2021!