Covid-19 gave the whole world a complete halt for a while. Every business and industry had to reinvent and curate new ways to beat the sudden economy slow down. The worst affected sector today remained the event & event marketing industry. Any event that used to happen in-person, such as conferences, corporate meetings, weddings, concerts, and other formal or informal meet-ups has taken a completely different shape nowadays.
The world has moved to virtual meetings and hybrid ones-where only a limited number of people interact in-person and the rest join the group virtually. We all understand that virtual and hybrid meetings have numerous benefits and they have many drawbacks too.
The charm of human-to-human physical connection and contact has been lost. Seeing eye to eye, and communicating via gestures and expressions are now limited to the hazy and small-imagery observations of the people from behind the screens. Also, working in frustration of losing or poor internet connection, has brought many people to a saturation point. Working from home while staying with the family members brings distractions too, and some people find it difficult to fully concentrate as well.
Yes, of course, people and communities can communicate from their comfort and can save a lot of traveling time, and can collect large data with an endless number of attendees/participants. However, virtual set-ups cannot connect and build relationships between humans-to-humans in the same way that in-person events do.
Many sales and marketing professionals at present urge to return to in-person events and interactions. They feel that they can bring more lucrative business opportunities and can interact better with potential customers while marketing their products and services during in-person meetings.
In physical meet-ups, professionals can easily pick up on non-verbal cues and can mold their communication skills in a better way. Moreover, the frustration of dealing with internet-connectivity issues disappears. They can build stronger mental and emotional bonds, network freely, and can create a trust factor with one-to-one interactions.
Furthermore, as the world is turning digital, virtual events will stay forever, and will surely be better with having 5G and improved technology; however, once the current situation improves, there’s a group of people who would also want to opt for in-person events whenever possible.
To some people working virtually has worked wonders, now more people can attend more web-conferences, trade shows, and attend many meetings than ever before. People now have time to even pursue their lost and forgotten hobbies and activities.
During the COVID19 pandemic, many skilled job seekers have been employed to make webinars more interactive and engaging. As demos for companies’ products and services, videos, and graphics need to be created and shared online, this gave a wider way to more digital marketing opportunities, which has further employed many in-market professionals.
Yet local businesses, in-person sales and marketing forces, hospitality, wedding planners, and informal event companies are still facing the financial effects of the pandemic. As ‘in-person meet-ups’ to get the business was the main source of their bread and butter, many had to look for alternative options to earn their source of living. Even after the removal of the lockdown and amendments in the government restrictions on large gatherings (the number of attendees in an event), still many folks are uncomfortable and are opting to avoid attending events of large scale gathering at the moment.
That’s for sure, the world is not ready for large scale in-person events today, at least until we have the vaccine for the Covid 19. Till then we might see more hybrid meeting models, that are mostly choice-based, where people can choose to attend the meeting virtually or physically.
Maybe the fall in the number of Covid 19 cases, and more healthcare measures, such as cleanliness, norms of social distancing, and sanitization can surely make a lot of people comfortable enough to attend a smaller scale, in-person events till the time we don’t have the vaccine.