What are the biggest priorities when events start again?

Artifax - August 18, 2020

Boris Johnson has finally announced that public events will soon be permitted to open up again. With events in the UK slowly starting to open their doors from the beginning of October, there’s a lot for event organisers to consider beyond the normal expectation of offering visitors a unique, impactful and enjoyable experience.

Here, we take a look at some key priorities that our industry needs to keep in mind in order to put on successful events in these unprecedented circumstances.

What are the biggest priorities when events start again?

Make sure everyone at the event feels safe

As people slowly start to get used to the idea of mingling again, attending events with large numbers of visitors will no doubt feel a little alien initially. It’s important to take measures to ensure that your audience feels safe in this scenario. What you need to do to achieve this may vary depending on who they are and what kind of event you’re putting on, but in general it’s important to demonstrate that you’re taking measures to support safe distancing, good hygiene and respectful behaviour among visitors, venue staff, exhibitors and other contributors to your event.

Make sure everyone is safe

This is a separate point from the above because taking responsibility for your visitors’ health and safety is not quite the same as making them feel like you are – but it is at least as important. For instance, consider the reopening of pubs – due to the effects of alcohol, many revellers threw caution to the wind when visiting bars again after lockdown but despite the fact that their idea of what felt safe was very different than that of, say, café visitors, the very same measures would have been required to support safety in their behaviour and to create it in their environment. Doing enough for your visitors to feel safe is important, especially from a commercial perspective, but it isn’t enough – genuinely minimising the risk of them getting ill is also essential.

Get off to a running start

Succeeding in a post-lockdown world won’t be easy for any business, but this is especially the case in the events sector when considering the ongoing restrictions that our industry will likely face. Doing all you can to succeed in this strange and unfamiliar situation is therefore vital, and it will require a lot of creativity and fresh thinking. A big part of this will come down to prep work during the current lockdown phase, where you’ll need to formulate strategies to keep your event ahead of the curve, adapt to – or indeed be a leader in creating – the new way of doing things and generate new revenue streams.

Consider financial performance

When it comes to succeeding financially, the first question you should be asking yourself is whether you can afford to put your event on. If it won’t work financially due to restrictions on visitor numbers or limited disposable income among your visitor base, the answer could well be no. Jarring though this idea may be, unless you can afford to take the hit in exchange for the benefit of long-term brand building or maintaining continuity, you need to be realistic about whether you should be pouring resources into running your event at all, even if you know it’s going to be an awesome spectacle that will leave your audience begging for more. If you do decide to go ahead, your attention will then turn to figuring out how you can minimise costs without compromising on quality and ensuring that you have enough revenue streams to make the event a success financially and in other ways.

Use this as an opportunity to do something new or original

Now more than ever, we have the opportunity as an industry to uncover new ways of doing things that will increase event income and improve the overall quality of what we’re offering our visitors. This is a time to really test the creativity and problem-solving skills that event professionals are known for. Cooperating and sharing ideas is one way that this can be achieved – this is no time for being overly competitive or keeping our good ideas secret. It’s fair to say that valuable innovations need to be protected, but if we’re to rise from the ashes of this turbulent time as an industry, we’ll need to cooperate for mutual success.


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