Absence makes the heart grow fonder

With Christmas approaching and the very positive news that a (or several) vaccine(s) is (are) coming down the line, there is a feeling that there is an end in sight to the severity of nationwide lockdown. The light at the end of the tunnel is shining a little bit lighter for the first time in a long time.

That said, the reality is Covid-19 is likely to continue to dominate our lives for at least the next 12 months and likely much longer until things settle down into something we might recognise as ordinary.

However, this a great time for us to recalibrate. We need to consider how we can position ourselves to take advantage of the opportunities the future is bound to offer in both the mid-term with hybrid events and thinking further ahead to large-scale live events.

Much of the future planning around Covid so far has been around recovery and it can be tough to continue drawing on the now thoroughly dried up reservoirs of resilience. But I believe this is the moment to be brave and question everything.

One consequence of Covid has been the rise of new start-ups, who are creating competition in the market. To retain their foothold, established businesses need to really demonstrate their value, question the value of their historic practices and invest in fresh ideas. As event professionals, we can help by understanding the changes in audiences’ expectations and behaviour and innovating accordingly. This is a great time to think, not just about how we can get back to normal, but how we can make the future better than before.

Event organisers should review the kinds of events they were running previously and question everything they did, asking themselves how they can re-build better than before. We need to offer them options and choices so that the events audiences return to in the spring will not just meet their expectations but deliver the wow-factor.

After months of zoom, audiences are tired of the same old, and they dream about the amazing events they attended way back at the start of 2020 and before that. As with our memories of halcyon sunny summer days in our youth, audiences’ reminiscences of events are equally rose-tinted, and their expectations are high! Absence makes the heart grow fonder and audiences are eager to return to large and small venues. They are looking forward to an amazing experience; to having their socks blown off and their heads turned. We must not disappoint them!

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