Events within the exhibitions, conventions and meetings industry involve the gathering of groups of people with a common interest. This includes business, industry, hobbies and more. The global pandemic of Covid-19 virus has permanently changed the events and exhibitions industry. After more than 12 years of economic expansion and growth, the events and conference industry is facing a triple whammy head-on: a world-wide viral outbreak with no immediate treatment; supply-chain disruption and travel restrictions causing economic crisis and the widespread cancellation of events.
According to the U.S. Travel Association study, the decreased travel and widespread event cancellations due to the outbreak equates to an estimated $809 billion economic hit to the U.S. economy and the loss of 4.6 million travel-related jobs. Planners, exhibitors, sponsors and attendees alike are now reassessing every future event as huge financial and health risk. Exhibitions generate estimated $135 billion in spending by visitors and exhibitors annually. Local restaurants, hotels, labor and local taxes will all take a hit, furthering the damage.
Holding online events is one way to control and manage this downtime. As a number of high-profile gatherings have been forced to become digital-only, a growing number of organizations are experimenting with virtual events for the first time, or scaling up their digital offerings with enhanced features. While there are many aspects of in-person events that can’t be replicated in digital form, the virtual gathering also presents distinct opportunities that could prove beneficial for organizations over the long run.
The online exhibitions have opened up opportunities for connecting people anywhere, anytime and on every channel possible – Many meetings industry organizations are offering live webcasts and educational workshops that attendees can join virtually, or review later on demand.