There is no doubt that the continuing news about the Covid-19 outbreak will have an impact on the global meetings and events industry. We’ve recently seen cancellations of large scale events such as the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and Facebook’s Global Marketing Summit in San Francisco due to concerns about the coronavirus. Behind the scenes, there are more as corporate organizations begin a pullback.
What does it mean in the long term? Get ready for a series of articles, prognostications and spin from vested-interest companies that we will see a rise in virtual meetings! Webcasts! And more!
Will it happen? Actually, this time, it will be different – compared to similar periods of time in 2008 and 2002. Look at the event industry article, below, that I wrote in 2002!
Why? Hear me out, because I’ve been here before. Post 9-11, all kinds of people predicted that we would see the end of corporate meetings, annual conferences and incentive trips. Instead, they said, given the fear and concern with travel, and the rapid evolution of new technologies, most meetings would go virtual. Webcasts. and things like that were all the rage!
Back then, I wrote an article for a leading meetings industry publication, Successful Meetings, entitled Get Real.
A key comment? “An event is as much about team building and networking as it is content.” At the end of the day, its about a group of people getting together, getting inspired, sharing ideas, and moving the future forward.”
Read the article here
But this time could be different:
- we’re 20 years on. A different generation is using tech. Back then, it was boomers. Today, the generation who was weaned on the Internet.
- the technology is better. We didn’t have Zoom, WebEx and other platforms in 2002
- we didn’t have the bandwidth
- attention spans were different back then. Today, it’s all about short, sharp shocks of information
- Covid-19 might involve a slower return to normal life than you think. Follow the scientists!
Virtual? This time, it might last longer than you think.