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The Future of Live Events

The live event industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak. The entire industry relies on human connection, which is effectively banned by the CDC and local governments. In these changing times, what can we expect the future of live events to look like?

Whether event professionals wanted to host a small wedding or a global conference, it’s safe to say that events will not look like the ones we loved to attend in pre-COVID times. Currently, Germany is carrying out one of the largest research projects on how the coronavirus spreads. The initial results showcase the possible role of events on spreading the virus and depict what the next six to nine months will look like. Preliminary results have been discussed in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine. The good news is their research aligns with the CDC in that everyday activities like going to the grocery store or dining outside won’t spread the virus. The bad news is one that has to do with events.

The research showed how large events are at the root of how the virus initially spread. In the U.S., Mardi Gras in New Orleans and the whole of spring break in Florida are currently viewed as super-spreading events. According to Skif’s Event Manager Blog, “masses of people in prolonged contact seem to be the obvious conduits for the virus’ spread. Of course, this research is still underway and we have no official conclusions. With events being notably the first sector being wiped out by this atrocious virus, it is fair to start anticipating some of the measures different countries will take, based on research and common sense.”

As we’ve seen over the course of the pandemic, businesses have had to get creative to stay afloat, and the event industry is no different. We’ve seen global conferences go virtual, and seen others break into small local groups or meetings where attendees can still interact while social distancing. The key to saving the events industry will be ideas such as this. The old motto “Think global, act local” will become commonplace as events figure out ways to pare down. With the resurgence of rapid testing, events may even go fully live, with a testing center at the entrance to ensure attendee and employee safety. Technology is also evolving to adapt to Coronavirus fears, such as thermal scanning, geofencing, and more. The possibilities are endless.

But fret not! Events will return eventually. David Meerman Scott, a best-selling author and public speaker who studies how neuroscience affects behavior, said in an interview with Convene, “I am very strongly convinced that the physical event business will bounce back. Humans crave physical interaction with other humans. We want to be part of a tribe of other humans. That’s baked into our neuroscience. Our brains thrive around being around people who are just like us.” While the future of the event industry holding in-person events is still a topic under discussion within the industry, we know social distancing will likely affect meetings in the future in many ways – one of the most notable being room and seating configuration.

As members of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, Tulu stays up to date on all things events and is working with event venues to ensure their spaces are sanitized to the high standards we’re known for. No matter what the future holds for the event industry, Tulu can help event attendees feel safe and help event venues ensure their spaces are being cleaned to the standards of CDC guidelines.