In the wake of the UK Government's latest updates, a cautious optimism has replaced the just plain caution we saw earlier in the year. Whilst our own pragmatic rhetoric remains largely unchanged: 'we're ready when you are', it's certainly welcome to see more colleagues and clients looking ahead to live events with positivity. But where are we on the road back to live events and what can we expect from the journey ahead?
Do we have a roadmap for returning to events?
Before we hit the road, it's usually a good idea to have an idea of where we're headed...
With the wider roadmap on track for the UK, this also allows the events industry to map out the route toward safe, successful and strategic events. Along with the hospitality industry, the 17th May review of restrictions allows some relief for events too. Admittedly this May reopening is a modest one with robust restrictions still in place, however it will serve to support the much needed confidence in exhibitors, venues and visitors that will fuel our journey back to larger events.
Currently a series of pilot events across various venues and formats are also helping to boost confidence and provide evidence-based guidance on how we travel this road back to events safely. Some events are scheduled to return in May, however many will be scaled down affairs with smaller audiences and higher considerations of the restrictions that we are still relying on to keep us on the road to recovery, let alone back to events. As a result of these restrictions, we feel that a true 'reopening' date of 21st June is more realistic target for our industry. From this point we would see a more substantial return of events in the format we are used to, with an opportunity at this point to take key learning from earlier pilot events, supporting a successful scaled-up reopening.
That said, it's worth remembering that any 'road map' is still very much in progress, with the novel circumstances meaning that we will all be part of mapping out what the future of success at events looks like...or perhaps more excitingly, what we want it to look like. 'Event profs' are known for their project management and agility, with a huge amount of collective work to provide resources to return successfully, like the all secure standard. We too have developed a guide alongside this industry-wide effort which you can download to help with your own planning here.
When to start your (events) engines
Okay, so maybe we don't want to fire up the engine on our events just yet, but we probably do want to start making sure we're ready for the journey. Think of the coming weeks and months as the perfect time to kick the tyres and check the oil, making sure your return to events goes off without any unwanted surprises. This means considering things like: what you will need to support your success at events; what that success means to you; how events and exhibitions fit into your new marketing strategy; perhaps even whether this is a journey you, your business and your audience are ready to make?
When it comes to the road back to events, you can consider us your mechanic, GPS and support crew. With our end to end service from design and planning to project management and installation, we're able to support the entire journey behind successful event marketing. If anything, we've added to the breadth of our services across numerous lockdowns, widening our digital marketing and creative design expertise to support your marketing strategy if it goes off-road, online or anywhere in between. Wherever your marketing is headed, we believe that a clear strategy is crucial, with our honest approach focused clearly on what is in our client's best interests to engage their audience and achieve success - this simply hasn't changed, and we don't plan on it changing anytime soon either.
However, many in our industry and beyond have shared how they think destination 'live events' has forever changed. Some map out complete death for events. Meanwhile others suggest that events will be unrecognisable, replaced instead with a physical-digital-whizzing-hybrid of the new age. In truth, many of us will be pioneers on this journey, a little unsure of what destination live events will fully look like. A hybrid of digital and physical - most likely. Unrecognisable - probably not. There is a reason for the growing appetite to return to events, just as the appetite for vacations and 'freedom pints', we do know at least in part what to expect - and we miss it. Just as we know the reliable effect of sun, sea and sand on our stress levels, so too do we know the effect of a good event as part of our marketing mix. Admittedly the latter might not have quite the same allure as rolling white beaches in the Caribbean...but you get the idea. It's the reliable role of events as way to connect, engage, entertain and even enjoy marketing that we are journeying back to, with perhaps some new considerations on how we get there or make the most of our destination.
While some of us are already packing our suitcases, others remain rooted. We think our road to events will be the same, some will set off early, others may wait until the road is more well-travelled. In either case, we're ready when you are and excited to share this journey with you!
You'll find some great advice on planning your potential return to events with our top ten tips on event marketing & exhibitions
By all means get in touch to discuss your events plans with us.
As a full service events, exhibitions, display & graphics specialist, we have everything you need for your events: