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Chart of the week: biggest challenges facing events industry

Confidence remains the biggest major challenge facing the event industry in the short-term, according to a new survey.

Findings from the BVEP poll show 55% of planners and 50% of delegates believe this to be the most significant hurdle facing our sector in the UK.

It comes as a preview of the UFI Global Congress published statistics which show the global exhibition market shrunk by an estimated 73% last year.

The session also revealed there was an average of a 97% loss for companies in the event industry last year.

Behind the figures

Uncertainty continues to plague live events despite the industry rallying to get people to meet again.

A number of factors have contributed to this:

  • Longer lead-in times to plan largescale events
  • Threat of the Covid-19 Delta variant
  • Ongoing restrictions on international travel
  • Inconsistent licensing permissions.

This has been aggravated by supply chain issues, venue capacity constraints and difficulty in obtaining indemnity insurance in case of business disruption.

Additionally, rising Covid-19 costs and challenges associated with online event components have exacerbated the situation, making it difficult to plan events. 

What does this mean for organisers?

Organisers are treading with caution.

Issues such as finding a commercial cover and financial risk are likely to persist if partial Covid-19 restrictions are implemented.

This is because the UK Government’s Live Events Reinsurance Scheme covers event cancellations only for complete restrictions.

For international organisers, Brexit confusion and issues around work Visas, import licenses and delegate entry will keep them on their toes.

Such challenges require event planners to revisit and reshape their strategies and adapt themselves to the changing trends.

1. Building a sustainable future

According to the Shape of Events survey, 85%  of respondents identify climate change as a longt-erm challenge. Environmental awareness and sustainability are expected to drive event agendas as companies seek to reduce their carbon footprints. On an organisational level, this means assessing travel needs and re-evaluating buying choices, as well as hosting fewer global events. The Net Zero Carbon Events Initiative will play a key role in helping build a sustainable future by aiming to take the global event industry to zero net emissions by 2050.

2. Focusing on hybrid events

Hybrid events have been the most positive outcome of the pandemic. Their popularity has grown because they offer a wide range of benefits. This includes the ability to reach new audiences, bringing an international element to the event and contributing to sustainability efforts. For organisers, challenges will include planning an effective attendee experience both virtually and in-person and managing changes in event structure and pricing.

3. Identifying and developing new skills

A new set of skills is needed to address the short- and long-term challenges of events. Organisers will need to recruit a new workforce with the technical skills needed to plan and execute hybrid and virtual events. Furthermore, a strong grasp of data analytics – creating and analysing data pools – will be crucial as well as the ability to create new sponsorship and business models.

Learn how you can build a robust hybrid event strategy from scratch with ExpoPlatform’s Hybrid Blueprint ebook.