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Chart of the week: when will the event industry ‘fully’ recover?

The business-to-business exhibition industry in North America is most likely to fully recover by 2023, according to a new study.

Findings from the 2021 CEIR Index Report set out the timing of this will depend on how economies emerge from coronavirus, with a number of factors impacting that potential.

This includes vaccination rates, declining cancellation numbers and fears over new strains of Covid-19.

However, the research shows the most likely period for to “fully” return to life before the pandemic will be 2023 – at 60%.

It also suggests there is a 10% chance of recovery in 2022 – as the best case scenario – and 30% by 2024% as the worst case.

What’s behind the figures?

This latest paper is designed to be representative of the whole business-to-business exhibitions industry in North America.

It includes geometrical averaging of the four component values – NSF, exhibitor, attendance and revenue, predictions through 2023 and data tables that provide actual numbers for each metric in each sector.

The report shows three areas are anticipated to lead the recovery:

  • Industrial heavy machinery and finished products
  • Food
  • Discretionary consumer goods and services

However, this all hinges on how governments and industries handle the uncertainty brought by coronavirus. 

The threat of the highly contagious Delta variant may increase hesitancy of people to again attend big events. 

These could be eased by implementing stringent safety measures that demand proof of vaccinations and mask use for attendance. 

What does it mean for event organisers?

Organisers are looking to reshape their strategies to prepare for all outcomes as uncertainty over lockdown restrictions continues.

It means digital can no longer be a small addition to an event planner’s strategy – it should now form a critical part of future plans.

These proposals can include adopting emerging technologies to connect people in all formats – live, virtual and hybrid.

Hybrid models in particular could define the new industry landscape and will remain a mainstay of events and exhibitions for years to come.

Here are three ways how they will transform B2B events:

Monetisation: The hybrid model offers new untapped opportunities to monetise an event and create additional revenue streams. According to research, investment in the digital component of events is expected to rise from 2% before the pandemic to 25% post-2021. These digital components could be related to sponsor branding, ads and banners, giveaways, access to training and communities and more.   

Security: Hybrid solutions offer a digital backup when restrictions are re-imposed or any other unforeseen events occur. This gives organisers the flexibility and confidence to run a large-scale event without having to pause or alter their schedules.

Accessibility: Hybrid events offer both in-person and online attendance options. This makes them way more accessible compared to traditional events. Attendees can log in from a remote location anywhere around the world with just a computer and internet connection. Those who are unable to attend can be provided on-demand recordings of the sessions and discussions for later viewing.

To unlock the full potential of hybrid events, read ExpoPlatform’s Hybrid Blueprint now.