By Nicholas Bills, Managing Director, Glaziers Hall
The pandemic has hit the events industry hard, for what is rapidly approaching a year.
Now there are three vaccines in distribution, we’re sure you are hoping, as are we, that the end is in sight. So, as we are looking at some sort of return to normality in the coming months, Glaziers Hall thought we would do a few predictions for the coming year and the events industry.
These are our 2021 predictions for when business activity will begin again and life starts to return…
Groups of six
Being able to gather socially in groups of six will be the first sign of things really easing. When family and friends are allowed to get together again (initially outside, but then inside too) will show that some sense of normality is returning.
By this point, the restrictions on working from home will most likely have been lifted too, meaning more people will be returning to the office and enjoying face to face conversations, even if still social distanced.
When: March 8th
By formal, I really mean sat down. If people are sat down, it is far easier to control social distancing, whilst still enabling people to communicate effectively. Networking is, and always will be, a key business driver for companies of all sizes.
The level of networking has been increasing over the last few months, particularly through Zoom calls. It will be interesting to see how the mix changes. Will Zoom move to become the tool that is used for power groups, functional teams and one to ones? Will many networking groups remain on there?
When we start to see networking events like this taking place in “real life”, it will be a sign of business confidence really starting to return.
These will be the first types of event we expect to see. Management meetings and board meetings, where companies are planning what to do next. As the slow trudge towards normality begins, strategy meetings (usually in our Thames Room or Bridge Room) will begin. Some of these are likely to start as hybrid events, particularly for those who need to isolate or have long journeys to get to them.
Travelling for work
A key condition for any event to take place is whether people are confident enough to travel. Current figures suggest that public transport around London is being used far less than during pre-covid times (18% on the Tube and 30% on the buses). When these figures start to rise again and clear 50%, it is a clear sign that confidence is returning.
It’s likely that sales meetings will be driven to and will be the first increases in travelling. We have all learnt to hold sales meetings online over the last year, but there are few sales people who will say they don’t prefer face to face.
This may be the most important of our 2021 predictions…
When: early May
As it gets warmer, people will be feeling better, they will be feeling more confident too. Assuming the government hits its 2 million vaccinations a week target, everyone over 18 should have had at least one jab by the beginning of July. Even if everyone has to wait 12 weeks for the 2nd jab, there should be millions of people fully protected by this time.
We believe that further relaxations of the restrictions will see larger gatherings start to happen around July. People will be celebrating both the relaxations and the simple fact that they can gather. Social distancing will still be recommended and we will, of course play our part in this and maintain our commitment to keeping you covid-safe.
At the time of writing this, there were 44 weeks until the next Christmas season. Everyone should have had both covid jabs and the fun will begin. There’s going to be a lot of celebrating going on next Christmas! People have lost well over a year. A year of not seeing many people and many have lost someone too. Everyone will want to make up for what was missed in 2020.
The question at this point is whether a covid jab will join the recommended flu jab each year. What do you think?
When: the Christmas 2021 season will start in mid-November, if not earlier.
Since you’re here…
More than 30,000 readers per month enjoy the content we publish on PA Life. PA Life sits right at the heart of the PA and EA community, providing advice, profiles, How To guides, reviews and more.
We’d like you to be part of our community too and you can sign up to the newsletter, which is completely free of charge. As well as two weekly round-ups of the top stories, you will also have access to our bi-monthly magazine.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter.