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  • Mary Windham

Coronavirus Event Upheaval

From the Desk of Mary

Event Manager - Entrepreneur - Adventurer

COVID-19 has now filtered into every aspect of society, from empty grocery store shelves to how many people can be in one room together. Yet nothing has taken a more drastic hit than the events industry. Tens of thousands events across the globe have come to a screeching halt as a result of coronavirus precautions.

“Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19,” the CDC said, as it urged event planners and governing bodies to consider cancelling upcoming events.

Huge festivals like Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, IHeartRadio, and South by Southwest cancelled their spring shows, and groups like Pearl Jam and the Rolling Stones cancelled tours. Even the wide world of sports wasn’t immune; the Kentucky Derby was rescheduled for the second time ever in its history. The NBA, MLB, NFL, and other organizations all announced game and season delays, postponements, and suspensions. Conferences like the Mobile World Congress, Milken Institute Global Conference, Facebook's Global Marketing Summit, Google Cloud Next, and others postponed or cancelled their events in response to the rising threat of COVID-19 transmission. “There are no banquets to do, no meals to cook, no rooms to clean. There’s nothing to do… With no more than 10 people in one place, our industry is nonexistent right now. We’re at a complete standstill.” - Katrina Hutchins, Charlotte Event Planner and Designer Not all events are under wraps, however. Many have turned to more modern and flexible solutions like virtual hosting to create a space for their newly remote audience. The Credible Behavioral Health software company turned its conference sessions into free webinars, available throughout the year to partners. Through social media hashtags and active comment sections, their yearly conference became a year-long engagement campaign. Okta’s big tech conference “Oktane” also took a virtual turn and will host their week-long conference online to the public for free. By leveraging “the best technology,” Okta will “deliver an innovative attendee experience from wherever you are... [enabling] us to bring our customers, partners, and employees together in a healthy and productive way." The current pandemic has certainly shown all business leaders the importance of a contingency plan and adaptability in often unpredictable conditions. Here are some tips from OI to keep your next event on track:

  • Modernizing your methods means you can pivot when needed. Offer telecasting or live streaming options and have virtual and/or social media elements at every event.

  • Establish solid financial strategies like collecting on all accounts, maintaining ongoing cash reserves, and/or obtaining a business line of credit so your company has the solid foundation and buffer room needed when an emergency hits.

  • Protect yourself on the front end with solid contract language like the Force Majeure Clause, which allows event cancellations in emergency situations.

Occasions, Inc. is happy to be in the position to help businesses overcome these current challenges. Through a full array of audiovisual and technical expertise, OI can turn any event into a virtual experience that maintains momentum and keeps audiences engaged. We’re also working with our clients to navigate cancellations and ensure future events stay effective. How are you navigating the current situation? Leave a comment below and don’t forget to follow Occasions, Inc. on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.


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