Part 2: The desire for real-life
The Corona pandemic has turned the event industry upside down. Event agencies have had to face new challenges to ensure that they can continue to provide positive experiences for their clients. But what do these changes look like? In the second part of our interview series “SAG MAL, REINHARD!”, Managing Director Reinhard Pommerel will show you the changes, but also the opportunities that have arisen from them.
“The event industry has changed enormously after Corona. During Corona, events were only digital and hybrid, but now that has changed completely, not overnight, but quite radically. There is a rush for live formats again!
At events planned in advance as hybrid, such as the Digital Summit Northwest 2022, for which we expected about 300 people in front of the screens, in the end there were only 30 people, because everyone wanted to meet on site again after a long break of “not seeing”.
This has prevailed until today, because many people still feel like meeting in person. Despite all this, it will be impossible to imagine event formats without digitality. That’s why people often think in parallel and plan digital formats as a plan B in addition to analogue formats, should there be another lockdown, which of course we hope there won’t be. In the end, however, we can say: digitalisation will stay where it makes sense!
What else has changed a lot is that people continue to be insecure and that is our new normal that we have to learn to deal with! Corona in the aftermath and the Ukraine war are making many companies very cautious. The real dilemma for the industry is not the lack of demand, but the move towards shorter planning periods. Our clients are asking themselves more often how they want to proceed and are planning events in much shorter advance planning than before. For us, the challenge then is that they often don’t have the trades or sufficient staff available, because the shorter the planning phases, the more difficult it is to implement the events.
We also have a lot of questions: Where is all this going and how will it turn out? Will the main business again concentrate on the summer, i.e. on the months of May to September, because we fear it will be similar to last year. We don’t know this unsteadiness from the past.
Despite all the changes, one thing has largely remained the same – the trust our customers have placed in us, and of course we are very happy about that! Trust has always been an important issue. The client trusts us with their budget, trusts us to create and implement a good concept for them. Many of the clients froze their budgets during the pandemic and made up for it with us after Corona. If anything, this has increased the trust.
We have become more resilient overall and have gained the necessary courage to simply do things that we would not have dared to do before. This is an important lesson from the Corona period that you should take with you in a positive sense for yourself and your company – especially with regard to future trends, technologies and the aspect of sustainability!
One can observe that the trend is going back to the natural environment. No big changes, one focuses on an authentic location with sparingly and consciously used accents. The location must fit the message of the event concept from its origins and the participants must become one with their surroundings through immersive inclusion.
With this in mind, you have to start bringing the product or service to where it actually takes place. It does no one any good to transport cow feeding systems for a period of a few days to an exhibition hall that is alien to the environment for the product. A product-oriented exhibition, e.g. at regional farmers’ premises, would be a viable alternative. Associated factors such as costs, time and effort would be significantly reduced and at the same time real experiences would be created for the participants.
What our clients can expect from us in the future is the honesty to question our own business model, as we did in the Corona era. We will continue to bring this courage into the advisory meetings, future-oriented concept developments as well as into our event presentations in order to generate absolute added value for the customer. We also continue to put our faith in our roots in the region. We want to get involved and contribute to a strong event industry, which is why we recently launched the NORDWEST regional representation. You’ll find out more about it in the next blog post!”