Impact of the Coronavirus on the Events Industry

Impact of the Coronavirus on the Events Industry

On December 31, the coronavirus outbreak took the world by storm.

What started out as a few pneumonia cases in Wuhan China has spread out to more than 60 countries worldwide. So far it has killed 3000 people, and has infected more than 89,000 worldwide, mostly in China.

Not only has it slammed global markets, and trade shows, but it has also left event organizers grappling with safety precautions on how to handle it. 

According to CNBC, the coronavirus  has caused the cancellation or postponement of more than 24 exhibitions and conferences worldwide.

Though the impact is hard to predict, it can be summed up as follows: 

Event Cancelation & Postponement

In Tech: 

  • Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
  • Facebook Global Marketing Summit in San Francisco
  • Facebook F8 in San Jose, California
  • EmTech, Asia in Singapore –postponed to Aug 4-5
  • Google News Initiative Global Summit in Sunnyvale, California
  • Shopify’s developer conference, Unite, in Toronto
  • Geneva Motor Show
  • Nvidia GPU Technology Conference, San Jose, March 22-26 (The conference will now be an online event.)
  • Google Cloud Next ’20, San Francisco, April 6-8 (The conference will now be an online event.)
  • CloudFest 2020 
  • CeraWEEK energy conference
  • Microsoft WSLConf (March 10-11 in Redmond) – In-person canceled; online-only event. 

In Gaming: 

In Sports: 

  • Six Nations Rugby Match  has now been postponed.
  • World Athletics Indoor Championships originally scheduled for Nanjing from 13-15 March have been postponed too.
  • Formula One originally set for 19 April has been postponed. 

In Culture & Music: 

  • Fashion weeks in Beijing and Shanghai have been postponed. Many Chinese brands have also pulled out from Paris and Milan fashion weeks. 
  • Stereolab tour of China in mid-March, and a Hong Kong spinoff of Barcelona’s electronic music festival, Sonar, originally lined up for 28 March is now being rescheduled.

2- Being Held as Planned Entailing Huge Losses

Other than postponements and cancellations, many have sought to proceed as planned.  Naming a few are the Pax East conference, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and the Cannes film festival  which is carefully monitoring the developments and latest guidelines concerning the coronavirus. However, this has entailed major losses; Sony pulled out from the Pax East Gaming Show though it was slated to demo more than a dozen upcoming games. Meanwhile, the Tokyo marathon, according to BBC took place on empty streets with only 20% of last year’s number of attendees. Additionally, since the wealthy Chinese representatives of the industry are unable to travel, the Cannes film festival might also put an end to its high profile gala screenings, big money deals, and PR campaigns. 

2- Relocating Pulling off a Great Feat

Between canceling, proceeding and postponing, some have chosen to relocate albeit the efforts & costs are huge. Not only is switching to a new location a logistical feat, but it also requires a lot of planning, and re-booking concerning flights, hotel accomodations, and local transport. Add to it the fact that event planners should look for destinations with little to no risk of contamination. They should also seek to collaborate with venues and suppliers who are aware and well prepared for the virus according to WHO’s safety guidelines.

 3- Going Virtual, Beating the Odds 

When face-to face interaction fails, and when event relocation becomes a financially inefficient and time-consuming task, the only remaining safe alternative becomes virtual.

Not only is virtual more cost-effective, but it is also less tedious, requires no dress code, has a wider reach, and offers better opportunities for measurable results. 

Moreover, according to Marketing Insider Group , with the continuing move towards sustainability, VR & augmented reality, as well as more intimate customized events, non-traditional venues and thinking outside the box are becoming the norm. Live streaming is on the rise, so are peer to peer campaigns, and enhanced personalization.

Therefore, if “virtual”  is still an option for you, we invite you to give it a try! 

Request a demo. We will guide you in organizing your next virtual event. You will be able to select  the speakers, choose the event location, fill it with your own 3D assets, branding, content material, and event program. 

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