Backstage Pass: How the Events Industry is Reacting to COVID-19


On this episode of Backstage Pass, an Alford Media Services podcast, Voice of B2B Daniel Litwin was joined by a trio of events industry experts in Alford Media Executive Vice President and General Manager Tom Alford, President and COO of Snap! Event Productions Amber Jenkins, and Paul Johnson, founder of Paul Johnson, Inc.

In the wake of the spread of the novel coronavirus and the ensuing COVID-19 pandemic, the events industry, like all of the world’s industries, has felt the disease’s ripple effects.

“It’s been pretty devastating to the industry,” Tom said. “There are virtually no meetings except for webcasting. … All of us are working to do the new meeting style.”

The pandemic has not only inhibited in-person events and presentations, but has raised questions about the events industry’s preparedness, employee aid, adaptation for shelter-in-place protocols, and what level of demand the industry can expect after the dust settles and things return to what’s likely to be a new normal.

To answer those questions, Daniel, Tom, Amber and Paul touched on how they’ve seen the events industry adapt and rebound from the initial shock, what protocols were already in place for a scenario like this and which will likely be put in place for the future, how their individual companies have responded, and what they expect to see in the industry on the other side of the pandemic.

Many people in the industry are changing up their focus and traditional approach to their work. “We’re trying to pivot to do more content creation,” Paul said. “Those sorts of prudent pivots that you’re inventing for yourself to put your capabilities out there, are key right now” Additionally, we’re all looking toward the future and how this will change the industry. Tom states, “I think what’s going to happen when this is all over is the best of (digital) will be adopted in… Some of the things that really work well will become a part of our everyday life.” Amber adds how these digital adoptions can elevate events from what we’ve seen so far,“ “I think that events involving more of a digital aspect – webcasts and what have you – I think there’s a big opportunity going forward for these to become more robust. What we have now is great, and it gets us through, but there’s so much opportunity there, and I think that there are ways that these types of technologies can really complement live events.”

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