The year 2020 changed dramatically the event management industry. In particular, the MICE Industry.
Billions of pesos lost because of the pandemic. But something happened along the way. Some of the leaders of the industry began to adopt and transitioned to online events.
There are small wins last year that will become pivotal for this year’s breakthroughs and successes in the event management industry. Therefore, last year provides guideposts for what trends to follow this year to create a huge win.
Here are 5 trends that you should follow moving forward.
- Explosion of Online Events
Despite the problematic internet connection, last year the online events like corporate meetings, exhibitions, conferences, webinars, and other business events continued.
Professional organizers were able to pivot and learn faster to offer event management services to their client in need of implementing their planned events despite the pandemic.
Alongside this learning is the re-education of Generation X and Baby Boomers, which comprised a huge number of work force in the Philippines, on how to work and conduct business online.
Last year, according to We Are Social there are 73 Million Internet Users in a country of 110 Million population as of January 2020. While in a 2019 Social Weather Station’s (SWS) survey revealed that 45% of Filipino adult use the internet.
Indeed, based on my experience last year, clients that are not accustomed and even shunned using the internet and online tools for business transactions are forced, and is now technologically savvy.
Expect that this year online events will become prevalent.
2.Finally, Hybrid Events
Hybrid events before pandemic is a combination of small meetings, conference, exhibition and gala nights or a combination of two of these events. Now hybrid events will mean the marriage of online and offline events.
Finally, hybrid events that will offer bigger potential in terms of reach and a justification of conducting MICE events in terms of ROI.
In a Philippine News Agency released news last December 2020:
The government under the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) signed on Dec. 3 Resolution No. 87, allowing MICE events in restaurants, hotel function halls, mall atria, and venues within hotel premises, which are not used as quarantine facilities.
Venue capacity, meanwhile, will be capped at thirty percent.
According to the DOT, the following types of business meetings will be allowed: workshops, training, seminars, congresses, conferences, conventions, board meetings, colloquia, conclaves, symposia and consumer trade shows.
Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, however, noted that political gatherings, cultural festivities, sporting events, product launches, and social events like birthdays, weddings, Christmas and office parties, pageants, award events, and gala receptions shows are still not allowed.
The 30% capacity usage of a venue you will pay in full and the additional safety costs of staging a MICE events, in the business side, is not an attractive proposition as of the moment.
However, if hybrid events are introduced and becomes successful there will be a huge change in the MICE organizers attitude towards taking risks and implementing their shelved event.
3. Contactless Registration and Communication
The good news of the having a vaccine this year albeit still shrouded in controversy and distrusts paves the way for emphasis on contactless registration and communication in hybrid events.
You can see it in the retail industry, transportation, physical marketplaces and other industries finding ways to be innovative and answer the challenge of how to make the consumers safer.
The latest news of a new strain of the Covid-19 creates a new wave of fear. The goal is to make contactless registration and communication efficient that it will be able to bring Psychological Safety to the public.
Prepare yourself to see new technology on events payment, registration, networking, sales transactions, contact tracing, booth interaction, speaker interaction, etc.
This is not to say that these technology before pandemic is a staple in the global arena. However, in the Philippine we will become more accustomed to these types of technology because the cost of safety and health are incomparable and critical to the revitalization of the events industry.
4. Welcome to Small Meetings, Conventions, Exhibitions and Events
It is a paradox to say that there we will be seeing small meetings, conventions, exhibitions and events. Paradox to those that are accustomed to huge meetings, conventions, exhibitions and events.
But the facts point that this year we will witness these types of events. Again, because of the low confidence level of the public in attending large gatherings, the government policies that restrict large gatherings, the new Covid-19 strain, and the high cost of staging an event. There are other factors that come into play that limits us from doing what we do in the pre-Covid-19 days.
Still, we are social animals. The positive boost to our mental and emotional well-beings of attending events are numerous. Therefore, the demand for smaller events will be high. In fact, smaller events may even offer higher level of experience because it becomes personalized.
5. Presenting Outdoor MICE
It may sound crazy but it’s not!
Outdoor events are safer because of uncontained airflow, coupled with Social Distancing practices and other protocols there is a big opportunity waiting for those willing to organize an outdoor MICE.
According to Mayo Clinic:
The COVID-19 virus is primarily spread from person to person among those in close contact, within about 6 feet (2 meters). The virus spreads through respiratory droplets released into the air when talking, coughing, speaking, breathing or sneezing. In some situations, especially in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation, the COVID-19 virus can spread when a person is exposed to small droplets or aerosols that stay in the air for minutes to hours.
When you’re outside, fresh air is constantly moving, dispersing these droplets. So you’re less likely to breathe in enough of the respiratory droplets containing the virus that causes COVID-19 to become infected. But be sure to wear a mask when you can’t maintain distance from others.
The heat may be unbearable in some occasions but an outdoor exhibition or conferences is worth a try to revive the MICE and Events Industry in the Philippines.
There are 5 trends that you can consider in moving forward this year as an MICE events organizer. These 5 trends may seem obvious but factoring the constantly evolving environment, it is safe to say that these trends will hold not only this year but in the coming years.
May recommendation is create an organic MICE Event Playbook. It is better than doing nothing. Fighting the survival and revitalization of the MICE and Events Industry in the Philippines is not a personal thing but a community undertaking.
We are part of a great industry to help it evolve and cross the challenging bridge of Covid-19 scarred but alive is our contribution to the next generation of MICE professionals.
By Orly Ballesteros
He is the Chief Operations Officer of Exlinkevents. He is also the Education Head of the Philippine Association of Convention and Exhibition Organizers. Lastly, one of the resource persons in the Philippine MICE Academy.