The State of Events

How will COVID-19 change the event industry?

A black swan event often comes with a crisis. The great uncertainties make forecasting the future close to impossible, but we thought we'd give it a try. We asked altogether 497 event professionals based in Northern Europe how they see the future of events. All in all they had planned 4973 events between March and May 2020, which were forced to be cancelled, postponed or re-created online.

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Lyyti State of Events 2020 Report


The event industry changed in a few days

Will this black swan kill the event industry? Probably not. However, in short-term we need to understand and adapt to the current situation to succeed. Many companies have been forced to pivot their event strategy to cope with the current situation.

In the beginning of February, 2020 the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was one the first major B2B events to cancel due to COVID-19, and after that we have seen a domino effect, as well as country restrictions to prohibit events with over 500, 50, and now 10 participants. It’s obvious that companies, big and small in various types of industries, which have events as a cornerstone touchpoint, need to rethink the way they do things in order to not lose against the virus.

During the period between March and May 2020, all in all 4973 events were planned by the respondents. The large number, 4973 events, emphasises the importance of events as part of companies' business and marketing strategies.

Näyttökuva 2020-4-7 kello 13.46.05

Expert interviews

This time has tested
our ability of innovation
and agility

"Instead of physical events we have offered streamed performances and concerts, and free delivery of your restaurant dinner, more safely served at home. We will do what we can to help our customers through this, and in the meantime plan how we can continue to offer them extraordinary events and experiences when this pandemic is behind us.”

Jennie E. Gillberg

Jennie E. Gillberg
Head of Amex Experiences
at American Express

It’s important to find
new ways of doing things

"There are alternative ways of bringing employers and employees together, and some events we have been able to turn viral, such as trainings and seminars. However, all events simply can’t be taken to the web, since the actual environment plays a crucial part in terms of the experience. You can’t experience a golf court or an amusement park online. These events will have to postponed and we believe there will be excitement when we’re back on track."

Aarne Töllinen

Aarne Töllinen
Chief Marketing Officer
at Barona

Live encounters will definitely
make a comeback

"When all of this is over, I believe people will have the feeling of breaking free. Us humans are a social breed and as such we long for physical encounters and the feelings and experiences they bring us. Live encounters will definitely make a comeback and I also hope and believe that social responsibility and green values will be a big theme. These have been notable themes before the virus as well, but especially now both organizers and participants will prefer local productions."

Osnat Mangs
Event Architect and Partner
at Sisters Inc

What does the Future of Events
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