As we approach the one year anniversary of our first event cancellation due to COVID, we’ve all been asking the same question: When will corporate events return? This post is here sensibly analyse when we might see live events start to resume. There are several key factors which we will look into:
– The vaccine
– Attendee confidence
Although the question of when will corporate events return has many answers, we will look at each area individually and explore various avenues.
At the time of writing, the UK Government have approved two vaccinations, one from Pfizer, and one from AstraZeneca. Vaccinations have already begun, and many people are working hard to instal 2,700 vaccination sites across the UK. The Government aims to vaccinate 2 million people per week, meaning all adults will have had their injection by the Autumn.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:Matt Hancock, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-publishes-plan-for-the-largest-vaccination-programme-in-british-history
The next few months will present a significant opportunity to turn the tide of battle against COVID – I am looking forward to watching these plans bring more reassurance and hope back to people’s lives after a difficult year.
With this in mind, we should be reasonably confident that live events will proceed from October 2021 onwards, just in time for Christmas parties perhaps?
Following the last paragraph, if the population of UK adults receives vaccinations by Autumn, what does that mean for planning?
We can look at the wedding industry for guidance here, as ultimately they are more significant and there’s more pressure for weddings to recommence. Keeping a close eye on the wedding industry, and using it as a template will give corporate events a real-life roadmap to follow.
I expect corporate events to be 1-2 months behind weddings in their return to full capacity. However, corporate events have a shorter planning time, which works to our advantage in this situation. The lead time will ultimately cause delays, but the knock-on effect will mean that corporate events are less likely to be cancelled/rescheduled.
A key stage in answering our question of when will corporate events return is event delivery. By nature, corporate events are somewhat risk-averse, likely causing a gradual delivery of full event calendars.
The pandemic will have taught businesses with existing calendars precisely how those events should proceed. Some may have found a new, more suitable home online. Others, like award ceremonies, may be itching to get back into action.
Consequently, event calendars are likely to be a slow and steady return to maximum capacity in a live format.
After being in near full hibernation for a year, one of the biggest challenges businesses face will be ensuring guests feel confident enough to attend a room full of people. We highlighted this an issue back in May 2020 in our future events report, and unfortunately, the situation has only worsened.
There are practical steps we can take to help guests feel comfortable. Visual cleaning, continuing use of sanitiser, and temperature checks are all likely to become the norm, at least for a while. Attendee confidence will cause further delays, so in answer to when will corporate events return in full, we’re now looking at Spring 2022.
Suppliers and consumers alike are having to protect themselves against this pandemic. Many vendors have faced extreme hardship and had their livelihoods challenged over the past year, while many businesses have also faced revenue issues of their own.
Contracts which protect, and are fair to, both parties will continue to be of utmost importance. We may return to live events slightly quicker if businesses feel comfortable enough to sign flexi contracts, knowing that their liabilities are minimal.
So, when will corporate events return?
In summary, we can estimate that corporate events are likely to start making a slow and steady comeback in November – December 2021. Perhaps Christmas parties will be one of the first events to return!
We expect to see more fuller, typical event calendars by the spring of 2022 and hope to see many large audiences return by that time.
COVID is, of course, an ever-changing situation, which we will continue to update. To stay up to date, please provide your email address.