A crisis generally offers a chance to renewal and new developments. During the Covid-19 crisis new digital habits have evolved, from online shopping, visiting virtual museums and consuming culture online to remote working. People had to take a giant digital leap.
Crisis brings progress, as humanity always finds a way forward. A crisis is a decisive stage of a process, a turning point. It brings change, for better or worse. Our response matters; what kind of actions we decide to take. The Greek word krísis derives from krínein, which means to decide. Even if the path forward may seem full of obstacles, seem narrow and steep or full of risk and uncertainty, we have to make decisions.
Now is the time for us to decide how we want to move forward. The Covid -19 sped up the use of digital tools, but on the other hand, it has also slowed down our societies with no travelling, no hobbies and no events to attend. We need to reflect on how we move forward, sustainably.
When creating the roadmap to the new normal we must consider different possible paths of progress. A lot of insecurity is involved in moving forward. Insecurity means not being sure or not feeling safe. It stems from the Latin word cura, meaning care. The meaning of insecurity is “lack of care”. How do we move forward with more care, care of nature, care of each other?
Crises bring pain, distress and insecurity. People are now pondering whether it is safe to go to the restaurant, to the gym, to museums. When will it be safe to attend meetings and events again? The human touch, we took for granted at events, was suddenly taken away. Being together, connecting, smiling, laughing, having eye contact, shaking hands is essential for our well-being, and essential ingredients of successful events.
Event organizers are equally worried about hosting events with crowds of people. One possible outcome of this crisis is that events become more valued than ever. There will be a sense of privilege to attend an event. The event space will become a true scarcity, with regulated safety distances allowing less people at events. We will see a development where fewer guests will have the full live experience, whereas other guests will attend online. The face-to-face experience will be a true luxury.
According to a recent study by Kongres, a European Meeting Industry Magazine, meeting planners say they have taken matters in their own hands, proactively solving problems and making timely decisions. These proactive pioneers did not make a drama out of the crisis, they managed to see opportunities and make decisions that bring business in future.
In the meeting and events industry, the new normal will include high quality virtual events, events with less participants, caring hosts, local suppliers and an atmosphere of appreciation. The companies that deliver these services are the proactive pioneers, the ones who took the hit but reinvented themselves.