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The vast majority believe we will be back to normal within 12 months…

6 Jun 20212m read

Re-Connect Live Event

Last Tuesday 25 May, Chelsea Football Club hosted the ‘ReConnect – Power of People’ hybrid event on 25 May, which I attended virtually. It featured 40 industry leaders and event organisers who debated the core issues covering how the £84bn sector can successfully emerge from Covid-19.

The event at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium featured a series of panel discussions and interactive polls with attendees that identified a wide range of industry insights.

ReConnect began with a poll asking the audience if they thought most live events would be back to ‘normal’ within the next 12-18 months. Positively a majority of 62% answered ‘yes’, but 23% said they were ‘not sure’, and 15% said ‘no’.

Statistics indicated that although there is rising optimism, many still feel there is a way to go before events truly get back to normal and innovation will be required in the interim.

Live panel discussions were chaired by Conference News editor Martin Fullard. The first panel ‘One Industry, One Voice #WeCreateExperiences’ highlighted the importance of the industry continuing to use this movement of event industry campaigns and associations that have come together to ensure there is a consistent message to government to help the sector get back on its feet. Founders of One Industry One Voice, Rick Stainton of Smyle and Simon Hughes of BVEP were on the panel, to discuss how the campaign had worked successfully and what needs to come from it next.

The next panel was ‘Hybrid Events – How Should They be Designed?’ with Tracy Halliwell the director of tourism for London and Convention Bureau, Hire Space founder Edward Poland and Lucy Adamson, Chelsea Football Club’s meetings and events Manager, who all shared their views.

Halliwell said that London has venue collateral that can deliver: “A lot of venues have been working on hybrid while things have been quiet.” She said she would now like the industry’s help to promote London as a hybrid event hub.

The final panel Tackling Event Anxiety focused on tackling anxiety around attending events, and how the industry can help overcome people’s and organisation’s fears about large events. The ReConnect audience poll found that 55% still had concerns about attending largescale events.

Jo Austin sales director of Lime Venue Portfolio said the sector must lead by example: “It’s just a gradual nudge towards getting people back towards live events and convincing them it’s fine. What’s going to happen this year is that people will go to weddings and see friends at social events. Then the conferences will come back.” She thought that businesses spending social budgets would be part of the process. With corporates being happy to entertain staff to build moral that only live events can deliver.

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