The event industry has come a long way with exponential growth in the past couple of years. The main reasons for this growth are: cutting-edge technology, innovation in communication, and the creative genius of event planners. However, there are many challenges in event industry that lie ahead this year.
Challenges set the right course of action for any business and event industry isn’t an exception. We’ve listed the biggest challenges that are expected to become major turning points for the event industry and its growth this year.
CHALLENGES FACING EVENT INDUSTRY IN 2019
1. Tight Budgets
The year 2018 has been a good year for the event industry. 2019 is going to be a little tougher as far as budgets are concerned. As per IPA Bellwether report 2018- Q3, there is going to be -1.1% downward revision of event marketing budget. The budgets as such aren’t going down, but we are factoring in the rise in overall cost of organising an event.
There are simple hacks that you should be using to make the most from a limited budget. One, look for volunteers than hiring temporary staff; two, ditch expensive budgeting software and shift to basic excel; three, use local talent to save lodging and travel costs; and four, seek sponsorship from local business rather than global business players.
2. Strict Compliance and Laws
There are different laws that apply for every industry. Fortunately, event industry was not under the scrutiny of any major law till 2018. GDPR has been a game changer where all organisers have to be extra careful in using the data of event attendees, sponsors, and other involved parties. It may be an EU directive, but it’s supported by the British government. Therefore, GDPR will have a significant impact on the events industry as a whole.
We have mentioned earlier that data security and collection is going to be a trend in 2019 that will define the industry. However, this will be one of the main challenges in event industry as many attendees, sponsors, volunteers etc won’t be comfortable in sharing much information. This will directly impact the event organisers in two ways. One, it will impact post event marketing due to reduced reach. Two, organisers will incur added cost in securing better technology to keep the recorded data secured.
3. Increased Focus on Audience Engagement
Let’s just face and accept the fact that people look for different experiences every time. They don’t pay for an event just to develop business but crave for an overall experience. You have to provide more creative solutions to engage your audience. Though technology seems as a natural choice, we suggest not to overdo technology. A humane touch still goes a long way in fostering longer partnerships.
Be more creative and give your attendees an experience that they can’t stop telling people. This will mean free marketing even after your event! Let people understand that we aren’t machines as yet. Give them opportunities to learn and a better reason to buy tickets for your event.
4. Securing Sponsorships & Partnerships
While sponsoring an event, the only motive of a sponsor is a multiple fold ROI on their spend. More event organisers are locking horns for on-boarding sponsors for the same category. Therefore, 2019 will see reluctance among sponsors/partners. After all, it is their money that you’ll be using to make your event a success.
As published by eventbrite, be more realistic and creative in reaching out to sponsors. Show them concrete data in a comprehensive format. Always remember that sponsors are businesses who love their numbers more than they love you. Use simple pie charts and graphs to show them the impact. The best approach is to study your sponsor before reaching out. Figure out what they want or seek and offer them exactly that. Get sponsorship for the next year event in this year only by offering low risk sponsorship solutions.
This is one of the biggest challenges in the event industry to watch out for. However, avoiding certain mistakes can help you build successful partnerships.
5. Impact of Brexit
This may sound specific to the UK only, but it is not. After the Americas, UK is the largest event organizing industry in the world with more than 1.3 million events. The UK event industry is worth GBP 42.3 billion. The exact outcome is yet unknown, but this will heavily affect the event industry of Europe and the UK. Three main costs expected to be higher than before are: the cost of logistics, hiring cross-border temporary staff, and securing booths and sponsorships.
Moreover, the current political scenario might not allow businesses to exhibit across border. This will also affect the global event industry as most of the companies have only one office in Europe. Brexit will not only affect local business but also international business with heavy taxation and logistical bottlenecks.
6. Focus on Safety & Security
Safety and security were sitting lowest on the priority list of event organisers until now. But times have changed. There has been a rise in communal riots, general gun attacks especially in the US etc. Events are more prone to such happenings, as large gatherings become easy targets. Event organisers will have to be more cautious this year. Contact the local security experts if you are organising your event in a different country. Carry out a risk assessment in advance. Find out if the venue is prone to any hazard or has experienced a mishap in the past.
Few of the measures that can be taken are: engage with your security advisors; understand the risks involved with the event; be ready to make last minute changes; document your risks; and stay vigilant. Apart from security, pandemics have been on a rise. Event organisers have to be ready in case they face such situations. This report published by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is a perfect guide on how to handle such situations.
You can’t imagine life without challenges, let alone events. 2019 is going to be a testing ground for all the organisers in the event industry. You will have to be more creative to convert the above mentioned challenges into opportunities. These challenges will also open up avenues for you to foster better partnerships. For instance, seek sponsorship from a security company. This relationship might last for years!