In February 2020, news of the Coronavirus started seeping into global media. At that point, it was on the public’s radar, but nobody except for China, was taking it seriously. It was on the other side of the world, and people kept about their daily lives.
In March 2020, fear and concern grew more and more each day as the cases started to trickle in across the world. By March 15th, Italy had been overtaken by the virus. As Italy hit its peak, the USA started to see the vast spread.
The core of the U.S. was shaken first through the events industry. The NBA shut down all operations and all sporting events were canceled. March Madness became March Sadness. Live Presidential debates took place without audiences. Coachella was delayed for 6 months. Global industry conferences began to cancel and refund attendee ticket sales. Spring holiday celebrations were canceled, and brides-to-be began to postpone their big day.
One after another, events across every industry began to cancel or reschedule. One after another, venues, stores, and shops are closing their doors for what everyone hopes is temporary.
The world has completely changed in a matter of weeks.
The events industry is certainly not the only one that took a hit, but the reality is, until this virus is either eradicated or cured, events are out of the question.
As I look at these times, I remind myself of the unification this situation has induced. Rich or poor, young or old, purple or green – We are each feeling the same fears, we are each praying for the same things, we are each realizing the weight of our own actions, we are each hoping and dreaming about the day we walk out of these woods with our loved ones.
Every single person is feeling these feelings and asking these questions, and none of us are going to forget what is happening right now. This entire experience is being tattooed in our minds and will trickle into our behavior in the years to come. When we, as a society, walk out of this, how we treat each other, what we do with our time, the way we treat our bodies and our health, our hygiene, our buying behaviors, our values, our insights – everything will be impacted.
Yes – Event Planners, Vendors, Designers, Caterers, and everyone else in the industry is at a halt in business, but we are all engines go in business planning and trend watching. This time is meant for us all to take a step back and reevaluate.
The feelings and experiences we are all going through will trickle into the events industry once everything is back up and running. People will have a new appreciation for hand sanitizing stations at an event. They will be more accustomed to eating healthy food and our catering options may bend toward green rather than fried. The ‘Mindful Moment’ will be better received during an opening keynote than it once was. The people may deviate toward 6-top rounds rather than 10-top rounds. Who knows how deep this will go, but it will go nonetheless.
Keep your eyes and ears open to others, and most importantly to yourself, during these times. The way you take your lessons from this into planning for your next client will set you apart.
I personally find fulfillment in creating a setting for people to come together and experience an event that will create lasting memories. I find joy in bringing people to one place where they foster, develop, and grow new ideas. I know that if I do my job well, people will leave my event better than when they walked in, whether through raised spirits, challenged thinking, or new connections and opportunities.
With that said, during this lull of uncertainty, there are two things we can all be certain of as Event Planners -
- We have incredibly impactful jobs and roles to play in bringing people together to create positive experiences
- Society will be more eager than ever to get out of their house and shake off the quarantine by attending or hosting an event
A bounce-back is coming. Our efforts are only on pause so we can come back to the game rested and ready for the new era of events. Take this time to pour into your business and prepare for the wave that is to come.
Paresa B. Noble
Owner | Nobleer Event Production