Until recently, we’ve been entirely reactive to the coronavirus crisis. Now I’m starting to see news and signs of hope that means we should turn our attention to the future. It’s time to be proactive and plan our way through a long recovery period to the future of events – whatever the future may look like.
Over the last few weeks, we’ve focused on gaining control over the chaos and minimizing damage. We’ve had to adapt and do it fast. For companies like AVFX, it has required a series of well-measured steps to protect our employees and ensure the survival of our company.
- To understand the overall situation with the virus and the economy, read this piece from the CEO of Forrester Research.
- To start looking forward to recovery within the events industry, read this article from the Event Leadership Institute.
The key to planning for recovery is to know what we cannot control. We need to be more flexible and fluid than we have ever been before. I don’t aim to create “a plan,” but rather a menu of plans – different levers we can pull to take fast action should the recovery move faster or slower than we anticipate.
At AVFX, we are building multiple paths to the recovery of the events business. We do not see the next 6 – 12 months as anything “normal,” so we are working towards being ready for the “new normals” we will encounter along the way. You can imagine these will include a combination of entirely virtual events, virtual events from a broadcast studio, hybrid virtual/live events, the return of live events, the return of conferences, and the eventual return of trade shows.
AVFX has been working hard to better organize our staff for virtual events. We’ve been successfully producing virtual events for years – usually with a live audience at the recording. Now, we’re working with clients to produce events hosted online and remotely, from our clients’ homes or from our studio’s stage. Webcasts are a different event style: think more like a broadcast TV producer than a meeting planner. Our producers have already supported several client webcasts, and we are reorienting our staff to more effectively guide our clients through every step of the process to produce their own virtual event.
I don’t see live events coming back with the flip of a switch. There will be a long transition period. Small events will come back first, followed by larger and larger events until we see large conferences and trade shows again. At the same time, you have events in your plans for 2020 and you may not know what to do about them. My advice is to proceed with planning – we don’t know what we don’t know. Our producers are actively working with clients right now on their future live events (some now with a virtual event backup plan). The prospects of live 2020 events remain uncertain, but we still need to develop plans as if they are going to happen — and prepare for all possible outcomes. We’re here to work with you on your events today.
AVFX is adjusting our own strategy to be a flexible events technology company adapting to our changing world over the next twelve months. If you would like to hear more about our strategies, then let’s find time to talk and I will lay them out for you. I’d like to hear your concerns and plans. We’re ready to share our thinking and collaborate with you.
As a business, AVFX is fine. We have plans in place that are keeping the lights on, our employees employed, and our customers supported. While we’ve made many changes to our business recently, we have been able to adapt without letting go of any of our employees. We take pride in all of our employees and their unique, vital contributions — we’re not abandoning the people that make us who we are.
Moving forward, we still have to wait to see what’s around the next corner. Just know that we will be here when you need us to support your next great event, virtual or live.
President & CEO