Short-Term Predictions for Live Events in 2021

ITA Group
ITA Group

small live event risk mitigation

Events are starting to come back. Slowly but surely. And we couldn’t be more excited.

As more people get vaccinated, comfort levels improve. More clients are considering holding in-person events with on-site COVID-19 testing and other safety protocols to make attendees feel more comfortable.

Recent data from the EventMB State of the Industry Report confirms that heath safety is a #1 priority for event marketers this year when they select a venue for their live event. While current health risk mitigation measures (social distancing, mask wearing and testing) will still be important, we will likely see new protocols as well. On average, 15% of event operations and logistics budgets are expected to be allocated to health, hygiene and safety.

Ultimately, the best thing any event planner can do is be ready. Today’s live events require more than they did yesterday. That’s why ITA Group has partnered with Eurofins—a proven and long-standing leader in a growing field—to deliver event professionals a health risk mitigation solution for live events.

Related: ITA Group’s VP – Event Management Sarah Haines and Eurofins’ President Sean Murray discuss building attendee confidence and what to do if someone tests positive.

As you look at the year ahead, keep these event predictions in mind.

New Bookings Are on the Rise

While current interest in smaller and regional events will continue through early 2021, larger meetings and events will likely be targeted for Q3 and Q4 2021. We’re already seeing new bookings—not just rebookings—and that’s certainly something to be optimistic about.

Group Demand Is High Due to Rebookings

It was already tight before the pandemic, and now the industry is basically trying to move two years’ worth of groups into 12 months between mid-2021 and early 2022. Add to that the need for significantly more space than before to ensure social distancing—it’s a challenge.

Industry wide, approximately 60% of groups chose to rebook versus cancel, so space is at a premium. If clients are flexible with dates and willing to be creative with space, it makes it easier.

Mobile Workforces Will Drive Group Business Demand in the Future

Prior to the pandemic, an Eventbrite survey found that 71% of adults agree that attending live events makes them feel more connected to other people, the community and the world.

According to a report from CBRE, a more remote workforce will demand more opportunities to connect in person with colleagues, clients and others in their network, and conferences and conventions are ripe to benefit from the increased demand. Millennials and Gen Z thrive on in-person interaction and the chance to stimulate their minds. They want to converse, learn something new and have an experience.

Prepare for Ownership Changes at Upscale Resorts

Current property owners are facing hardships unlike many have ever experienced. This means we’ll likely see a stronger focus on the importance of vetting partners and ensuring financial stability during planning. Use this time to prepare for a future of opportunity and to forge closer relationships with partners.

At the same time, it’s likely there’s going to be very little new supply of meetings hotels and therefore very little competition to cater to the increasing demand. That means five years from now, it will absolutely shift to a seller's market.

Small & Regional Events Will Continue to be Popular

Now that people are more reluctant to travel lengthy distances, companies are focusing their event destinations on local and regional destinations that are closer to their headquarters. There is also growing domestic interest. Some of the programs that might have been looking at Europe (which might not come back strong until 2024) are now considering U.S. or Mexico.

Increased Health Risk Mitigation Procedures

The global pandemic has increased awareness of sanitation practices worldwide. For the comfort and safety of your meeting or event attendees, create rigorous plans to prevent, detect and respond to potential outbreaks.

Come Together to Provide Support

If anything, many event organizers are being pushed out of their comfort zone. The best thing you can do is stay connected. Be proactive with options and ideas in case an alternative plan is needed.

Want to learn more about the ways you can prepare to mitigate health risks for live events? Download the white paper today!