2020 was a devastating year for the events industry and, with yet another nationwide lockdown in full force, we are yet to see much improvement in 2021.
With the obvious limitations caused by the COVID-19 restrictions, many event creators have been forced to employ technology to deliver experiences in innovative new ways.
Despite the successes of cyberspace gatherings and immersive digital entertainment, the February reveal of the Prime Minister’s roadmap for lifting lockdown instilled businesses with great confidence. With the end of the pandemic in sight, companies can finally start to look ahead and plan for the return of in-person events.
The execution of the lockdown roadmap hinges on the continued speed and efficiency of the vaccination programme. With more than 25 million of the population inoculated, the United Kingdom are European leaders in the current race for vaccination-induced immunity; this should give businesses sufficient grounds for optimism.
The question is, what exactly does the roadmap mean for events? The Prime Minister proposed that large indoor and outdoor activities should be able to resume from the 17th May (with limits on capacity). Events will be allowed gradually as part of a “4 Step” rollout for the country. The ultimate aim is to remove all legal limits on social contact by June 21st, with all restrictions on events lifted.
According to a YouGov poll, half of the UK population wants to go to a live event this summer. Furthermore, three-quarters of respondents agree that activities are an important facet of British culture.
Venues and event providers can expect a big boom this summer, with many people planning gatherings. There has already been a 250% increase in event bookings compared to pre-COVID-19 levels, as well as a 630% rise in enquiries for private parties. Due to increased demand, it’s believed that event organisers will be able to charge up to 25% more than usual.
The government has been working with representatives from industry and civil society to explore when and how events will be able to return safely. The Events Research Programme will consider crowd size, social distancing and assess environments where transmission is more likely (i.e. indoors).
Set to begin in April, the programme will include a series of pilots using enhanced testing approaches and other measures to run events with larger crowd sizes and reduced social distancing to evaluate the outcomes. The information gleaned will enable sports events, music festivals, large weddings and conferences to be carried out safely.
Although the recent announcements have been a huge development for the industry, they come with many caveats. Flexibility should be integral to every event planning strategy in 2021. It’s important to offer a no fee cancellation policy and the ability for attendees to switch between in-person and virtual events for no additional cost.
At Cordis, we understand that the current situation remains fragile. However, as infection rates drop and the vaccination programme continues with considerable haste; businesses should look to capitalise on the pent-up public demand for summer events.
If you’re looking to kickstart your 2021 event programme for June, get in touch with Cordis today!