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Can you believe it has now been 4 months since Covid-19 devasted the hospitality industry around the world? There have been discussions, optimistic planning, forecasting and speculation on how things may look going forward. One thing we always knew was that our industry was not going to overcome this quickly and Hospitality Day on May 11 was a tribute to this very reality. We are stronger together! #HospitalityStrong

Social distancing almost sounds like event cancellations but we have adjusted and brought forth smart technologies with live streaming and webcasting in the virtual world, however, people will always have the need to meet with other people whether it is sooner or later. The question we face daily is how can we maximize the value our AV solutions offer despite these limitations? We have learned that by offering leading streaming services with state-of-the-art technology we can do our part to help events run at their optimal level. There will be some challenges as the hospitality industry bounces back to where we used to be, but we continue to focus on our commitment to excellence in AV.

“Meetings Mean Business!” In-person meetings and events bring people together who then support local economies and the travel industry as a whole. As we go from stage 1 to 2 to 3 and who knows how many more, we know events will be very different. Perhaps hotel ballrooms and convention centers will open and space out chairs 6 feet apart or only offer rounds of 4 or 5 for seating. We have already seen hand sanitizer stations at the entrance of all meeting rooms and regular requests to keep sanitizing.

With masks being mandatory indoors the size of gatherings has gotten larger, however, hospitality events are much larger in size and we are bound to be the last to be allowed to resume normal operations. Hotels are implementing UV lights to kill airborne viruses stationed around convention meeting spaces and guest rooms but capacity is still reduced.  Everything international is being paused and the focus has shifted to regional meetings, which reduces larger revenue opportunities. The impact is much larger than other industries and signs show we have a longer road ahead of us than some other industries.

Impact Of Hospitality Revenue On Canada’s Economy

Meetings activity contributes $7.3 billion to the federal government, $6.2 billion to the provinces, and nearly $1.1 billion to municipalities, for a total of $14.6 billion. From March 15 to May 15th there have been 2 months of zero revenue amounting to approximately a loss of 2.5 Billion!

Impact On Event Organizers

Thanks to Meetings Mean Business Canada, we are able to share some key effects on event organizers.

Out of over 6,000 respondents, 27% said their first confirmed live in-person event was set for September and only 8% said it was not until 2021. We know how important events are, and such big delays of upto 6 months provide insight into the condition of our industry.

Also, 79% of respondents said that less than 25% of their planned live in-person events were going 100% virtual or online. We see how there is likely upto a 75% loss in event revenues.

We asked 7,000 respondents, of which 72% predict that going forward there will be the most demand for hybrid events; an event that is a mix of live in-person aspects and online virtual streaming. This shows us how the industry is adapting to keep moving forward with hybrid events, but we still also see a drastic reduction in overall events and much larger scheduled delays.

What Can We Expect In The Future?

Networking at meetings and tradeshows along with nurturing long term working relationships will be impacted as we lose the personal human touch. As a result, if events go online and everyone offers a similar service bundle, we may see greater competition and possibly new players in the market as businesses of other areas try to diversify their offerings. We will all find ourselves with more of a need to differentiate based on technology and pricing, to remain competitive.

As thought leaders in our industry, we focus on education and learning for all those included and wonder how this will be impacted. Associations may not be doing as much knowledge sharing and with memberships going down, people commit less to learning. This could affect mutually beneficial partnernships, member engagement and progressive growth in all aspects of human development, technology and the future of the hospitality and AV industries.

Positivity For The Future Is Key

One thing we know for sure is that when we get through this disruption of service and the virus is under control, either through a vaccine, medication or self-antibodies; live meetings will come back with a roar!

These last few months have taught us all the value of meeting face to face. We hope it happens sooner than later as businesses need to get back to work and so do the people they employ.