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The Meeting & Events Industry Will Bounce Back Through Digital Booking

Posted by Olivia Brendel on Mar 12, 2020 3:48:07 PM

By now, all general event spaces, restaurants and hotels have felt the financial burden of COVID-19. Cancelled events, low lead volume and now government regulations are causing meeting and event businesses to suffer. 

First and foremost, we encourage you to please follow CDC recommended precautions and put your health and public health above all else. 

As event professionals make difficult decisions and adapt to choices of clients and employees, many are thinking, “How will events bounce back?”

For the foreseeable future, the industry will be defined by digitally planning & re-planning events. We will lean on technology to conduct the tasks we would normally do in person. For instance, replacing site visits with selling through photos, PDF event decks, virtual tours, and marketplace profiles. 

It’s only natural to look at the hospitality industry’s past to help pave a future. The 2008 - 2009 financial crisis accelerated the transition from the traditional travel agent to online travel agencies (OTAs). VenueBook predicts we will see the same acceleration from offline to online booking for meetings and events over the next 12 to 24 months. Massive exogenous economic shocks like what we are experiencing with COVID-19 can create unprecedented changes in behavior in an industry going through hardship.  

Event planners want to book digitally. They are used to sophisticated search and discovery and digital booking in all other areas of their lives. Venue experiencing unprecedented cancelations and loss of foot traffic must think differently about how to capture meeting and event spend.  

Just like 2008-2009 in online travel, extreme circumstances will once again lead to extreme behavior change. Offline event planning will be replaced with automation, faster turnaround and the power of digital booking. In a climate of fear, the meeting and events industry must remain calm, thoughtful and prepare for a digital first booking climate.

Topics: Event Planning, Corporate Events