14 December, 2020

How event management is expected to change post-COVID

By: Omar Abdulhafiz

The coronavirus pandemic came as a super blow to the entire event management industry. Not only corporate and business events were cancelled, but even social events such as weddings and graduation ceremonies. This dramatic impact raised a lot of questions about whether people will ever be able to gather physically in large numbers again, and if yes, then how soon?

All these concerns have immediately influenced the way we think about event management. For example, videoconferencing software used to be a supportive tool to host guests that were unable to be present physically. Now, however, they became our only way to hold large events over the Internet where we are all far from one another.

So, the question is: Once we overcome this pandemic, what are some major changes that we should expect in the events management sector after COVID?

The short answer is that we should expect corporate events to become more of a hybrid between virtual and physical. 

Health and hygiene

In this context, hygiene is primarily related to physical events, namely in keeping them safe and healthy for the attendees. And it is probably the trickiest part of event management. That’s because while hygiene has always been a priority even before COVID, chances are that the pandemic is going to put it on a whole new level of importance. For that reason, event management personnel will be expected to pay significantly closer attention to the overall cleanliness of the venue and finding the best practices to ensure a safe and healthy convention for all participants.

On this note, here are some examples of notable aspects of health precautions that may become mandatory in the future of events management.

Temperature scanning

As COVID-19 made it essential to ensure every visitor to a public place meets minimum health requirements, temperature scanning is becoming a widely used measure to achieve that. And moving forward, event organizers are expected to utilize it in monitoring attendees’ health upon entering the venue.

Masks and Sanitizing booths

Much like thermal scanning, post-COVID events are likely to feature specialized booths with hand sanitizers and other sanitation materials to ensure maximum hygiene.

Venue decontamination

Aside from overall venue cleanliness, we may also expect a more focus on decontamination before and after the event. This measure has become essential after the COVID-19 pandemic made it necessary to take tighter pre-cautions against potentially dangerous viruses and microbes that may be lurking where you least expect them.

Social distancing

Although we are hoping to be able to hold physical events again soon, we should not expect them to be as crowded as they once used to be. Social distancing is likely to become an important measure in maintaining a healthy event atmosphere. And this is where the virtual part of the event can be very helpful.

By allowing attendance through virtual platforms, we decrease the need for attendees to be physically present at the venue. This, in turn, will certainly reduce the number of on-premise attendees, thus helping us better maintain social distancing among.

Event attendance

While we can expect physical attendance to come back to normal eventually, this doesn’t mean virtual attendance will go away completely. On the contrary, virtual attendance is likely to continue to flourish, and we can think of a couple of scenarios as to how this might happen.

One scenario would be that the event organizers can choose to broadcast the event online for those guests who were unable to be physically present. 

The other scenario could be that participating organizations may choose one or two of their staff to represent them in the event. These representatives may then take out their phones and start a videoconference call with their employers to show them certain parts of the event that seem especially interesting to them and have discussions and meetings with people in tradeshows remotely.

Budget management

Especially in big events, budget management used to be a serious challenge in its own right. There are simply so many things to account for from venue rent to purchasing or renting the equipment, and not to forget catering. In many cases, the event organizers are restricted to a rather tight budget which leaves them juggling all these different expenses. 

It is a no-brainer, however, that virtual events are much cheaper than physical ones. In a virtual event, all we are concerned about is choosing a suitable videoconferencing tool and invite people to connect with us through it, and that’s pretty much it. With that said, the growing dependence on virtual technology will almost certainly lead to a decrease in the overall invoice of holding an event. 


With all that being said, there is definitely a room for hope that things will gradually go back to normal. This hope, however, should not prevent us from coming out of 2020 with a few lessons on how to evolve the event management sector moving forward. These lessons can be summarized as follows.
  • We must ­not take hygiene and cleanliness for granted. We should always be mindful, yet not obsessive, on general order and cleanliness of public spaces.
  • Social distancing, if used properly, really matters in keeping us all safe and healthy.
  • Virtual technology can help us in many ways that we never expected before. Utilizing it appropriately can solve many challenges and even help prevent disasters.
  • Last but not least, we must never lose hope.

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