As COVID-19 continues to rock the world with economic and health-related consequences, business professionals are wise to consider the present and future effects of the virus on air travel, hotel bookings, and event participation. Here are three effects COVID-19 will have on the event industry in 2020 and beyond.
1. Disruptions and Cancellations Are the New Normal
Whether you live in a small nation or a large country, you’re bound by COVID-19 rules on travel that often change from day to day. A city that’s open to travel one day may be closed to all outsiders the next day. In some cities, certain neighborhoods may be on lockdown, while adjacent areas are open to free travel.
International travelers face even more coronavirus-related restrictions. For example, you may be allowed to enter a European nation based on your country of residence, while a co-worker living in a different country is effectively banned from travel in the same Schengen Area of the EU.
Hotels and event centers will cancel events at the last minute if their facilities are tested and found to be infection hot spots. Airlines and other public-transportation providers may have to reschedule or cancel trips due to overcrowding, local restrictions, or other COVID-19-related reasons.
2. Out-of-the-Way Locales Become Desirable Destinations
Companies and industrial trade groups need to revise their typical convention and event destinations to protect their employees. Overcrowded urban and tourist-centric destinations can be hotbeds of COVID-19 infections.
Out-of-the-way resorts and convention centers in areas where COVID-19 rates are low may become the new event destinations of choice. Companies will be forced to change their standard hospitality providers and vendors if their usual event suppliers don’t operate in the smaller towns and venues.
Event planners may be unable to find adequate facilities and suppliers in small towns and resort areas. Sales staff may need to revise presentations and displays due to limitations with local technology and digital-media hardware.
3. Local Requirements Demand Up-to-the-Minute Data
It pays to know about extra precautions at your event destinations. Even when you’re allowed to book business travel to national or international destinations, government agencies at your location will have their own specific restrictions for business guests. For example, in some nations, you’re subject to a minimum 14-day quarantine before you can go out in public.
Learn the COVID-19-related rules at your event locales ahead of your trips, so you pack the right gear and avoid any trouble with authorities at event destinations. In many areas of the world, masks and other health precautions are mandatory. Social distancing may also be strictly enforced.
Schedule extra time to make it on time to appointments and meetings when traveling to out-of-town events. Expect coronavirus-related delays upon your arrival, since check-in and movement around your destination could be delayed by restrictions. You may need to undergo testing for coronavirus or have your temperature taken before you’re allowed to enter a building, city, or country.
Clearly, business event planners and attendees must stay vigilant and do their research before attending functions, conventions, and trade shows in distant cities and countries. Until COVID-19 has run its course, business event travel requires informed planning and increased flexibility to cope with disruptions, unfamiliar locations, and ever-changing local restrictions.