David Jamilly, co-founder of Theme Traders, says that the events industry will never be the same again but there are things that can be done. Here, Jamilly looks to the future and offers his 10 tips for events professionals

The events industry as we knew it, has been destroyed beyond repair.

After four decades of incremental growth with expansion year after year and layers of sophistication, the bubble has burst rather like a giant Jenga Tower crumbling to the ground.

With memories of so many SWOT – strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threats – analysis meetings over the years who would have thought that a pandemic would be the ultimate downfall?

In those heady days, things were far more focused on competition, excellence and market growth. Occasionally subjects like fire, flood, cancellation, terrorism and succession were discussed… but never the word “pandemic”.

The biggest threat over the years in events was always seen as third-party injury or death because people attending events can behave irresponsibly and unpredictably in the excitement of a live experience. Combined with the potential consumption of alcohol and substances or amateur risk assessment/measures, there were always inherent dangers.

Perhaps more attention should have been placed on those cheesy science fiction films of the 80s and on Bill Gates predictive TED talk in 2015 about viruses.

Socio-economic factors fuelled the last four decades, powered by a huge increase in the world population of 3.6 billion people (from 4.4 billion in 2018 to a staggering eight billion in 2020), increased leisure time, expendable income and the development of mass social media.

This culminated in tens of thousands of event management university students graduating annually into a marketplace where mega global live events leveraged to millions around the planet and global corporations competed to produce the most extravagant marketing events and parties.

Given that the events industry will never be the same again; What sort of skills and mindset will potentially prove the most valuable in a new events arena as it develops?

The following suggestions will perhaps have an important part to play for events professionals in the reality that is now on the horizon.

Mental concentration, self-discipline and focus

Much more work will take place from home and diverse settings. The days of huge office spaces are finished as outlay on offices will be relegated to the lowest budget priority. 
Company associates have seen that it is possible and economic to work more remotely and to pocket the savings

Advanced computer and IT skills


What had previously been the domain of experts will become the norm for all event 
professionals including computer troubleshooting, process and interface. You will not want to fall foul of technology in tomorrow’s marketplace.

Mobility/Flexibility
develop the ability to travel light and move fast

This already is a 24/7 industry and planning/prep times will shorten even more. The peaks and troughs of seasonality will exaggerate them even further.

Budget/Financial acumen

Work will be more sporadic and budget pressure will be more intense. 
You will really need to know your true breakeven and what you honestly and realistically need to exist both personally and business-wise. 
You cannot do enough budget/spreadsheets or get enough advice on this subject and stick to them!

Global mindset

As the world becomes a smaller place in terms of virtuality, with programmes like Zoom, Teams, Remo etc, it is increasingly important to understanding local customs/protocols and traditions. It will be a big advantage to have some language skills as well.

Creativity and innovative inquisitiveness


Virtual events will continue to emerge in all shapes and forms and within a few months, we will be participating in virtual events worlds that we never dreamt of before.

Friends you can call on

Working in isolation will become a more frequent occurrence and it will become increasingly important to have colleagues you can call on and share with and get support/knowledge from. This is both for mental health and professional reasons!! Joining online forums like the Event Professionals Facebook group is a good start.

Industry experience

Experience in all the stages of event delivery from conception to completion will be a prerequisite to working with the smaller supply chains that will be the norm of the future

Passion

If your heart is not 100 per cent in the joy of working in the events industry and service sector (where you happily enjoy serving event’s needs) you will alas, find it very hard to survive in tomorrow’s event arena.

Communication skills


Clear, kind and genuine communication ability has always been one of the corner foundation stones of events and never more so than now.