There is no doubt that the global COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world. It has changed the way people live their lives and has also caused the corporate world to rethink how business is conducted and transacted.
Along the way, it has made people realise even more, the importance and value of friendships, personal contact and, most of all, a smile on someone’s face!
BC (before COVID) the notion of a friendly smile was appreciated, but since our faces have been covered by masks we have come to realise the true significance and meaning of a smile!
A smile changes everything.
Please forgive my melancholy; I only mention it as a way to explain a bright future we have as an industry to reconnect with people face to face – LIVE.
We do have some challenges emerging however and these must be controlled for that bright future to flow fully.
Recently, depending on which state you are based in you may have seen news coverage that the WA Premier has said that the WA borders are likely to be closed until April/May or maybe June 2022!
As a national industry we want to celebrate the reconnection and have all states involved. Closed borders affects exhibitors, delegates to the conference and buyers and not be forced to leave one or two out.
Adding to the dilemma the Victorian government recently announced a number of major sporting events have changed dates, such as Melbourne Grand Prix, and have ongoing restrictions/rules in place for large events set so far to be in place until the end of April. These changes will impact business events that have planned dates that now may be further impacted through increased costs like accommodation and travel not to mention availability.
The above two things do not augur well for the first events coming out of the global pandemic in 2022 as we need to get some consistency back into our calendars, schedules and way of operating. We needed to be united as one national industry.
Adding to the pressure the industry itself is cannibalising its own success with a number of allied industry events in the last three months announcing dates that directly conflict with other events, some direct competitors, others some form of crossover. It will be interesting to see how many are prepared to run whilst visitors from some states will be excluded from attending due to borders and whether this now impacts other events again!
Given the size of the market within Australia we would find running a national event that precludes a state from participating in any form that the organiser is putting their profitability ahead of the industry’s success and surely the focus should be about all inclusive.
The scenarios above are mere facts of the situation and are not about politics; they are based factually on the information we have today.
A smile for 2022
I think you will agree that given the past two years, all events coming out of the COVID-era should be an unashamed celebration that reconnects the whole industry.
We need all borders open, allowing people to travel freely, and there is a large chance international speakers, exhibitors and buyers will be able to attend as it is anticipated all international borders by this time will also be open.
We cannot predict the future – we can only make the best decision based on the information we have at the time. As an industry we need to take a greater holistic approach to get all events and all contractors and partners through, as it’s in the best interest of the entire community, in all states and territories. But above all, we know you can’t compete with in-person with a huge SMILE on your face, not covered by a COVID mask will be a true celebration, reconnecting the industry at an event with all the key business ingredients and some fun.