• The Future of Events will be Hybrid (Tim Brown)

      Brown, Tim; orcid: 0000-0002-8654-8952 (Goodfellow Publishers, 2021-04)
      In early 2020 a pandemic was declared following the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the globe. As a result, numerous governments worldwide implemented strict measures to limit the movements of their populations to prevent increases in COVID-19 infections (Ludvigsen & Hayton, 2020; Mohanty et al., 2020). These restrictions included regional and national ‘lockdowns’ which severely restricted personal activities, with all but essential workers urged to work from home, schools and universities closed and moved online, and only critical business (such as supermarkets and pharmacies) to remain open (Richter, 2020). Many industries were affected by the lockdowns, with the tourism, hospitality, and events industries most severely affected (Mohanty et al., 2020). The Meetings Industry Association (mia) reported that in the UK the impact of COVID-19 on the events industry has resulted in £ billions lost in revenue through cancelled events and declines in enquiries, and that over 126,000 event jobs in the UK have been lost to date (mia, 2020), with fears this could increase to over 500,000 job losses without more government support (Fullard, 2020). This picture is mirrored in other countries, such as the USA, where it is outlined that 46% (8 million people) of those working in food, travel and events have lost their jobs (Dubay, 2020). Events are a global industry, worth $ trillions annually (Events Industry Council & Oxford Economics, 2018), and the shutdown of events presents an existential crisis to the industry which may take years to recover (EventMB, 2020b; mia, 2020; Mohanty et al., 2020).