We can’t quite work out whether it feels like a lifetime ago or just yesterday that 2020 started taking a turn, but according to our calendars it’s been almost 6 months to the day since lockdowns really started kicking in. Ever since then, the events industry has been adapting to relentless uncertainty and shifting landscapes.
Here at Ticket Tailor HQ it’s certainly been an interesting time trying to understand what the future holds and how we can best support event organisers both today, and then through to the ‘new normal’.
Aside from lying around in the heatwave trying to predict what might happen we thought it would be great to ask you, our event organisers, what has been going on over the last 6 months and what your outlook is for the next 6-12 months.
We had nearly 500 responses and for every response we donated £1 to COVID relief funds; so thank you to everyone that gave a few minutes to help us learn a little about what is going on out there! Rest assured we’ve read every response and it’s currently forming our decisions around how we develop the product.
Anyway, enough of the preamble, we know you just want to see the results….
What has been the impact of COVID-19 on your events?
Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of events (67%) have been cancelled or postponed. Those most likely to run events in a different way tended to be organising weekly events such as courses or classes. Those most likely to cancel were running larger yearly events.
Have you sold tickets for any online events over the last 6 months?
Next we specifically asked if respondents had sold tickets to any online events over the last 6 months. Amazingly, nearly 42% of all event organisers said they had run some sort of online event and sold tickets for them. Over 90% of those who ran online events had sold their tickets through Ticket Tailor and 95% of those said they’d continue to use us into the future (which we were very happy about!). The majority of online events have been for courses or classes, but we’ve also seen hugely successful quizzes, comedy nights, music performances and more.
Do you plan to run online events once things get back to normal?
We were really interested to understand if event organisers running online events anticipated going back to in-person events at some stage, or whether they were online event converts. Interestingly 87% of event organisers said they would continue to run online events - either solely (11%) or with a combination of live and in-person (76%). This tells us that those of you that have run online events have definitely found some benefits of entering the virtual world - be that lower costs, wider reach or just being able to do totally new things!
When would you expect your next in-person event to take place?
The elephant in the room for the events industry is clearly this one. When do we anticipate in-person events to start happening again. The clear thing here is that every event is different; if you are running a workshop for 10 people, you will have a very different risk profile compared to a 60k person festival. However, what comes across from this question is that there is still a lot of uncertainty around and event organisers are taking tentative steps towards reopening. 57% of those surveyed are planning to wait until next year or still are unsure about when they will open their doors again.
To give an international breakdown of responses - US event organisers are most likely to wait until 2021 (66%), followed by the UK (52%) and then the rest of Europe (42%). This suggests confidence is starting to build in mainland Europe and that some normality might start coming back to events towards the end of the year.
Which of the following best describes how you anticipate your events changing over the next 6-12 months?
Finally, we wanted to know the likely impact on your events over the next 6 to 12 months. Unsurprisingly the top 3 all relate to running less in-person events and ensuring they are safe. Lower down the pecking order there are some more interesting findings. For example, on balance event organisers are slightly more likely to increase their ticket prices as opposed to decreasing them - no doubt this is in a bid to recoup revenue from lower capacity events and increased costs of implementing social distancing. The results also suggest we’ll likely see an increase in the use of seating charts to enforce social distancing, and time slots to manage capacity of high frequency events.
If there’s one thing we’ve learnt so far from this pandemic it’s that event organisers are an entrepreneurial bunch, who in the face of huge challenges, get creative and will find a way forward. So, though the outlook remains uncertain we have full belief that the industry will bounce back, driven primarily by the event organisers ability to adapt. Thank you to everyone who completed the survey (it was super helpful!) and keep an eye out for product updates aimed at helping you overcome the challenges of the next 6-12 months. Be in no doubt; Ticket Tailor is here to support you!