In these challenging times, Kongres Magazine is trying its best to provide meeting planners with the most relevant and useful information regarding the spread of COVID-19. We also want to share opinions from key members of the meetings industry.
We asked key opinion makers from the meetings industry for their thoughts on the situation and how they are coping with COVID-19.
Angeles Moreno, Creative dots
I hate to see my beloved industry injured but we must open our minds and see THAT we are not the “ugliest in the class”
Q: How do you feel about the restrictions that European governments have implemented to contain the spread of COVID-19?
The WHO defines these measures as “the most ambitious, agile and aggressive disease containment effort in history”. What else can I say? I may imagine it´s extremely difficult to be a goverment in this crisis but I can think in some great alternatives that would have loved to try before the full package of restrictions.
Q: What would you compare this situation to?
The most similar situation that I remember was the financial crisis of 2008, but that was a structural crisis of the financial system that was simply not sustainable, whereas this is a conjunctural situation that it´s impacting in economy, society and its a reseting of system. I have no other comparison but can imagine is similar to a bacteorological war, the ones you see in the movies!
Q: Economic consequences for the meetings industry have already started to show, what do you expect government institutions to do?
Indeed the meetings and events industry is seriously damaged, but it´s not the only one. And don’t get me wrong, I hate to see my beloved industry injured but we must open our minds and see that we are not the “ugliest in the class”, we are just suffering a system reset because the economy has stopped.
In answer to your question on how goverments will handle the situation, I can foresse that in Europe it will be different in each country and will depend on how strong the corporate and organizational network is. Countries that have done their homework and have clearly stated the value of the industry and the power in revenue and employment generation will get more support and recognition than the ones that did not. And unfortunately we, as an industry, never managed to finalized a full pan european strategy which would have given us today a stronger voice.
Q: What is your opinion on virtual meetings, as an alternative to live events?
Virtual events simply do not work the same and I can say very loud that virtual events will not be a replacement of live events, the growth of the interest right now is just because they are the only solution we can even consider. BUT I feel that in this time of isolation and where social connectivity has been 100% replaced by on line connections, we have open our mind to new paradigms and in the new world we will appreciate distance again and will requiere connectiveness qualitative. Live events will have to be designed with value, purpose and a clearly defined strategy.
Q: What precautions/measures are you taking in your company?
We, at the Creative Dots, have postponed new recruitments and have equipped the tCd team with the knowledge and the technology tools to be highly valuable in this new scenario and we are adapting our consultancy services to online formats, Very loyal and recurring customers have already enjoyed this highly valued experience.
In addition to that we decided to pivot our bi-annual event Meet The Expert to on line and we are streghthen a very innovative community with a weekly online meet up to collaboratively redesign the events industry.
Q: When do you think the situation will go back to normal?
Here you will allow me to refer to the document edited by the Zukunftinstitute GmbH entitled: The Post Corona World. We will never return to normal. We are in a historical moment that has changed the future. The world as we know it is disolving. But behind it comes a new world. Back to normal? Who knows… meanwhile try to find the space to get ready for the new world.
Q: Is digital marketing in times of crisis even sensible?
There is a complicated context and we can not ignore the sensitivity of people. A digital marketing strategy is always appropriate as long as it is clearly adapted to the current context. Now is not the time for frivolities or empty messages.
We have not stopped! We will never stop!
Q: What will happen after we’ve beaten the virus? How will you (re)start your marketing activities?
We have not stopped! We will never stop! We are right now doing a full rebranding of the Cretaive dots, new Brand, new messages, new look & feel, new website and new communication strategy. We launched the first on line event for the industry in our market, we have the mission to bring innovation to our industry so we can’t stop now. The Time Is Now!
Q: Are you in contact with colleagues from around the world? Have you talked about any potential solutions?
You can sense that the world is very confused and we have to emphatise with the situation. From our side we have reactivated strategic conversations with potential partners and are in a process to launch a new product service which will be an impact in our sector. We bring and share solutions.