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.

Elling Hamso, Event ROI Institute

you don’t want customers to forget you. But you have to be creative about it.

Q: How do you feel about the restrictions that European governments have implemented to contain the spread of COVID-19?

I fear it is too little, too late.

Q: What would you compare this situation to?

There is no comparison.

Q: Economic consequences for the meetings industry have already started to show, what do you expect government institutions to do?

Defer payment of taxes, VAT etc. Make available loans or loan guarantees so secure cash flow.

Q: What is your opinion on virtual meetings, as an alternative to live events?

Based on my experience with Multi-Hub meetings at two FRESH conferences in recent years, virtual meetings can be a lot better than what we like to think. But it requires good technology and really good moderation.

Q: What precautions/measures are you taking in your company?

Whatever are the government recommendations at any given time. No travel, home office.

Q: When do you think the situation will go back to normal? Are you optimistic about the summer Olympics?

The more successful governments are in slowing down the pandemic to save lives, the longer it will take until it is over. As athletes need to prepare, which is very difficult in the current situation, the Olympics should have been cancelled already. In any case, they will not happen this year.

Q: Is digital marketing in times of crisis even sensible?

Of course, you don’t want customers to forget you. But you have to be creative about it.

Q: What will happen after we’ve beaten the virus? How will you (re)start your marketing activities?

This is a good time for planning, revising strategies and business plans, investigating inbound marketing and other things we have been too busy to do already.

Q: Are you in contact with colleagues from around the world? Have you talked about any potential solutions?

I try to keep in touch, follow social media and other sources of information. Currently planning a virtual international
dinner for 50 guests.

How concerned are you about COVID-19?