As everything is settling back into its pre-coronavirus tracks, the meetings industry is still waiting for the situation to normalize itself. Lifted regulations will not bring back business like nothing has happened, yet everyone is supposed to survive by their own means. We wanted to hear how meeting planners are coping with the situation, what COVID-19 means for their businesses and how they see the future of events.
MITJA ŠPES, CEO at FACTUMEVENT
Q: How would you introduce yourself to someone who doesn’t know you?
An all-round out of the box event planner, Mitja Špes, who manages and coordinates the company FACTUMEVENT. His ideas know no boundaries and out of the ordinary is his challenge. Creating stories and festivals in the fields of gastronomy, culture, sports and music. Stories with inspiration.
Q: What is your love story with the world of events?
The »love story« began like any love, love at first sight… but in the case of events… love at the feeling of the first event… this awoke a passion for organizing… from an early age an interest in organized things, the desire for coordination and the vision of the event organizer profession. In the past, this profession was more an illusion than reality, but it has become a worthy and modern profession. The world of events is an experience with unlimited creativity and experience. It is a world of pleasure and illusions that you transfer to the real world.
Q: How has the coronavirus epidemic affected your business and survival?
The epidemic completely impeded the operation and functionality of FACTUMEVENT, as well as the operation and survival of the company. It has completely stopped our content and business. As a result, funding or the revenue part has stopped and as self-employed, I was left without an income overnight and consequentially also all subcontractors, contractors and students. Our primary activity has been stopped and disabled. Regardless of the removal of restrictions the planned content is difficult to implement as there is always some doubt regarding profitability and the possibility of implementing the content.
Q: How long can you endure the quarantine as a company and as an individual?
Expectedly until the autumn, due to savings. After paying all the fees and operating costs, the savings will also melt away.
OUR CONTENT CANNOT BE IMPLEMENTED AFTER A WEEK OF RELAXED MEASURES
Q: How satisfied are you with the country’s measures so far? What could be improved upon?
Given that our operation is still disabled (festivals, events with 500+ visitors), we would expect extended help measures as well as non-refundable subsidies for our preservation in the future and the possibility of activity realization in a healthy environment. Unfortunately, our content cannot be implemented after a week of relaxed measures but requires several months of preparation and planning, which in turn brings costs and investments.
Q: How will the virus change the essence of organizing events – socializing?
It requires more preparations, more measures (disinfection, more informers to control visitors, more hygiene requirements, access of visitors and service providers will be limited, which consequently affects the revenue. In our opinion, the next events will be of a boutique, specialized nature, and in FACTUMEVENT we are preparing for a future of a hybrid event implementation system (real-time connectivity with the virtual world) in areas that enable this. But certainly not where direct social contact is needed and in gastronomy, where senses must be involved.
Q: When do you think we will be able to move with full steam ahead?
With full steam, but differently… I hope that soon, I believe that the epidemic will leave a multi-year mark and, consequently, many years of rehabilitation will follow. By re-investing in new stories and creating new concepts, there is a longer period of redevelopment and it is certainly too optimistic to expect that everything will be the same at the end of this year.
Hope dies last and creativity gives us new impetus.
Q: What comes after the pandemic?
I hope not a new wave, a new epidemic, or newly discovered virus :) Now is the time for a new reality, a new way of thinking with a combination of thinking about maintaining good content through adaptation. I hope that what is coming is also awareness and the importance of cooperation and networking at the local and national level for building quality content and opportunities for continuation.