Who would have thought in January that two months later, normal life would come to an almost complete standstill worldwide – and with it, of course, all trade fairs and events would be postponed or cancelled altogether. The Corona Pandemic poses great challenges for the entire event industry and even plunges many a small or medium-sized company into a serious crisis.

Fascinating possibilities of digitalisation

As an event manager at TÜV Rheinland and lecturer for event topics, I am not only affected myself, but also have a lot of thoughts: How can we best master the current situation and how will the industry develop through the crisis and beyond?

In addition to the many negative news about cancellations and the associated slump in sales, there are also positive experiences. Above all, I am currently fascinated by the new possibilities offered by digitalization and the special creativity that is activated by event organizers and their partners, especially now in times of crisis. For example, many new formats for meetings and congresses have developed, which would never have been possible without the progress of digitalization.

The crisis releases new creativity

But in the meantime, companies are also thinking about larger spaces to maintain the necessary distances, about compulsory masks – or they are simply reactivating (auto)cinemas that have long been written off, in order to show films or even organise concerts there. Here emotions are evoked by interesting performances, but also by popcorn, ice cream confection and cola. You can keep your distance by only giving 2-3 second or third places to everyone, or by letting the staff simply serve the guests in their cars. A really great alternative, which will certainly be maintained after the crisis.
Other great ideas can be found in the catering trade, which develops a wide variety of delivery concepts – and thus employs its staff, and uses the kitchens to full capacity, so that it does not completely lose contact with its customers.

People need personal encounters

Apart from the economic aspects, which of course are currently in the foreground, we must not forget that each and every individual, as a private person, is also affected. Events – these are not only company celebrations, trade fairs or similar large events, but also celebrations in a small, private setting. Also this kind of events are currently subject to the strong massive restrictions. Apart from the normal meetings with friends and family, we all had to celebrate festivals like Easter, but also birthdays, weddings or even funerals in the smallest circle. These are restrictions that additionally burden the psyche.

In the end, all these examples show that personal meetings and therefore events are indispensable even in times of crisis, the personal meeting and therefore events. We humans need the direct exchange with others, the physical closeness and the real experience, with smelling, tasting and feeling. Since no one knows how the crisis and thus the limitations will develop, special creativity is required for all planners of events, whether private or professional.

The industry is changing forever

And so I will continue to follow the creative developments with excitement in the coming weeks and use this knowledge to develop new formats.
Because one thing is certain: the industry will undergo lasting change as a result of the crisis. The new hygiene regulations will remain and larger events will be planned even more critically. But none of this will stop us from meeting, discussing, researching or simply celebrating in real life. In this sense, I am already looking forward to the next joint event.


Astrid Dorsch

Astrid Dorsch

Head of Corporate Sponsoring

Astrid Dorsch is Head of Corporate Sponsoring in the newsroom at TÜV Rheinland. In addition to her job, she also organizes events such as Technology Night or the employee summer party. Born in Hamburg and raised in Cologne, she has made traveling the center of her professional and private life. She tries to incorporate as much culture, sport and enjoyment as possible in her travels. Politically, professionally and privately, she firmly believes in community and is a passionate networker. She likes to be wherever new topics or open-minded and interesting people can be found.

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