These are difficult times and the events industry is getting creative in order to cope with the ever-changing restrictions on public gatherings. Our customers have been asking more or less the same, pressing questions since March: is it at all possible to organise events in Italy? Can I organise an event to promote my brand, a press conference, a conference, or a team-building session for my employees? We will try to answer all these questions in this post.
Is it possible to organise events in Italy this summer?
The restrictions confirmed on July 15th leave ample room for corporate events, at least in the absence of significant changes in the pandemic’s spread. A good rule of thumb, before proceeding with the organisation of any kind of public event, is to consult the updated provisions on the Ministry of Health’s website, and to contact the toll-free numbers set up by most Italian regions. As far as we know, at the moment, the basic rules that apply to all events are the same as those enforced in shops, restaurants, and offices: face masks must be worn indoors, social distancing should be maintained and mass gatherings avoided, and those who have been quarantined due to symptoms or to having been in contact with people who tested positive for Covid-19 are not allowed to attend any kind of event.
What kind of events should be organised?
For event organisers, restrictions are important variables, because they not only affect safety, but also the actual feasibility of the event, the costs, and the number of attendees. These aspects are particularly important in the case of promotional events, whose effectiveness is closely linked to the number of participants. Event organisers have many obligations, under the official guidelines: they must ensure all attendees have their temperature taken upon entering the venue and they are to keep the attendees’ telephone numbers for two weeks. What the guidelines can’t tell us, however, is how to reconcile these new rules with financial sustainability, how to identify the right venue, or how to calculate the real capacity of a space and make sure that it can be used appropriately. Are there types of events that are more compromised than others because of the new regulations? Many Italian companies are adopting creative solutions, adapting classic formats to the new situation. Outdoor cinemas and drive-ins are perfect examples. These formats are suitable for any type of event involving multimedia presentations, both live or pre-recorded. Both formats make it very easy to ensure social distancing, but also add a touch of retro style to the event, turning what could be perceived as an imposition into a unique quirk that contributes to the atmosphere.
How to make events financially sustainable?
The lifting of the pre-existing event ban was not the solution to all problems for brands, companies, and event organisers. Of course, events can now be organised in Italy, but each individual event has higher costs – due to the necessary sanitization measures – and lower ROI, due to the reduced number of people that can be admitted in indoor and outdoor venues. How do we solve this problem? Is it necessary to resign ourselves to working with reduced profit margins or even at a loss until the end of this crisis? Once again, technology comes to our aid. The creation of “hybrid” events, with real and virtual elements combined to create a flexible, adaptable experience that can be enjoyed on multiple levels. For example, it is possible to organise make events physically accessible to a limited number of people and at the same time offer an equally interactive but cheaper, virtual experience to those who cannot or do not want to participate personally in a public event. This allows the organisers to extend the target audience geographically as well as expanding their target demographics.