The first ADEX Pixel Virtual Expo was held in May 2020 and the second ADEX has already been scheduled for September 11-13th later this year. More than 55,000 online visitors attended India’s largest B2B marketplace, TradeIndia, the first-of-its-kind virtual trade fair. Facebook launched its “Events Feature” recently for in-person events and allow businesses to monetize online events on Facebook.

The social media network also announced that in June 2020, the number of live broadcasts had doubled in comparison to those in June 2019. Among other things, Facebook Events is hosting talks, trivia, recordings, podcasts, cooking classes, meet-and-greets, etc.

This is the virtual face of the changing business world and it is courtesy COVID-19 pandemic. With virtual events the only option for business heads to carry on their work, it may seem like a ray of light for event managers finally. Mohd. Badar, Founder-Director of Lucknow-based HBN Events, has thus called for adapting to technological way out for the event industry. In keeping with the changing face of business, Badar bats for virtual events as the “only option in this pandemic.” He says categorically, “COVID-19 is here to stay. It is not going away any time soon. Now, after a long wait of 5 months and more, it is high time that event managers, especially those based in Tier II cities, must think of ways to climb out of this situation. There is scope of work even in the near future, especially for event managers in smaller towns of India. Virtual Events are, therefore, here to stay, for now at least.”

With the event management industry slowly inching towards a hybrid avatar – a mix of physical and virtual interaction – HBN Events has been spearheading this change all the way. As Badar informs, “With the help of digital space and support from established social media platforms like Facebook, it will be easy for business owners like me to carry on my work without many roadblocks.” Among the several changes adopted by the company, the most notable are – focus on innovative technical solutions, using the virtual events for that crucial revenue generation and training the staff to organize virtual events at the same scale and alacrity as the physical ones.

According to FICCI, the Indian media & entertainment industry would have suffered a loss of Rs. 25,000 crores in wake of the pandemic. The lockdown has affected everyone, from the movie industry to the event management business. However, where movies have the option to release on OTT platforms, events have a limited way out, in the form of the virtual events. Speaking about this imbalance, Badar says, “While the movie business and event management has been put on back foot, the OTT platforms have gained viewership and revenue both. With that, the stark socio-economic divisions within the country and the different needs of different industries have also come to fore.”

The event industry is suffering a lot because of the chaos going on due to the coronavirus. Other industries have still managed to overcome the loss, but a lot of tension is building in the event industry. Mr. Badar is looking forward to the government to understand the issues which the specific industry businessman is facing. He believes that if taken into consideration by providing more resources to them the condition will be better and it will manage to become fruitful again within less period.

Mohd. Badar, who has a 10-year-long experience and association with corporate and private events in Lucknow, has also joined hands with the campaign “Open Safe Events To Save Events,” which is raising voice of reasoning in favor of re-opening of events industry so that the business owners are able to generate revenue and assuage the losses faced so far. He has also shared news regarding this on his Instagram handle, Badar.emagination.

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