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An Industry Tipping Point

By Bob Priest-Heck

Moving forward through the Coronavirus outbreak

To say that the effects of the Coronavirus outbreak are evolving rapidly would be an understatement. In the last week alone, our reality has shifted frequently and dramatically as we deal with the pandemic response of global institutions and governments. We now find ourselves caught up in a world event that has brought travel, business, and global commerce to a halt like few times in our history.

When I last wrote on this topic, just over a week ago, I shared my hope that the events industry would reach a tipping point — one that would knock down some of our old business models and give way to a new way of doing things. It seemed obvious, and has for a while, that our industry needs a hybrid solution to augment and expand live experience with virtual engagement. It’s a matter of being more agile in how we anticipate and solve for our clients’ needs.

That shift is happening faster than I could have imagined. We have seen suspensions of major cruise lines, theme parks, sports leagues, hotels, casino and convention centers and an abrupt cancellation of virtually all in-person events and gatherings. In the context of this new normal, it is now more important than ever to find creative solutions as people and businesses everywhere navigate the near-term reality of remote operating.

For Freeman, this means finding ways — virtual or otherwise — to support our clients, while continuing to meet their demand for unique and impactful live event experiences. Whether these events take place digitally or in-person, we are committed to designing meaningful ways to keep people connected — now and in the future. As we shift our focus to strategy, creative, digital events live steaming and long-term in-person event planning, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to scale back some of our business operations supporting in-person events.

Our hope and our plan is that this a short-term action that will be reversed when the market recovers. We announced this decision yesterday in an effort to preserve our business so that we can continue to serve our valued clients for generations to come and protect our most important asset — our people. As we adapt to these new and unfolding challenges, we recognize that we are hardly alone, and that the current environment has forced changes big and small for nearly everyone, from the way we go about our daily routines to the way we operate our businesses.

Rather than dwell on the difficulties of this situation, I remain steadfast in my belief that as a people, as a company, and as an industry, we will come out on the other side better and stronger for it. There’s no getting around the hard facts and devastating impacts of this global tragedy, and so I continue to ask myself, what next?

The one thing that’s clear is that there’s no way of knowing what tomorrow will bring. But as we move forward, Freeman is here for our community, as we always have been and always will be. We are in open dialog with industry leaders, clients and valued partners. We are working to access the situation, consider possible outcomes, and collaborate on recovery scenarios. Now is the time to push innovation and creative problem-solving, and we are committed to sharing those solutions with as many people as possible.

As always, it is in coming together and communicating openly that we will get through this.

Still have questions?

Visit our Coronavirus resource page for more information.

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