“I wish someone had told me” is a series of posts that feed into our inquisitive nature at CN&CO. Each week we hear from someone in our network about something interesting or surprising that’s recently happened or occurred to them – or lessons they learnt. These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. This week’s post is by Llewellyn du Plessis.

Netflix and showmax certainly changed TV around the world and probably helping 80% of the world stay sane during the COVID-19 lockdown. As many of us binge from one season to another of your favourite series, it is hard to think that less than two months ago the events and hospitality industry was booming and breaking record across the world. For those who prefer not to be a couch potato, there is the influx of social media influencers that have now suddenly became baking experts and getting the world to bake.

This all said, it is quite an adaption for any extrovert to coupe during the lockdown and making sure that their mental health does not deteriorate. The closest you will get to that Friday-night party with your friends is joining a Houseparty…..that is on your iPhone and certainly not at your favourite club.

Social events as well as business events play a crucial role in our day-to-day lives and although many things will change and our perception of “normal” will also change dramatically, I’m confident that the travel, events & hospitality industries will make a comeback.

“The travel and hospitality industry has weathered many catastrophic events, such as 9/11 and the Great Recession, and in every circumstance, travel always climbed back and flourished,” said Sooho Choi, global travel and hospitality lead at Publicis Sapient. “COVID-19 is unique in that there’s no clear end in sight or economic model to predict how long the virus will pose a risk,” he said.

There are 4 steps brands can take to make sure that they survive this pandemic and get their businesses back on track.

1. Engage customers to stay top of mind

It is vital to not sit back and watch the world burn at this stage. In this world crisis is is crucial for you to ramp up your customer engagement and make sure that you stay top of mind. Customer interaction is vital in this period and you have a captive audience to do so. Your customers are scrolling through social media pages more than event and video content is being eaten up like sweet cakes.

2. Digitise and streamline your company

Change your way of thinking and evolve with the technology the world has to offer now. For us in the events industry this was a difficult thing to do as our main selling point is one-on-one human interaction and networking. We overcame this by producing a virtual conference, InsureTalk, that still had all the creative elements of a real conference. We have the technology at our fingertips now and your survival depends on using this to your benefit. Digitise where you can and make sure you engage with your audience in creative ways. For those who are in retail, you can get a virtual store up and running within 48 hours…so don’t let excuses make you miss out on great opportunities.

3. Reevaluate your competitive landscape

Competition is always a good thing. This is the reason we evolve our companies and keeps the creative juices flowing. During the lockdown take the time to research your competitive landscape and see where you can improve. Self-reflection is always a good thing and whilst you have a bit of a break from all those board meetings and busy office life, take a look at what you can offer your clients that is different and unique.

4. Bring health and wellness to the forefront

I personally think that the world will learn so much form this pandemic and that we will come out stronger on the other end. This virus forced the world to look at our personal hygiene and the way we interact with each other. Going forward this will improve hygiene regulations at events, in hotels & restaurants as well as in offices. We have a chance to press the reset button on how we do things and improve the way we do things.

Although the economic climate will not be ideal after this pandemic, I’m sure the human race will adapt and evolve once again. This is the time to be creative, be different and offer the best you can to clients.

Stay safe & stay home so we can get back on our feet quicker and make the world a better place for all!

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