The Coronavirus has been making news all around the world. However, many people are unaware as to what the disease actually is and how it is affecting the global economy. Or more specifically, how Coronavirus is affecting the live events industry. In this article we will define exactly what the epidemic is. We will also present solutions for live events that may be facing a downturn in ticket sales. We will discuss how festivals, fairs, races, expos and other events like those in our Marketplace can combat the new issues they are facing. Live events can add virtual components and other features that will help to overcome attendance challenges presented by the Coronavirus.

Learn how Event Hub helps to increase partnership revenue and streamline sponsor/vendor management.

What is the Coronavirus?

According to the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease caused by the “SARS-CoV-2” virus. The outbreak first occurred in China but had begun to spread globally. The International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization on January 30, 2020 declared it an international public health emergency.

While the disease is fairly new and experts are still fully learning how it spreads, it is thought to spread from person to person. It can be spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes, as well as being in close contact with an infected person. For this reason, large live events are beginning to consider canceling in order to prevent the disease from spreading.

How is it Affecting Live Events?

The main concern for many producers is not so much the events themselves but that the travel restrictions. All over the globe there are various restrictions going into place to help slow down the spread of the disease. Many worry that this will result in lower ticket sales.

“I don’t think people are so concerned about mass congregating,” Peter I’anson, of SecureMyBooking.com, which is a ticketing insurance website, told CNBC. “I think they have a fear of traveling and don’t want to be in a small enclosed area with people.”

As a result, travel prices are way down, shares of Live Nation and the S&P 500 overall are down. Travel to many parts of Asia has been restricted. Many travelers coming from parts of China to other parts of the world have been facing quarantine. Until the spread of the disease begins to slow down, the restrictions are not going away anytime soon.

Solutions for Overcoming Challenges of Coronavirus

While it may seem like the only option an organizer has is to cancel, there are some other alternatives that can be explored. The most innovative option for keeping an event afloat is to add virtual components.

Adding Virtual Components at Live Events

One way to help those effected by travel restrictions is to offer more virtual components. This will also help with those who fear travel due to the virus. As event tech adoption becomes accelerated, there are a variety of ways to add virtual elements. Live streaming has already become wildly popular amongst most major music festivals and many large expos. Even a simple Facebook Live can do the trick. In turn, the event could even attract a whole new audience by implementing these options. An event could create a virtual only ticket or could work with a sponsor to offer this at no additional charge. These new features can grow a new revenue stream in the process. Overall, it’s turning a potential negative into a positive.

Many endurance races already offer virtual participation in their race for those who can’t make the trip. Some endurance organizations with series of races even have people who do their races part virtually and part in-person, or even entirely virtually and still earn their full series medal. One of our of customers — North Olympic Discover Marathon — is one of these that offers virtual participation. You can view their “VIRTUAL 5K / 10K / Half Marathon” on their race registration portal.

Partnering with Ticket Insurance Companies

Another major concern for many festivals, fair, trade shows, and races is that many will choose not to buy a ticket at all or will wait until the last minute. One solution to encourage guests to continue to purchase tickets can be to pair with a ticketing insurance agency to offer services to guests at checkout. This is an up sell that can benefit all parties involved. This gives ticket buyers peace of mind that even if travel restrictions prevent them from attending they can still recoup some costs. This also gives events a leg up when it comes to selling tickets during this tough and tumultuous times.

As more and more live events start to see the effects of this worldwide epidemic, having some sort of plan in place is key for a successful event. Offering ticket insurance and virtual options are a good way to not only prepare an event for a dip in ticket sales and travel but to also open up new possible streams of revenue.