In April, we asked the event professionals on our mailing list how they were handling the abrupt shift in the event industry and to learn more about where they thought the industry was headed.

10 questions and 91 responses later, the results are in, and here are the insights. Let’s start by who makes up the event professionals in our community according to the survey.


Q1: What Best Describes Your Role in the Industry?

Event ProfessionalsEvent Industry

*Many non-profits, festival and event producers were included in the ‘other’ category.

Q2: What Genre of Events Do You Typically Work On?

Event professionals


A higher percentage (30.77%) of event professionals work in a combination of corporate, non-profit, performance, government, and social events. While a smaller percentage listed as ‘other’ (12.09%) work in either art exhibitions, tradeshows, flea markets, or festivals.


Q3: How Many Events on Average Do You Book Per Year?

Event IndustryEvent Professional

Prior to COVID-19, 37.36% were booking at least 21+ events a year, which has now resulted in postponement/cancellations, as we’ll share the comments offered by the survey participants later in the article.


Q4: How Has Your Business Been Affected During COVID-19? Check all that apply.


Event professional
*”We have suspended business/event operations” leads the pack.


Event industry covid-19

The majority (67.03%) of event professionals have suspended business/event operations but continue to plan for future business (58.24%). Many (57.14%) have taken the time to center their focus on internal operations to improve their capacity and ability to perform future work including website redesigns, sales processes, or have taken a virtual route.


Q5: What is The Earliest Month in Which You Are Planning Future Events?


Event professionals


event industry covid-19

It comes as no surprise that “September 2020” (34.07%) and “No events until 2021” (23.08%) were the highest polled results. When this survey was taken in April 2020, no announcement was made regarding the City of Toronto canceling all major permitted events and festivals to the end of August 2020.


Q6: What Do You Think Will Be Most Important To Event Professionals Once The Event Industry Is Reopened? Rank From Most To Least Important: 1 Being MOST IMPORTANT And 5 LEAST IMPORTANT.


Event Professionals


Event industry Coronavirus

The order of importance across the scoreboard goes like this (high to low):

  1. Hygiene, cleanliness, and safety protocols
  2. Flexible booking or cancellation policies
  3. Live streaming capabilities or a mix of in-person and online attendance
  4. Ability to book events and fulfill requests on short notice
  5. Special incentives from vendors/suppliers


Q7: Please Select The Statement That Best Reflects Your Current Feelings About The Event Industry:


Event professionals


Many are hopeful (65.93%) but practical about the slow recovery of the industry, perhaps taking up to a year or two to return to the event volume we saw pre-COVID.


Q8: How Do You Think You’ll Change The Way You Work In Events Moving Forward? Rank From Most To Least Important: 1 Being MOST IMPORTANT And 5 LEAST IMPORTANT.


COVID Event Professionals


The order of importance across the scoreboard goes like this (high to low):

  1. My company will be booking fewer meetings/events per year
  2. I’ll be looking for smaller venues, to accommodate smaller meetings
  3. I’ll be looking for larger venues, with more space for physical distance between attendees
  4. My company will have smaller budgets for each event
  5. I, personally, will be attending fewer in-person events, even if invited


Q9: What Would Have To Happen For You/Your Company To Be Comfortable Booking Events Again?



Event professionals COVID


A combination of all of the above options ranked the highest (70.33%). Which included the state of emergency & physical distancing orders being lifted, clear direction and information from Public Health on maintaining a flattened curve and if there is a resurgence of peers in the industry booking events again. A high percentage agree, if all of these things are not in place, they would not feel comfortable booking events in the near future.

Additional Feedback From Survey. Q10: Any other thoughts you’d like to share with us?

We left room on the survey for event professionals to share candid commentary, their feelings, and how they’re managing during this time. Here are a few anonymous remarks on the subject.


On Safety

“We need to completely rethink the safe use of space for events.”

“We are less worried about booking events (we will once all the restrictions are lifted), but more about attendees having the budget, resources, and incentive to even attend.”

“I think we need to be prepared for the fact that the longer this goes on the more our ideas of work and value will change.”

“I think that the event budgets will stay relatively the same as our industry comes back to life; it’s just that it will be a very slow process only because projections are that we may have a second wave late fall / early winter. To begin with, clients will be hesitant to jump back in for face-to-face events; they’ll want to take things slow, therefore virtual events will prevail for the next year or longer. 🙁 We need to hang tight, work together and hopefully survive over the next year – two.”


On Recovery

“I think it will be a while before our patrons feel confident and safe enough to be in close quarters with other people for a significant length of time.”

“Difficult times for sure. I think also finding a vaccine or some sort of antibody testing that helps eliminate or mitigate the fear factor will make a huge difference.”

“I believe we all agree that it will be a long, slow process to get back to whatever is going to be our “new” normal.”

“This will be a wait and see scenario. Too many factors in play to estimate when events will start back up. We are at least 6 months away from events.”


On Resilience

“This is just the beginning of a long marathon. We all need to start thinking of new ways to do our jobs. For some, that will mean the end of a livelihood, but for others, the loss will turn into something new and positive. I am very hopeful for the future but the next 12-18 months are going to be very tough.”

“Looking forward to getting back to business and finding out what the new ways of doing business are. Spending our budgets in a very cost-conscious manner.”

“Our organization is quickly pivoting to online events so it will be interesting to see what this means for live events – I can’t imagine we won’t have them but they will likely be different from live (events).”


On Community

“Thank you for reaching out and offering me to be a part of this survey. I feel there’s a lot of Eventprofs that are feeling quite isolated and not a part of their peer group.”

“Just want to wish all in our industry the very best in their transition back to operating, thanks for putting this together and keeping us informed.”

“Keep safe and play safe guys. We will get very busy after this is passing and I’m pretty sure our industry will get up and stronger. It is up to us to keep doing and feeding our business relationships with clients.”



Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments or on our mailing list, we’re in this together! Stay safe.