Prior to the start of the pandemic, the Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games planned to release 9 million tickets, of which it was to earn about $ 800 million. That amount, which represents 12% of their total budget, was completely lost by excluding all spectators from all competitions at the Tokyo Olympics.
Japanese sponsors who signed contracts worth a record $ 3.3 billion before the pandemic to promote their brands in games have now largely shifted their marketing strategies to digital platforms and social networks. Although currently under enormous pressure, Panos Tzivanidis, director of corporate events at the International Olympic Committee, seems collected and does not abandon his enthusiasm. “The Olympics are first and foremost a movement. We are changing the world for the better through sport. We are the only global event where there is truly gender and national equality, and we will not allow anyone’s business interests to stop us. We do it for the Olympians."
Tzivanidis is of Greek descent from the island of Corfu and as a boy he could not dream of one day being among the key people organizing the Olympics. “If you are in the business of organizing an event, you need to be prepared for unexpected situations. The larger the event, the more problems you have to solve", Calmly explains the experienced veteran who was the director of UEFA conferences for two years, and the director of Sibos, the largest global event in the financial industry, for fifteen years.
Organizing events is basically project management and requires vast knowledge and experience, and the biggest problem of this industry before Covid was the lack of talent. Tzividanis finds a quality source of new talent at Swiss hotel management colleges because of their specific curriculum, which allows students to have a year of professional practice in addition to a bachelor's degree. His favorite is Les Roches, who also finished it himself.
"Through your schooling, you get everything you need to imagine and achieve whatever you want." are the words with which Tzivanidis addressed his future colleagues in 2019 at the graduation ceremony. But just a year later, his promises became questionable. What is the future of the event industry that was worth $ 2019 trillion in 1.1 and by March 2020 had already lost $ 16,5 billion (source Allied Market Research)? 90% of companies in the industry have partially or completely lost revenue, most have used government incentives, 3% have put the key in the lock and laid off employees, and only 5% have not felt a drop in revenue - say figures presented at the online conference "The State of the Event" Industry ”in November last year.
Would you advise your child to choose an event management study?
I would, but not anywhere. Organizing events is a fantastic career for people who possess the talent and skill to create emotions through events.
In addition to the necessary creativity and organizational skills, it is extremely important quality education. Each industry has its own specifics, and event management is developed in response to the dynamic demands of the market, and the need for rapid exchange of knowledge and experience. Some of the key skills also relate to team management, decision making, diplomatic skills, productivity under pressure and focus on details.
The possibility of creating emotions through events mostly refers to weddings, music concerts, festivals and perhaps most strongly - through sports competitions and matches. Emotions are equally important to the success of a business or political conference, fair, or medical congress. The fact is that in the last 18 months, all event organizers have had to switch to digital platforms and online communication with their audiences, and that they have specific limitations in creating a user experience.
Nevertheless, managing digital platforms and creating digital content is now becoming a necessary skill that event organizers must have, and higher education institutions that have not adapted their curricula to the emerging reality will educate people no one will want to hire in the very near future.
Marina Franolić, Executive Director for CEE at Bench is one of the members of the Advisory Board at Glion Institute in Switzerland, where she was educated about twenty years ago, she points out that she is the practice of faculty involving successful professionals in creating an academic program for future generations has been present in private colleges in Switzerland for many years, so we should not be surprised that employers compete to attract people graduating from such colleges.
Franolić adds that Glion has been working on a modified curriculum since September this year in order to prepare its students for the changes that have taken place in the meantime in the tourism, hotel and event industries.
Will the sudden changes in event management caused by the global pandemic be permanent?
"It is almost certain that ubiquitous digitization and digital event platforms will remain a permanent part of the event industry. On the other hand, as the pandemic subsides, I believe that digital platforms will be a supplement, not a foundation, in the future", Says Franolić. Adria Hotel Forum which was launched 10 years ago and which has grown into the largest regional professional gathering of investors in the hotel industry will be held live in Zagreb in September this year.
All speakers and participants will personally arrive in Zagreb, and there is great enthusiasm for the possibility of reunion. “Although everything is ready for our live gathering, we are also ready to transfer everything online, if the situation requires it of us. " says Franolić.
And Darwin once concluded that it is not the strongest who survive, but the most adaptable.
Author: Gordana Kolenko / Photo: Bench Events, Adria Hotel Forum