COVID-19 affected the world in many ways, from high hospitalization rates and business closures to lockdowns, halted special events, and more. Many companies were drastically impacted, including the event and sanitation industries. Portable restroom providers wonder what’s next for their companies as 2020 brought many new issues to life: freshwater availability, handwash importance, timing orders due to equipment shortages, and so on. Even now, as we’re moving farther into the current year, there’s immense uncertainty around this question. Resilience is critical in any time of uncertainty and maintaining this mindset will help you prepare for what’s to come.
What to Expect
Initially, businesses in the event industry were looking forward to 2021 as it was projected that the world as we knew it would be back to normal. However, vaccine access took longer than expected, and new variants of the COVID-19 virus continued to surface. These two factors placed a feeling of uncertainty on the event industry, making it challenging to plan for the coming year.
As communities continue to gain access to vaccines, the likelihood of bookings picking up again increases, but one pressing question remains. How long will it take to resume activities, and will customers feel comfortable enough to attend? Currently, it’s seemingly unknown. However, many organizers don’t expect to hold an event until July or later, according to a PULSE survey from Northstar Meetings Group. Among this survey, the following statistics were also discovered:
- 73% of respondents believe the COVID-19 vaccine rollout will lead to a quicker economic recovery
- 29.33% plan to hold their next event in the first or second quarter
- 56.35% plan to hold their next event in the third or fourth quarter
- 14.32% plan to hold off on planning any events until 2022 or later
Noteworthy Event Industry Trends
As we move further into 2021, many patrons are curious as to what exactly will happen with the event industry and if large gatherings will, in fact, take place again. Unfortunately, these details are challenging to predict due to the unknown. However, it’s highly likely that a few of the trends created in 2020 to enhance safety and keep the event industry afloat will carry into this and following years. If you’re not familiar with these trends already, learn what changes the event industry made to their general structure below:
- Catering: Recent events have caused catering to grow in popularity because of convenience, safety, and timeliness. However, it’s important not to compare catering to takeout or delivery services. Takeout and delivery tend to cost more for restaurants and provide little to no profit. Catering is profitable and provides a new stream of revenue.
- Micro-events: Due to the need for increased safety, micro-events grew incredibly popular towards the end of 2020 and will continue to gain traction as we move further into 2021. Micro-events allow a limited number of people to gather, create an intimate feeling, and reduce planning stress.
- Venue flexibility: As restrictions lift and businesses begin opening their doors to patrons again, flexibility and accommodation are vital. Whether through supporting and encouraging social distancing, upgrading or adding outdoor spaces, or seasonal gathering areas, companies worldwide must cater to these unique needs.
- Virtual and hybrid events: The event industry continued to gain revenue with virtual events during the pandemic and lockdown. It’s a given that virtual events are here to stay. However, with businesses beginning to open again, hybrid events will also occur. Hybrid events allow patrons to attend events both in-person and virtually based on their comfort level.
Planning Tips and Tricks
You’re probably wondering how these changes in the event industry will impact sanitation. It’s challenging to prepare for change and predict what may happen. However, as entertainment venues begin to open their doors again, there will likely be a rush in orders for portable restrooms, handwashing stations, and other equipment. It’s vital that sanitation companies plan for this influx and regularly check inventory. Any shortages in stock should be replaced immediately. From here, there are many actionable steps you can take to stay ahead of the soon approaching rise in demand, such as:
- Reach out to past and current customers to get their take on upcoming events
- Gauge the intentions of local professionals (event needs, group events, etc.)
- Speak with your local government officials regarding event permit issuing and limits
- Check local procurement pages to include municipal, county, and state
Aside from the previously mentioned factors, the COVID-19 virus isn’t going anywhere fast, making it vital that business owners in both event and sanitation industries know area-specific positivity rates. These numbers will allow each industry to plan accordingly for both equipment and upcoming events should there be an increase or decrease in a community’s positive test results.
The event and sanitation industries seemingly work hand in hand as portable restrooms, handwashing stations, and other products are a necessity in these environments. Unfortunately, the lack of events in 2020 has directly impacted these industries, and it’s slowly surfacing that it will likely be another year of uncertainty. Business owners in both the event and the sanitation industries are encouraged to be creative, prepare for peak season, and utilize community resources accordingly so you can be ready to go once events start up again.
Just make sure you’re paying attention to new community guidelines, and social distance standards!