Riding the wave of uncertainty in 2020, event industry plans for a brighter 2021

2021 looks promising for the events sector as it continues to adapt to real-time physical events keeping the government safety guidelines in mind.


The world of events was deeply impacted and the year 2020 witnessed enormous challenges and learnings for the events industry. The industry had to undergo a decade of innovation rolled into just a few months. However, the industry showed its mettle by being agile and swiftly adapting to the new circumstances. 

As the dust clears a bit and we look into 2021, one thing is for sure that the industry was able to play with hybrid events and engage with larger and bigger audiences than ever before. Organisations have seen the power of virtual events and are building the muscle to execute them more confidently, but simultaneously, there is a feeling of loss of large scale in-person events whose charm is irreplaceable.

BW Applause and Everything Experiential reached out to some experts to know their key learnings of 2020 and their plans for 2021:

Sushma Gaikwad, Director, ICE Global and Wizcraft MIME

There is a list of important best practices as an entrepreneur that I have learnt the importance of and most of these parameters were in place that enabled us to tide the wave of uncertainty that the year 2020 unleashed on the industry.

-The importance of diversification

-Inculcating the mindset of adaptability within the team

-The need to develop an agile organisation 

-Need to build a business that focuses on the bottom line

-Ensuring that there is a robust corpus fund available at all times

-The importance of collaboration

-The importance of motivating the team and creating avenues to enable them to drive value to the organisation

In the year 2021 we have planned to launch various initiatives which are in the domains of experiential communication, edutech and learning and development.

Some of these were initiated before Covid, yet the period enabled us to work extensively on planning the way forward.

We also launched Sukhoon, an initative aimed at increasing awareness of complete wellness and we are focussing on B2B as well as B2C offerings through Sukhoon.

Alvin D'Souza, Managing Director, 121XP

2020 definitely has been a challenging year for the entire industry. However, innovations in digital activations and virtual events kept the momentum going. 2020 has taught us to be patient and find our way through the turbulence in order to come out stronger! Most importantly it led us to explore newer mediums like online gaming and also explore alternate consumer outreach engines by seamlessly integrating offline and online engagements.

2021 brings a lot of hope and excitement for us! With the vaccine coming around soon, we can expect normalcy to restore and events to pick up in full force. While digital activations will still be around, we will most certainly be looking at more engaging and disruptive ways to reach out to consumers and craft never seen before experiences!

Dipti Shah, Founder-Head of Events and Alliances, White Salt Entertainment

2020, the year was meant to be so much more than just a wipe-out. It’s important to first absorb the fact that it’s been a very challenging year especially for our world of experiential events, entertainment and activation. 2021 sure gives us all hope to come back stronger and of course more prepared for uncertainties. 

I’d say one of my key take-aways would be that it’s always the right time to experiment and innovate. I continue to lay emphasis on the importance of working in small smart teams than maintain large teams that only add to operating costs. I am happy to see my industry peers agree finally and I’m sure our industry will focus on building effective, small, core teams. While it is important to keep the working capital requirements low, one must maintain flexibility. Businesses like ours thrive on people and hands however one who cannot work smart shall perish. 

The new year brings with it an experience from the previous year and will help us deal with event failures more efficiently. 2021 looks promising for the events sector as we continue to adapt to real time physical events keeping the government safety guidelines in mind.

Rajesh Varma, Founder-Director, CRI Events

‘Small is big’ has been the biggest learning. Small in terms of events we do, small in terms of team sizes, small in terms of creativity, small intimate setups, small meals at events. 

Staying true with the ethos of small and construct events and experiences around that. Focussed groups with defined ROI are concentrating on the globe rather than just India as now the globe is our playground.

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