In-person events will always reign supreme over virtual ones: Sharad Chaudhary, Dreamz Production House

The pandemic has been shaping many industries, and it has also been making significant changes to the events world.

The last 18 months has completely turned the events industry on its head. In March 2020, the live event industry shut down overnight, shuttering well-laid plans, jobs, and businesses due to Covid 19. There was a mass exodus of talented event professionals who evaluated the moment and sought out completely new careers. But it is during such testing times that extraordinary solutions are also discovered. Many stuck around, pivoting to virtual events and shifting their businesses online while betting that the industry would in fact, bounce back soon. In an exclusive interview with Financial Express Online Sharad Chaudhary, Founder, Dreamz Production House explained the impact of current happenings on events industry and the way forward. Excerpts:

How is the event industry taking on the challenge of Covid-19?

It won’t be wrong to say that the events industry was one of the worst affected. It was heartbreaking for event professionals and entrepreneurs to see how the industry and the sector associated with it incurred heavy losses, where most of the events were cancelled, whereas others were postponed. Sustaining with little or no income has proved to be a massive challenge for event industry since the start of the pandemic and it has only worsened with lockdowns and night curfews being imposed leading to pushing of all on-ground activations. Just when things were looking better and there was a possibility of moving back to normalcy, the onslaught of the second wave made the situation even worse. While the pandemic had made the industry press pause on live events, it hasn’t stopped its drive to find a way to carry on, with technology proving to be the key driver for businesses and people to stay connected and ‘working’.

How did the industry innovate to survive?

The pandemic has been shaping many industries, and it has also been making significant changes to the events world. Through the stressful and uncertain periods, the shake up actually forced many of us to innovate and reevaluate our “normal” ways of doing business and rethink and reinvent the experiences we create for our clients. This new normal has evolved and fetched opportunities for planners as the events are not limited by the size of the venue but can expand their audience to by including virtual attendees, as well as those who prefer to attend in person.

Tell us something about Dreamz Production House. How did the company manage during the pandemic & your future plans?

Dreamz Production House has been successfully helping people in establishing themselves in various entertainment zones and many have emerged to become stars in no time. We are well known in the modelling and fashion industry and we host one of the most glamorous and sought-after beauty pageants in the country. We aim to successfully provide an integrated platform for the new and aspiring Indian models from different cities in the country to make their dream of modeling, fashion, theatre, television and films come true. We have always received an overwhelming response from participants across the country for our shows. Dreamz Production House recently hosted one of the biggest & prestigious events of this year, Mr, Miss & Mrs. Supermodel International 2021 in Lucknow. This event was an exciting platform for the talent across the country as the pageant team visited over 30 cities to audition contestants. The show was a grand success and was held following all safety protocols in place. Ace TV personality Prince Narula served as the brand ambassador of the show, and a host of celebrities as jury from film and entertainment fraternity graced the much-talked-about show. We will also be hosting another event in Goa in February 2022.

At this point in time, the only way to overcome these challenges or atleast survive amidst all of this is to adapt & innovate. However we too had to cancel a few mega events planned in the last 18 months. Apart from organizing events like fashion & modelling shows, Dreamz Production House is now focussing on making web series with high profile celebrities.

What are your views on virtual events compared to in-person events?

While the events industry is adapting to the pandemic era through virtual events, people are missing the fun of attending an event live. Virtual experiences that reached the heights of popularity amid isolation from the Covid-19 pandemic are now being shunned for the bright lights of in-person gatherings. We had to adapt to the virtual because we had no choice. Humans are social creatures and we need face-to-face experiences. Virtual events are not enough for businesses to drive audience engagement. On-ground events are an excellent channel for brands to create effective conversations and connections with their prospects, and gather relevant participant information leading to improved marketing communications. There will always be virtual and hybrid events – but in-person events will always reign supreme over virtual.

What is the current scenario in the event industry?

Thankfully, now things seem to be far better while we are still, probably not out of the woods completely. But at that time, it was almost a matter of survival. We now hope that every week, every month will be better than the previous. The biggest opportunity now is that we lived through the worst. It is essential to now know how event management companies can succeed during these trying times adopting a hybrid model.

What is the way forward for the industry?

With the ongoing pandemic, adopting and adapting to the new normal was not a choice but a given. While the businesses across the globe have started getting back at its peak, the companies with out of the box experience are more likely to thrive. Also, companies will have to unlock the value of technology and innovation to transform their businesses. Patience, perseverance and proactiveness have been our major takeaways from the last 18 months.  Walking in sync with the changes and demands of the industry is the only way forward right now for the event industry.

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