After a trying year for event professionals. members of PCMA’s 20 in Their Twenties class of 2021 have proven resilience is a key skill in their toolkit. Ben Cramer, DES, Sales Manager at GES in Chicago, shares his thoughts about how the pandemic is changing the business events industry.
How do you see the industry changing as a result of the pandemic?
Have you ever considered an NFL game to be a hybrid event? What about “Saturday Night Live?” We have been surrounded by this idea of hybrid events without even noticing it as event professionals! I believe this is the direction our industry is headed. Soon, we will not classify events as “live” or “hybrid.” It will become second nature to have some type of virtual component for every live event, just like televised NFL games. This is ultimately how I see our industry changing over the next several years.
What new skills has the pandemic led you to pursue?
The pandemic has taught me so much about myself. While not necessarily a new skill, I have greatly expanded my communication skills during a time that demands it. Communicating with customers, partners, and coworkers this year has been one of the most important items on my to-do list. With the help of technology, communication is more possible now than ever before. Who would have thought it would take a pandemic to force business professionals to begin using the webcams that have been built into their laptops for the last decade? Virtually seeing people during a time that doesn’t allow for face-to-face interaction is something that excites me.
How do you see your job changing as a result of the pandemic crisis?
I believe this change already has begun. Before the pandemic started, my focus was selling services for live-event experiences. With the huge shift to virtual events in 2020, my focus shifted as well to realign with the direction our industry has taken. Alongside a few others, I am now leading a team at GES to provide virtual solutions and strategic support for our exhibition clients to ensure they can make the switch to a virtual event with confidence. As the industry adapts, my day-to-day tasks will as well to make sure that I can continue to service my customers. No matter the changes that lie ahead, what I’ve learned through this time of disruption will help me maximize each event experience moving forward.