Pandemic hits event marketing revenue

Pandemic hits event marketing revenue

Mr Sermkhun expects the event marketing business to recover to 80% of the level in 2019 next year.
Mr Sermkhun expects the event marketing business to recover to 80% of the level in 2019 next year.

Thailand's event marketing business is expected to lose 5.6 billion baht worth of revenue in 2020 thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sermkhun Kunawong, chief executive of CMO Plc, a creative event management company, said the event marketing industry has felt the impact of the pandemic since late last year when the Covid-19 outbreak was first reported in China.

The situation reached a nadir in the second quarter this year, possibly leading the industry to contract by 40% by year-end, he said.

Event marketing services total about 14 billion baht per year.

Mr Sermkhun said spending on marketing events in the fourth quarter this year, which is normally the peak season for the event business, is not as good as expected.

Many companies including Megabangna mall have cancelled their year-end activities.

Companies that are organising activities have cut their spending budget by 30-40% year-on-year.

The overall budget for the event business during New Year's Eve is expected to fall by 50% from normal spending of 300 million baht during the festive period, he said.

Nonetheless, Mr Sermkhun is upbeat about next year's prospects, predicting the event marketing business in 2021 will recover to 80% of 2019 levels, driven by automotive and communication businesses which are expected to more actively launch their new products to the market.

"Feedback from the recent Motor Expo is very positive and we are confident automotive companies will resume holding their own marketing events to boost their sales next year," he said.

The finance sector for both banks and non-banks is likely to be active in event marketing next year, boosted by flourishing online business.

Mr Sermkhun expects the event business to be back to normal in 2022, but the market's landscape will be completely changed with the market opting to hire more freelancers instead of full-time staff.

"With people still being concerned about the pandemic, we are offering hybrid services, both online and offline events. We plan to launch up to 100 online events next year, up from 40 events this year," he said.

CMO itself expects to see a revenue decline of 30% this year and expects to recoup 90% of the revenue it made in pre-crisis era in 2021.

However, Kreingkrai Kanjanapokin, chief executive of Index Creative Village Plc, one of the leading event organisers, said the event business has been battered by the pandemic since the government's lockdown measures from March and its prospects remain murky, compounded by the escalating protests.

"We earlier projected the event sector's revenue would fall by 60-70% this year because most companies cancelled their events, in line with social distancing measures and concerns over a possible second wave," he said. "But with escalating protests, the contraction may exceed that level. The protests have made the situation worse. They affect consumer sentiment and psychology, while marketers have baulked at launching events to promote their products."

According to Mr Kreingkrai, the event business is very sensitive. It is the first area in which firms are ready to cut their spending. He projected his firm's revenue to decline to only 460 million baht this year from 1.4 billion baht last year.

The company expects business to resume growth next year with the launch of new projects such as Village of Illumination at Singha Park.

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