Event Companies During Pandemic: Checking In With Kate Patay
As we continue to speak with event professionals in an effort to stay in touch and connected throughout the pandemic, we reached out to Kate Patay to check in and see how her business has been since she last joined us for a webinar in early June.
We last spoke during your webinar with us in June. How has business for you been since?
Business has been…..different. There’s my understatement of the year! The current climate has caused many of us to really examine what we do, what’s meaningful to us, and how we continue to grow business in a down economy. 2001 and 2008 were warm-ups for 2020. I, personally, have found fulfillment in keeping true to the brand strategy side of my business while adding a couple of revenue streams within that same umbrella.
The brand strategy side has had me helping A LOT with small businesses to see where they can pivot, find what is in their wheelhouse, and a way to create viable revenue streams to weather this storm. Some are long term pivots; some are designed to get through 18-24 months, but the key is it is what works for them and their markets to thrive, as much as possible.
I’ve also been making more meaningful, authentic connections for larger hospitality clients and destinations. There was a lot of sensational media leading us with fear through all of this….and I’m not saying it’s NOT a scary time, but living in a constant state of panic and misleading headlines doesn’t help. I’ve been working with clients to help show what travel and meetings can and do look like to set realistic expectations as people get back to both leisure and business trips.
I’m just grateful to still be working and be busy.
Serving for SEARCH has brought me a lot of joy throughout this as well…the giveback is incredible.
PS – I’ll try not to say pivot again in this article.
What have you noticed from your clients overall as we continue to navigate the pandemic?
I’ve noticed clients hyperfocused in the mindset that failure is not an option. All of the things that we all procrastinated on prior or moved down that list of “things to do” are being addressed and businesses are setting firm foundations to not only survive but thrive as we navigate this. It’s refreshing to see businesses addressing prior pain points and fix them in a way that sets them up to grow and scale.
How do you see the fall shaping up for the industry?
Here’s where my mindset will always get me through…I have been accused of having too positive of an outlook on life and on our industry, but I have seen the best of us working together through all of this. Yes, I’ve seen the worst too, but I CHOOSE to focus on the good things we are doing and the companies & planners willing to step forward and search for ways for us to safely return to business.
Do I believe we should open every door and cram into ballrooms for events? No.
Do I believe we have some really smart people with viable options to begin to pave the way to recovery? Absolutely.
I embrace hybrid meetings and event models as a way to reach even more attendees than we ever thought possible. Change is scary, but we don’t have a choice. Embrace the tech path and figure out how to weave that into the human face to face story you tell. I can and I will personally attend in-person events that are taking every possible precaution for my safety and comfort level, but if you are personally not ready to, I encourage you to jump in and join us on the tech side!
And please don’t shame those who feel differently than you. Let’s extend some kindness and let people decide what they are comfortable with and what will best protect them and their loved ones. I love adding layers of comfort and safety to strict sanitation protocol, like these wristbands to communicate your distancing style. 6′ minimum, but more if that’s your comfort zone.
What positives have you possibly noticed recently in business / the industry?
I’ve definitely noticed a stronger sense of community and industry professionals banding together. Individuals and companies are supporting each other to come out of this stronger than before. It’s great to see people opening their minds to new possibilities and solutions. We can’t grow if we live in an echo chamber, so seeing people embrace new ideas and approaches gives me hope for the future of the industry and humanity overall. But seriously…your Facebook rants aren’t going to change minds, so choose thoughtful, authentic engagement and let the trolls go back to their bridges. I’m happy to agree to disagree.
Anything else you wish to share (about your business, new launches, new services, highlights etc.)
I’m excited to continue to explore various ways that destinations are safely reopening and people are responsibly bringing groups together. I’ll be documenting as I go and hope to add some more destinations to my list (hint, hint if you know anyone)! I’m going to attend some conferences in person, some virtual, and I look forward to speaking again in front of a live audience (that is sitting at a safe distance and likely from behind plexi)! I’ll continue to take on clients for strategy while I advocate for safe, standardized guidelines to help us recover and bring back our industry.
I encourage you to join in the advocacy and be heard through organizations like the Live Events Coalition and movements to lobby the government for support, like #WeMakeEvents and #RedAlertRESTART. Our industry is the most creative out there, but so many are displaced, so we need to get individuals the help they need as we figure out how to responsibly get people back to work.
Of Interest: Allseated webinars with Kate Patay