With North Africa in a state of contagious revolutions the impact on the world’s oil supply is at the least bad and possibly much worse. Prices are almost at $100 per barrel again and the oil used to make jet fuel is over $112 already. At a Green Meeting conference this week, airline industry analysts predicted that over 40% of airlines would go out of business by 2015 if prices stay above $100 and if prices reach $150 as many as 64% could go out of business.
The challenge is that airlines have already gone through major cost cutting programs during the last spike in oil prices and those costs are already gone. If you’ve flown recently, it’s hard to imagine where else they can cut costs. Airline tickets have already started to climb and analysts say prices could go much higher. And that is bad news for the face-to-face meeting and events industry (and the economy in general).
This will drive another spike in the demand for virtual extensions to events and meetings just as the last financial crisis drove massive increase in adoption. For anyone who didn’t think we were at the tipping point of adoption for virtual, or hadn’t yet begun to plan for their digital extensions of their events and meetings, this is either another painful warning of what potentially lies ahead or the start of a prolonged period of travel and budget restrictions. No one can know at this point.
One conference attendee asked “If airline travel reverts to the way it was in the 50’s and 60’s, what will that mean for all of us?” For some it is sadly going to have a devastating effect but for others that have come to the reality that travel is getting disrupted more frequently for many reasons and for potentially lengthy periods of time, it seems like the new reality. Learning how to add digital alternatives to your programs is an opportunity to increase your likelihood of not only surviving but prospering in the uncertain world of the future.
The Virtual Edge Institute announced its Digital Event Strategist certification program this week and we would like to point out the opportunity--for anyone working in the industry, become fluent in aspects of digital engagement around events and meetings. Whether it’s for hybrid events, virtual events or perpetual environments, the Digital Events Strategist program will insure you are ready for the future.