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summer camp

Campfire Smoke Signals


Welcome to VIBE’s first-ever Event Industry Summer Camp. Just like any summer camp experience, this multi-session series is meant to be fun while also teaching you new and interesting things… about the state of the industry, the state of business, and even your own business attitudes. 

Also – just like camp – we’re going to get started by gathering around the “campfire” and seeing what’s really happening in the world of events right now.

A recent survey by EventMB revealed that the effects of the pandemic continue to be an important factor in our shared business world.
– 44% of people surveyed experienced loss of income
– 2.3 % had to permanently close their businesses
– Just under 20% of people were either laid off or furloughed 

On a company level – there were impacts as well
– 76.2% lost some level of business compared to pre-pandemic times – but have managed to remain operational
– 41% of companies lost up to 25% of their previous business
– 16.3% of companies lost between 26% and 50% of their previous business
– 19.6% of companies lost between 51% and 75% of their previous business
– 22.6% of companies lost 76% or more of their previous business- 5.6% of businesses permanently closed – taking all their employees with it.

So, what does this tell us about where the event industry is at present? First, it tells us that it’s been a rough year for many. In tough times, events of any kind become important to people. Networking helps people find new employment opportunities. Connecting with fellow employees helps teams work together to strengthen businesses. Positive energy keeps people motivated and “active” in helping business operations resume and move forward. In other words, events are necessary. 

Activity Time! Where there’s fire… there’s smoke.

While the above survey results show us the facts and figures of a situation, there’s always more to consider. That’s why this session is called smoke signals. If you think of the reported figures as the campfire, then the smoke signals are the less-tangible (but equally important) considerations impacted by those realities.

To tap into what your smoke signals are telling the industry, your customers, and your other stakeholders, try the following.

  1. Take a moment to examine your sales/receipt/revenue/activity compared to this exact time last year.
    Did your numbers go up or down? By how much?

  2. Now reflect on that number with the mindset that it was caused purely by the pandemic and no other cause. Even if it’s not exactly true, pretend it is for a moment.
    What should happen to your business if the pandemic completely disappeared tomorrow?

  3. Flip the script. Look at that same number and deliberately refuse to use the pandemic as the cause. Again, even if it isn’t realistic, try to identify at least 2 other factors that may have contributed to your results. Bonus points for factors that are internal and that you have control of.
    What’s one thing you could do to improve any of the factors you identified? Is it something you need to do more of, or less of? Is it something new you need to try?

  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 above, but now do it from the perspective of your employees, then of your customers/clients. For employees, you might try evaluating this in terms of company morale, or productivity. For customers you may try something like brand perception or brand loyalty. The point of the exercise is to look at what signals you’re sending as a company (the outward appearance of things) and then find out what the true causes may be (the fire). If it’s a negative trend, this activity will reveal fires you need to put out – before the smoke signal becomes so big it can’t be ignored. If it’s a positive trend, you’ll learn what you need to do to feed the fire so the smoke signal broadcasts your strength and leadership in ways you can leverage towards future success.

Let us know about your experiences – send an email to us at We’ll share some of the most revealing insights in future blogs and camp sessions!

About the VIBE Agency: The VIBE Agency is a Miami-based award-winning full-service production agency that specializes in the creation and orchestration of live and virtual experiences for the corporate industry.   The agency is forward-thinking and was recognized as one of the 50 top event companies by Special Events magazine in 2019 and 2020.  Most recently, Valerie Bihet, founder of the VIBE was named a Smart Women in Meetings 2021 Hall of Fame honoree by Smartmeetings, for her consistent work advancing the industry.  If it can’t be live, make it VIBE!

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