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An Interview with Sidhesh Kandiyil From Watermark Event Solutions LLP

It is in times of calamity and hardships that the importance of a community and the availability of a common platform is most appreciated. The pandemic has dealt us all with a hard blow but in doing so gave us the opportunity to come together and benefit from each other.

The Instagram Live Series aim to do just this by bringing in event experts from across the country to help us better understand the situation and advise us on the best move forward. 

On Monday, the 8th of June at 6pm we conducted the 2nd session of the series, “Paradigm Shift in the Event Space” in the presence of Sidhesh Kandiyil. 

Our guest speaker has evolved significantly in his professional career while witnessing the industry grow over the years. His comprehensive knowledge and understanding in Weddings, Corporate Events and Artist Management has made him one of the quickest solution providers in the industry. Sidhesh crafts every dream with passion and is a firm believer in making ‘quality’ a ‘habit.’

His journey…

Since his college days, Sidhesh has been an active member of every cultural event that was held. A part of the college music team and an organiser of several events, Sidhesh went on to work as a freelancer with an artist management group right after college. 

Within 2 years of joining them they started their own company which did not work out as planned. However, this did not stop them and in the year 1998, they went on to start yet another company that turned out to be a wonderful success. 

Today, he enjoys his role in organising, coordinating and communicating as the MD of a successful event management company in the country for the past 22 years.

 

His learning during these difficult times

“Learning, planning and thinking. Thinking for myself, thinking for my family, thinking for my team, which is more important going forward from here on now.” Sidhesh has been in frequent contact with his core team, delegating work and overseeing important decision making processes.

So far, he and his team have organised 2 events, one corporate and the other a wedding. Both on-ground and small scale but a good start to what he hopes will grow in a few months time.

Coming to virtual events, Sidhesh from his company’s perspective has not conducted any virtual events as of now but has supported fellow event members in certain on-ground, entertainment and conference related events. 

An edition called Watermark digital has been incorporated into the company that is solely for organising virtual conferences, virtual entertainments, etc.

His take on Virtual events

According to Sidhesh, using virtual platforms while having gained momentum in the last few months, from online grocery shopping to live classes, there are also factors such as the underdevelopment in rural areas where studies have shown that over 60 crore people across India do not have access to a smart-phone let alone know how to operate virtual platforms. 

So while digitization is what is being used to continue running businesses and everyday activity, there is no equivalent substitute for on-ground activity, be it an event or everyday living.

What he thinks will happen in the next few months

Sidhesh is of the opinion that over the next few months, the industry will be witnessing changes in 3 phases. 

The first phase will last for close to 2 to 4 months, where a majority of events will be virtual if not all of it. 

Phase 2, a period of 3 to 6 months, will see a number of on-ground events happening with restriction in numbers, and in participation. Even now, there are a lot of weddings happening in Karnataka, Kerala, and other parts of the country where restrictions are imposed while conducting events. 

6 to 12 months will be the 3rd phase, where we will see quite a bit of improvement and there will be a good bounce-back in business. Having said this, everything ultimately depends on the number of cases, implemented government policies etc.

While the 3rd phase will hopefully see a good revival rate, it will differ from person to person, company to company and location to location along with the type of business and the clientele base.

For example, if we take Goa for instance, the time taken will be longer. Even though the number of cases is less, the region is a tourist hub and will take quite some time to restart tourism.

Apart from businesses regaining their footing, the bigger aspect is the spending power of the public which will have reduced drastically given the adverse economic conditions worldwide.

Why would a client hire an event management company given the cash crunch?

“With the rise in the number of cases, new regulations and policies, restrictions and curfews that are being imposed and amended more or less on an everyday basis, a client will be comfortable hiring a reputed event management company, confident in their belief that the event planners are up-to date with the changes. By doing this, the client will not have to worry about breaking any laws and enjoy the event knowing that the event planner has taken care of the matter.”

Sidhesh then went on to talk about the kind of events that are taking place in the midst of the pandemic. The corporate sector has more or less all made a transition to an online platform to conduct events such as sales meetings, conferences and team building activities. In the coming few months, there hopes to be a significant increase on the number of on-ground events that can take place under a prescribed framework of course, given that there is an improvement in the situation.

Key takeaways for event aspirants…

“Those who have been in the industry for 3-4 years now and have the passion, persistence and patience and if they can afford to wait out these trying times, then they absolutely should, as it would make for a great learning experience that will help them significantly in the future.

There is an increase in the flexibility offered from both the vendors and the client, giving them the chance to experiment and take risks on how to best use the time at hand given the situation that persists.

As for those, just starting out, I would advise them to first gain some knowledge with regard to the industry and establish a strong and sound foundation so as to ensure that when they do begin the event management journey, they come in with their guns blazing.”

A session that gave us a whole new outlook on the future of the event industry, it was inspiring, challenging and motivational all in one. In case you missed out on the live session, and are interested to know more about the conversation that took place, feel free to click on the link to access the video.

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