The second session of our virtual event 'Business And Events In A Post-Pandemic World - Part 1' discussed 'What Specific Actions Will Boost The Economy Of The Events Sector And Ensure Future Opportunities?'
This session aimed to address the promise of business opportunities as we emerge after the COVID-19 pandemic, and what we need to do in order to maintain momentum in the interim. Joining us in this discussion was Sarah Donnelly, Marketing and Communications Director, Blick Rothenberg, and Paul Hutton, Founder and Director, Amplified Hotels. Moderating the session was Juliet Tripp, Senior Events Manager at Chemical Watch. Hire Space hosted this event in partnership with Swapcard and London Filmed.
You can watch the video below, or read on for our key takeaways of the session.
Table of Contents
Circle of life
Sarah informs us that there is a circle that comes into play to avoid a deeper recession: the government needs to have the right measures in place to ensure they can provide stimulus, which in turn ensures the banks can offer funding, so companies can keep investing and individuals subsequently keep spending.
We, as event planners, have the ability to keep this industry going and we all have a role to play in ensuring it's success. Her advice is to work with others, embrace technology, and consider what we can do as individuals.
Getting over the line
Paul recognises for our industry to move forward, it's important for event planners to work with venues now, more than ever. When the pandemic first hit the events industry, we were making panic-led decisions, but we now have the opportunity to build our events industry again from scratch.
We should have open dialogue between venues and organisers and build upon this dialogue to get face-to-face events back up and running. He advises talking to the venues to find out what it is they're reluctant to commit to - most commonly this will be around T&Cs, liability and payment terms.
Paul's advice for venues is to become more flexible in their approach to T&Cs. Venues need to look at each individual piece of business more than before, and tailor it to each client and situation. Both proposals and T&Cs need to be clear and fair so as to not put clients and organisers off.
This is a really good time to come together and explore other opportunities and the key here, according to Sarah, is that we need to be human: pick up the phone, be open and check in with people.
Our impact as individuals
We’re a huge industry and we all have a common benefit in getting through this difficult time. Paul believe that as individuals, we need to be aware and get behind campaigns or petitions to the government that are important to the survival of our industry, such as the furlough scheme extension.
Sarah further emphasises the importance of supporting the industry by continuing to promote the importance of events as great business opportunities. She notes that although there will be more scrutiny on ROI of events, we must continue to demonstrate that as an industry, we have something to give, no matter what situation we're in. This pandemic is a situation that is out of our control, so we must use the digital world to explore different ways of doing events, and to grow our audience. Be innovative!
What measures are you putting in place to help the industry?
Paul notes that all the brands Amplified works with have measures in place to reassure guests that it is safe to return to their hotels. Naturally, sanitation is a huge talking point, so work has been done towards minimising contact and also in the way food and beverage service is executed, particularly during conference lunches. He adds the hotels are working to understand the impact of social distancing and what this means in terms of room capacities for the meetings and events they can offer. They're proactively rolling out updated capacity charts, working on updated meeting room plans and considering multi-hub meeting options.
For more information on measures required for Safer Events, you can read the Hire Space White Paper on Safer Events.
When are you planning on booking on-site meetings, and have you pivoted any events to online?
Sarah informs us that she's currently planning for events to take place in the last quarter of this year. She also confirms that she has been planning a lot of interactive online events and webinars, and that she is constantly trying to be innovative in order to engage her audience.
Do you think that venues are prepared to work on T&Cs together, or are they creating them as standard for everyone?
Paul notes that this depends on individual businesses but, in general, hotels and venues will be more flexible and willing to adapt T&Cs to each case. There has to be a degree of flexibility when speaking about individual events; venues will need to make a calculated judgement on the value of each event, and they'll need to have a conversation with the organiser to see what needs to be agreed on to get that piece of business over the line.
Are you seeing any trends for the Christmas party season yet, and is there anything to look out for?
Sarah tells us that Christmas parties are starting to be discussed, and that it is a slightly surreal situation to be encountering: Christmas parties are traditionally associated with letting our hair down, dancing with our colleagues and having a good time, but this year will of course be very different. Organising a socially distanced party is going to be a challenge to some organisers, but the venues who can demonstrate that they can still offer fun and festive experiences whilst taking note of the restrictions and guidance, will be the ones who win the business.
Sarah Donnelly, Marketing and Communications Director, Blick Rothenberg
Sarah is a strategic marketing leader with over 22 years’ experience in B2B Marketing. She has a track record of defining and delivering strategies that support business objectives, raise profile, drive growth and build market confidence. As a senior leader for companies from large global matrix organisations to start-ups, she has delivered high growth and sustained business results across a broad range of markets and industries. She specialises in leading high impact, content-led, multi-channel sales, marketing and communications campaigns and has delivered these across 60 geographical markets and industry sectors, always evidencing revenue generation.
Paul Hutton, Founder and Director, Amplified Hotels
Paul Hutton is the founder and Director of Amplified Hotels, a boutique hotel sales representation agency specialising in the meetings and events market. Amplified Hotels offer their hotel partners a variety of innovative sales and marketing initiatives that enable them to increase their visibility in the UK market. Previously, Paul worked for Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts where he was Head of M&E Sales for their UK global sales office, and latterly Director of Product Development for MICE.
Juliet Tripp, Senior Events Manager, Chemical Watch
Juliet is Senior Events Manager at Chemical Watch, with 10 years’ experience in the industry having worked on a huge variety of events for a diverse range of guests; from rock stars to royalty! Her role involves planning and running international and virtual conferences and she's also a regular speaker and moderator at conferences and events. She’s passionate about empowering and connecting people, and is International Growth and Strategy Director for the Female Hospitality Network and also has an events industry blog at juliettrippevents.com. Last year Juliet was chosen as a Conference News 30 under thirty 2019 award winner.
We hope you enjoyed reading about the second discussion of our digital event. You can read about the first session here.
If you want to stay updated with the latest coronavirus news and industry responses, visit our coronavirus live updates platform.
If you're interested in holding a virtual event of your own, why not book a free consultation with our Virtual Event Experts below? We can help make your vision into a reality.