These are unprecedented times for the events industry. And if you’d told us just a couple of months ago that practising our profession would soon be banned, we don’t think we’d have believed you! However, since lockdown began, the events industry has rallied together in a way that would previously have been unimaginable.
In light of recent announcements, it's more important than ever to come together and create awareness of just how valuable our £70bn industry is to the UK economy.
Here are some ways in which you can appeal to the government for their support in restarting events. You can also watch our live stream discussion on the latest announcements, and download the Safer Events - Framework For Action White Paper which has been updated to accommodate new government guidelines.
1. Write to your local MP
In anticipation of a petition due to be debated in the House of Commons, Simon Hughes, Chair of the BVEP, urges us to 'Go Large, Go Local' - write to your MPs detailing what the effect has been on your business and employees, what your clients need, how damaging it will be to your business without extra furlough support and anything else that could be relayed to the government to be debated in the House of Commons.
We’ve created a resource where you can Email Your MP in a few clicks. Industry leaders have called for all of us to do this urgently. The letter is drafted - you can personalise it, or send it as it is. The process will take you 2 minutes, and you can share it with your colleagues too. The idea is for the entire industry to work together to increase visibility and promote the importance of live meetings and events. We simply must fight for our industry; write to your MP today!
2. Write to local press and broadcasters
It's important for individuals to be able to demonstrate what we as an industry actually do, what we contribute to and why we're so important for the UK economy. Martin Fullard, Editorial Director at Mash Media, suggests making more noise by appealing to the national media.
Mash Media have been working hard to make in-roads by sending event industry newsletters to business journalists and all the major broadcasters and news journalists. Martin notes that it's all about getting their attention with numbers: our industry supports 700,000 jobs across the hospitality, tourism and leisure sectors and contributes over £70bn to the UK economy; we need to make a consistent, concerted effort to get the national and regional media onside.
Follow local journalists on Twitter and start involving them in a public discussion about your story. Often, they will get in touch with you and want to pick up on the story.
To contact regional press, Martin advises using a prefix such as 'newsdesk' in front of email addresses and searching them on Google, such as 'firstname.lastname@example.org'. Experiment with different wording until you get hold of an email address.
Contact your local paper, get in touch with as many local journalists and broadcasters as you can, tell them your story and make them listen. Once you do this you can move up to targeting national press.
3. Sign the petition
As Simon Hughes pointed out during our live stream, there are so many anomalies in the guidance which have made it very difficult for us as an industry. For example, bingo halls and cinemas have opened up again, yet conferences, which are very similar in set-up to bingo halls and cinemas, are still banned. This seems contradictory and therefore we need to understand what the government's concerns are with not allowing events to take place and appeal to them to reconsider.
Hire Space, in partnership with Mash Media, have created a petition to the government urging them to allow organised meetings and events to take place with safety guidance in line with those given to pubs, restaurants and other hospitality businesses.
It's critical we take control and fight for our industry, so get involved and sign the petition here.
4. Join the #GetBritainMeeting campaign
The Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP) is putting pressure on the DCMS to distinguish between ‘organised events’ and ‘mass gatherings’ as lockdown restrictions ease. To promote this idea, Mash Media launched the #GetBritainMeeting campaign.
To help amplify the message, simply use the #GetBritainMeeting hashtag in your social media posts. You can also save images to use together with the hashtag on the Conference News website.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to appeal to the government to support the events industry during this challenging time. And please make sure to let us know if you have an initiative you'd like included. If we all work together, we really can make a difference for the whole community and come out the other side stronger!
And don't forget to download the Safer Events - Framework For Action White Paper if you haven’t already!