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2012 in Events: Looking beyond the economic gloom

2012 in Events: Looking beyond the economic gloom

Our World | On 22, Dec 2011

2011 has seen some shocking results and announcements from the whole spectrum of the UK economy with rampant inflation, record unemployment, zero growth, civil unrest and the worst currency crisis in history. As you would expect, the events industry has not escaped unharmed. There have been some very significant financial losses, some very high profile departures and several venues and hotels facing administration.

Based on the now daily news headlines announcing more job losses, rising prices and falling business and consumer confidence the prospects for 2012 do not look good. In fact, despite the long awaited arrival of the self proclaimed “greatest show on earth” next summer 2012 could be one of the worst ever years for the events industry! “Harbinger of doom” I hear you say. Well maybe, but you simply have to look at the facts. With every set of results, UK corporate are also announcing cost cutting and job loss programmes, so the private sector is joining the public sector in cutting back. That means fewer events, fewer delegates and lower margins. These are not the recipes of success for our industry.

Of course we do have some advantages and perhaps the most important is that we have been here before and many of us know what to do to survive and indeed grow our businesses in tough times. From venues, attractions, hotels, caterers, dmc’s and agencies, we are a very resilient bunch who have survived one of the worst decades to hit any industry. When you consider the last ten years have produced 9/11, 7/7, gulf wars, SARS, Tsunami’s, bird flu, global terrorism, recessions, currency crisis, the banking collapse, floods, revolutions, in fact the whole biblical war, pestilence and famine, it is almost remarkable that we still have a thriving business. In my mind this only goes to prove just how important events are in delivering communication and have become more powerful than email and advertising in creating genuine results.

So what of 2012? I’m tempted to say “same old story”, exceptionally short lead-times, higher volumes of smaller events, costs under pressure, little growth in operating profits, war, famine, pestilence, and plague. In fact not much change at all really!

Nigel Cooper