I’m feeling full of the joys of spring. This weekend I cut the lawn for the first time in 2011, put my clocks forward and turned up for work on Monday, 28 March, in smart, new, bigger offices in the heart of Wimbledon.
I’m also keying this copy in from behind a new iMac machine that I am sure has the power to engage the Klingons or at least initiate meetings warp factor five.
While changes to our working and living environments are certainly as good as a rest and essential to revitalise from time to time; we shouldn’t feel confined to changing our surroundings and equipment.
Meetings and events are becoming more and more bespoke and those organising and facilitating them are being judged on the results which are measured like never before. Procurement is no longer battling for the driving seat, but is putting the hammer down this spring, Sebastien Vettel-style.
That hammer has slammed down on public sector meetings and events, with the door to the agencies really only kept open in terms of bids to manage Whitehall’s own venue space. Quite a spring clean is under way.
The 24 March Conference News/Hotel Booking Agents Association Forum at Gordon Ramsay’s Maze restaurant in The Grosvenor Hotel, London, heard many examples of new agency and venue thinking born out of the challenging market of the past couple of years.
Zibrant’s Fay Sharpe reckons glocalisation is the most important issue of the day for agencies looking to make the most of international markets. She made the case for recruiting specialist staff to bridge the international cultural gap for conference commerce and gave the example of Zibrant’s staff roster including 25 nationalities.
Setting up an office abroad can be expensive, but hiring someone who knows an international market and who can speak the language, as well as the language of conferencing and events is one value solution.
The CN/HBAA Forum also dusted down the repercussions of the UK Bribery Act. A common view is that companies would do well to draw up internal procedures and compliance guidelines to minimise any threat of prosecution.
The Law Society has been one of the many voices criticising the lack of certainty over the issue.
Now is the opportunity for our industry to influence the formation of any national guidelines, otherwise a test case could provide some unpleasant surprises for where hospitality strays into the ‘extravagant’ and territory now considered ‘bribery’.
With the All Party Parliamentary Group for Events now inaugurated at Westminster, there are greater hopes for a spring dawn of meetings and events enlightenment among our nation’s lawmakers. The group provides a great chance for us to influence their debate so that we can shape our future industry framework ourselves.
The alternative could be an autumn of the political patriarchs and the events industry.