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ICC Wales

Government may prioritise events based on value to economy

The Business of Events, a not for profit series of independent cross sector events designed to engage, support and promote the UK events industry, as well as advises the Events Industry Board, has suggested that business is unlikely to return to a ‘normal market’ before mid-2021.  

However, its latest Business Events Industry Briefing says that with a busy Q4 2020 and Q1 2021 looking increasingly likely, the government has indicated that there may need to be system or process that prioritises events in relation to their economic value and drivers. 

Although Conference News cannot confirm that this is planned, such a decision could see further ‘non-essential’ events being forced to cancel or move to another date to make way for those which are regarded as vital to helping rebuild the overall economy.

A benefit of this, the report says, is that government is increasingly seeing events as not just an economic value provider or job creator, but also as a way it can grow specific sectors. 

As a busy Autumn is expected, demand is likely to outstrip supply and a sharp increase in conferences up to 250 delegates is expected. VisitBritain initial research reveals the meetings and events sector has seen approximately 74% of organisers postponing planned events in the UK. Some 62% have cancelled short term events, those within the next one to three months, while 42% have cancelled long term events which we due to take place beyond three months from now.  

The report notes that some events are moving online, due in part to maintain engagement, but also because there is an indication that there may be a shortage of venue capacity during the last Q4 2020 and Q1 2021, particularly in London. So-called second- and third-tier venues in both London and further afield will be able to take some of this additional volume, the report says. 

The spike in conference business returning will be largely attributed to corporate companies which want to bring their teams back together as quickly as possible once the Covid-19 crisis has subsided. Within the association market, that desire is expected to be even greater, says the report, as their annual events are also some of their most revenue generating. Opportunities for venues and service providers in London will be numerous, as will be the market outside of the capital, the report notes. 

Elsewhere in the report it is stated that the incentive market is already showing signs of a potential rapid recovery, that hotels may need to become ‘full service’, and that consolidation between the events industry’s trade associations is possible as a result of the financial strain. 

Further analysis of other parts of the report will be forthcoming. 

Pictured: The Business of Events Forum Wales, ICC Wales, 2019