An Open Letter To The Events Industry

Stephanie Hall, Group Director of Sales & Marketing at Exclusive Collection
Published on March 20, 2020

The last ten days have proved that while the events industry can plan for success, plan for contingency and plan for change, there is no plan for uncharted territory.

However, what has become increasingly apparent is the collective and tempered approach taken by the industry to keep clients meeting and, significantly, to ensure that everyone in the supply chain is as unaffected as possible. 

The MICE sector must collectively thank Martin Fullard who led the charge for the events industry.  He helped put the enormity of the sector on the national agenda with TV and radio appearances, and to Matthew Rakowski-Goreta who created the government petition to provide economic assistance to businesses and staff employed in the events industry. This petition stands at just over 124,000 signatures and signifies the impact ‘the business of getting together’ has on the economy. Thanks also goes to The MIA for its lobbying and to Claire Wormsley who took to the BBC and shared how global events were being cancelled, postponed and reassuringly for us all – rebooked. 

The ramifications of the current situation go without saying. However, if the green shoots of displaced business and rebookings come to fruition from late September onwards, we will all be very busy. 

Like everyone in the sector we have put a plan in place for the next few months and we hope that every organisation involved in the journey is as unaffected as possible both personally and commercially.

As we gather as one voice, we must remain positive and strong for the time ahead too. With many events postponing until September onwards (a month we’d all already expected to be busy), we must continue to work collectively. New demand should see us collaborate with our competitors to ensure the best rates for our corporates and agents. We should be helping the industry, and our counterparts, by referring business and helping clients get through their backlog of training, event or reward requirements.

Corporates are taking the sting from these unprecedented times, therefore, when things have calmed down, we should recognise their value and reward them for carrying on meeting face-to-face.

Martin and Claire’s rallying cry to keep running events has been heard by an audience who never fully appreciated the impact of face-to-face. It’s now our opportunity to keep this bigger conversation going at national level, to show our professionalism and to keep highlighting the impact the industry has on the UK and global economy.

We are in unchartered territory, we will feel the impact, but we will also see the welcome return of guests and delegates to our properties. For now, it’s key for us all to protect our people, guests and supply chains.  As has been proven we can all talk as one – albeit online for the time being. 

I for one look forward to the time when we can thank our peers and those who have helped raise the sectors commercial significance with a safe, scrubbed and very firm hand shake. 

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