One of the many pleasant things about being a large and influential company is that people want to know what we think, about everything! Over the course of the last year, alongside our excellent partners throughout the industry, I’ve sat on panels and been asked my opinion on everything from Brexit to procurement, from the influx of talent, to how we can forge better relationships in the industry.
I had the pleasure of sharing the latest panel with James Heappey, MP and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Events; Nick Morgan, owner of We are the Fair and recently appointed Board Member of the National Outdoor Events Association; and Alan Miller, Chairman of The Night Time Industries Association. The debate took shape around the amount of recognition we could or should demand as an industry.
I wanted to write this blog as it’s a subject upon which I sit firmly on the fence, and I’d be interested to know other people’s views. On one side of things, I do think the industry deserves recognition for being best in class, globally. On the flip side, it’s a ‘who cares?’ scenario. We all see the happy faces of guests, spectators, and visitors, so what more do we want? Equally, as an industry, are we blighted by government interference, pilloried by the press or experiencing ecological and economic turmoil that will sink us? In 2018, asking for a pat on the back could feel slightly self-indulgent.
I thought about the people we benefit, who we get recognition from as an industry. A clear picture started to emerge, which went on to form the basis of my comments on the stage. For me, the issue of recognition involves three main groups. First and foremost, consumers; or, as I like to call them, ‘people’. Every event organiser gets up in the morning to serve their guests, and it’s those people who will be the guardians of our industry. If we deliver unforgettable experiences, all will be well. They may not appreciate that there is an events industry fuelling their experience, they will be there because of the sport, music, or entertainment industries; but do we really need them to understand the intricacies of event curation, or do we just want them to have a great time?
The second group is the wider community: a wider group of consumers. The athletics fans, the automotive geeks, those in the farming industry, the residents of a town, or the readers of a lifestyle magazine. The communities that the event industry serves, be they geographic, interest-based, sector-based, united by culture or otherwise. The event industry brings communities together, it allows businesses to flourish around them and creates opportunities for personal and fiscal growth. These communities are really important to us and benefit directly from the events industry.
Finally, our clients are core stakeholders for the events industry. Every good idea is brought to life by a team of people and, for GL events, enabling creative event professionals with empowering event infrastructure is what we are all about. We have symbiotic partnerships with our clients that mean we share a commercial interest in the success of the event. If our they win, we win. Do we need our clients to give us a pat on the back? Well, it would be nice; but the partnership is most important and this is where we get the rewards for what we do.
It’s probably the second group that creates the most commercial opportunity for our industry. This isn’t just about recognition; it’s equally about the value attributed to our work. If we can convince people that an event isn’t just a great day out; but brings in business and creates commercial value in myriad different ways, we can encourage growth within our market. If we allow what we do to be reduced to an irritant, to a fun and flippant industry, then we devalue the real benefit of what we do for communities, no matter who, what or where they are.
Answers on a postcard if you have a view!