BVEP manifesto appeals for support from politicians

The Business Visits and Events Partnership (BVEP) is calling on the government to support the events industry and help ‘make Britain the natural destination choice for all sectors of the event industry.’

The BVEP’s events manifesto which was recently sent to 350 MP’s, has appealed to the government to support the events and meetings industry through investment, business incentives and tax changes. The manifesto, is to be presented again at the House of Commons in October, during National Meetings Week.

The document features 10 reasons why the events and meeting industry is imperative to the UK’s economy. Key points included in the manifesto ask the government for greater recognition of the events industry’s contribution to tourism, trade and cultural enterprise and for the government’s help in attracting more events to Britain.

BVEP chairman Michael Hirst said to online meeting portal Meetpie: “We sent it out on Friday and we have had feedback already. The launch of this manifesto is one of the most significant events for our industry and begins the process of ensuring this vital sector achieves the voice it so critically needs.”

With government cuts already threatening the public sector, Hirst acknowledged that it might be quite difficult to get the support from local authorities.

Hirst continued, saying: “The beauty of this document is that there are very few requests for money, we are asking for recognition of our industry, support for bids and for local authorities to take events seriously.”

The BVEP have already requested meetings with Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Culture and Media, John Penrose the Minister for Tourism and Ed Vaizey the new Minister for Culture and Creative Industries, to discuss the manifesto.

65% of event managers use social media

A recent study has revealed that event managers are increasingly using social media to promote their events, with 65% of those who took part in the poll on saying they often used the tool.

According to Evocos – a producer of event management software – social media is now an important tool used by professionals to keep delegates and partners up to date with changes made to event spaces, times and logistics, as well as to promote the events themselves.

Only 35% of event managers who responded to the poll said they do not use social media as part of their event management. Speaking in Event Industry News Kate Oxton of Evocos said that she expected this figure to fall over the next 12 months, with the significant figure attributable to the fact that “many businesses are just coming around to the idea of Twitter and Facebook as a marketing tool.”

“Some event managers may be daunted by these new mediums or may be unsure as to the relevancy of it to their organisation,” says Oxton, “However, with more people signing up to Facebook and Twitter every day, it is something that we feel should be considered as part of an event management plan.”

Met warning on 2012 small celebrations

The Met’s Assistant Commissioner has warned that venues for hire could be at risk during last-minute celebrations of the 2012 London Olympics.

Event Industry News reports that Chris Allison, the Assistant Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police, has raised concerns over how the security needs of bigger celebrations and events will affect smaller party venues. London is likely to see hundreds of small-scale events organised at short notice says Allison, and with the emergency services stretched by celebrations across the city organisers will need to be alert.

Mr Allison’s warning comes as the Greater London Authority draws up plans for managing the 2012 Olympics and the surrounding cultural and celebratory events. Already detailed plans have emerged for everything from the deployment of officers to the number and allocation of safety barriers throughout the nation’s capital.

“It is important for the Greater London Authority to get people to sign up to say they are not going to do something last-minute because that could be dangerous,” said Allison, speaking to the London Assembly’s Health and Public Services Committee. “[Event organisers] need to see that there will be a challenge for us in 2012 and need to self-regulate.”

Olympics should raise London's profile as an event venue

London being chosen to host the 2012 Olympic Games, should raise its profile among businesses searching for event venues.

During the International Special Events Society (ISES) forum, some senior figures within the industry expressed concerns about London’s ability to host large events.

Mike Kershaw, MD of Concerto Group told the group that not enough was being done to promote events in London. He is cited in Meetpie as saying: “We’re not making people understand events are incredibly good things for the economy as a whole.”

The meeting between the ISES and the London Mayor’s office was held to discuss the city’s position as a centre of excellence for hosting major business events.

President-elect of ISES Richard Foulkes, said he did not believe enough was done to promote the London 2012 Games at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, this year.

Dan Ritterband, director of marketing for the Mayor of London, explained: “Visit London gets £14m from the chancellor of the exchequer in comparison to Visit Scotland which gets £40m. The Olympics are a great opportunity to position ourselves in people’s mind.

“Research we’ve done in emerging markets show that people still think we all ride Penny Farthings and have Monocles! What we have to do is make people come and see the city and see we’re getting ready for the Games. During that build up is the time to showcase stuff,” he added.

However, it would appear that being the city chosen to host the Games has had some good influence. Amanda Jobbins, vice president of European Marketing at Cisco admitted the lure of the Olympics was enough to make her company host its annual Cisco Live event in London for the next two years.

“We will be taking people to see the Olympic facilities; it’s very exciting,” she said.

Professionals cite enthusiasm for event venue hire in 2010

Event venues and conference centres should see an increase in business over the next year, according to a new survey that reveals the mood among the corporate events management community has dramatically improved.

A survey by industry magazine Special Events has revealed that 18% of respondents to its ninth Corporate Event Marketplace study said that they expected to stage more events in 2010 than they did last year. 35% also predicted that 2011 would see even more work for venues for hire, a huge improvement on the 2009 study when some 35% said they expected to stage far fewer events in 2009 than in 2008.

This positive attitude has also been matched to expectations on how budgets will be invested in special events. Nearly a third of respondents believe that their company’s budget for such events will remain the same in 2011 as in 2010, whilst 41% said that their company is likely to allocate more money to special events in 2011. Only 19% said they expected that location hiring would get less budget funds in the coming year.

According to respondents, there has been an increase in the number of event managers who attempt to measure the ROI on their special events. In 2002, when the survey started, only 28% said they attempted to measure the ROI of events. This year 57% said they would attempt to measure ROI, the highest in the surveys history.

Events industry is worth £18.8 billion

The conference and events industry is worth £18.8 billion to the UK’s economy, a new survey has found.

The UK Events Market Trends Survey (UKEMTS) is an annual survey, which measures the volume and value of the business events and conference market in the UK.

The results of the survey which was launched by Eventia in 1993, aim to provide an estimate of the market’s value in regards of revenue to event venues.

The survey, which was based on information returned by 403 venues, also found that on average, each venue held 379 events in 2009, although this is down slightly from 2008, when the average was 391 events per venue.

Research found that most venues are feeling optimistic about future business with 65 per cent planning on investing in their properties. Of this, nine per cent revealed they would be spending in excess of £1 million, according to the story in Events Magazine.

It was also estimates that 94 million people attended events during 2009 and there were an estimate 1.32 million events held. Each event had an average attendance of 71 people.

The new figures are good news for those that have venues for hire. Last years survey estimates the sector was worth £7.2 billion in comparison to £8 billion the year before.

Industry experts particularly welcome the news after another survey, recently carried out by the Unique Venues of London (UVL) and The Westminster Collection (TWC), found that more than half of all venues had seen a reduction in corporate bookings during 2009.

Cash free events to be launched

From next summer a number of events held in the UK could become cash free, according to The BBC.

The news service claims that payments at a number of venues such as The Porter Tun, King George III, Sugar Rooms, Queen Charlotte room, Smeaton Vaults and James Watt room could be made via a wristband that is also the event ticket, which will have to be pre-loaded with money.

The article reveals that trials have been taking place over the past two years. According to The Independent, major music festivals are planning to go cash free next year, but no event promoter would confirm to The BBC that next year’s events will be completely cash free.

According to Management Today, a festival in Norway was run completely cash free and was a success. “It was straightforward,” the organiser told The BBC. “There was no opposition at all.”

This technology could prove particularly useful to event organisers who will be able to track the behaviour of attendees and use the data to target marketing messages.

However, Management Today pointed out that it could be hard to persuade all retailers to go cash free at such events. Massive music festivals present a serious challenge if vendors need to operate computers to process payments. It would eliminate independent retailers who stroll around the site selling their own produce.

One festival fan told The BBC she would adopt the technology if it could be proved that it was secure. Another said she would worry her spending would get out of control, but agreed that it’s better than carrying cash.

If the technology takes off and proves to be a success, it could be rolled out to an event near you.

Event venues are optimistic about corporate bookings for 2011

A study has found that event venues are optimistic about bookings for corporate events in 2011, according to Event Magazine.

The research found that, despite 2009 being difficult, optimism has returned to the corporate events industry. Many of the 100 event venues questioned claim to be hopeful for next year’s figures.

“Whilst it is undeniable that the recent recession has seen some venues struggle in the marketplace, this survey does highlight the confidence in the corporate market moving forwards,” said Lisa Hatswell, chairman of a venue behind the research.

Rene Dee, chief executive of another venue who conducted the study, said: “This business survey represents my belief that, in producing more meaningful and up to date research for our particular sector, this will help us to guide us in future decision making about how London promotes itself in this vital area.”

The study found that 55% of venues recorded a drop in the number of corporate bookings last year. 79% of venues said that lead times have continued to remain short, however just over half of the venues said delegate numbers are remaining steady.

This is good news for the corporate events sector, especially after some commentators claimed that the emergency budget would negatively impact the industry.

According to Meetpie, the budget would lead to ‘belt tightening’ around corporate event spend. However, the article also pointed out that the reduction in corporation tax would free up cash for business owners. Juliet Price, head of marketing and business and intelligence at an event venue, said that spending cuts would lead to a bigger demand for online self booking tools to help businesses get the best rates for events.

Event industry should 'wake up' to video potential and popularity

The event industry needs to wake up to the potential of video, said Google UK industry head Andrew Barke.

According to Event Magazine, Barke was speaking at the Summer Eventia event. He said that video makes up one third of all internet traffic, and events need to focus on this more. He revealed that, for the words ‘event’ and ‘marketing’, there are “over 350,000 impressions” on YouTube every month.

This means that all venues for hire should consider equipping themselves with AV technology, so videos can be broadcast during events as well as created.

This is reaffirmed by Cisco’s predictions that video will represent 90% of web traffic by 2013.

Visitors commenting on the story agree that video should be a focus for the events industry. Tom Lambridge wrote: “Event videos are proven to engage visitors and give extra value to exhibitors. They extend event marketing reach into the social media space; in and beyond Facebook and YouTube.”

This message was supported by Kenny Holmes, creative director at a communications agency who said that live events and digital technology are fundamentally “great bed fellows”, according to Conference & Incentive Travel.

Speaking at the same event, Holmes said that the need for live events will continue, despite a boom in virtual communication.

“In a world where the virtual becomes more real, the live event becomes ever more vital,” he said. “I believe that digital can enhance live, which is why we embed it so much into experiences.”

He added: “There is always an ROI question and events are quite budget consumer. But digital technology is great at extending the experience before and after the event.”



Despite public sector squeeze, SME’s embrace events

The government is “overdoing” public sector cuts, claims business economist Dominic Swords.

According to Conference & Incentive Travel, Swords told delegates at the Summer Eventia event that a strong focus on private sector, profit-driven growth will resonate throughout the events industry.

The news came as part of his session which, according to Event Magazine, was titled ”Economic prospects and the recovery request – imperatives for the UK events and business tourism industries.”

Claiming that the squeeze on the public sector is bigger than that required to deal with the deficit, Swords said: “It will fundamentally shift growth drivers away from the public sector to the private sector. But SMEs are winners. Firms with flexible mindsets will realise where the growth is happening and be quick to move.”

“SMEs will really rule the roost over the next seven years,” he said.

The news comes after Conference & Incentive Travel reported that industry figures have warned the budget could signal austere times for conference venues. In fact, Motivcom group executive director Nigel Cooper said that the announced cuts in public spending could be worse than the recession for event spaces.

However, BI’s operations director Rachel Stevens told the magazine in a previously published article: “On the bright side, while event spending is still low compared to 2007 levels, our industry has worked very hard to prove the value of face-to-face communication and so consequently I don’t anticipate the brakes will be applied as hard as they were a couple of years ago.”