The event industry is once again being affected by COVID as governments and unions call for working from home where possible, with the flow on effect on events of all sizes.
As we know working from home is not practical for 80% of the time when it comes to events. Sure events can be planned from home but they cannot be delivered from home.
The core premise of the events industry is face to face – otherwise we are just producing television.
Some current examples – this week I attended a small industry get together where a number of people cancelled at the last minute due to contracting COVID.
Gary FitzRoy reports that four separate exhibitors were on their way to set up at an expo he is running in Melbourne and then pulled out due to contracting COVID and another had to pull out after they set up. And at the same time attendees are questioning whether they should attend because media reports are suggesting that they should stay at home.
Gary also reports that a conference scheduled for next week in Melbourne has been cancelled as have two upcoming exhibitions slated for next month.
PCMA have cancelled their Asia Pacific conference telling members “As the Asia Pacific region continues to navigate the uncertainties put forth by the global pandemic, PCMA recognises that business events professionals in some markets are overwhelmed with producing events in an intense environment, while certain markets have yet to re-open fully….. and the extended border restrictions have proven to be a barrier in our efforts to deliver an impactful and meaningful Convening Asia Pacific for all stakeholders.”
I’ve had various industry figures suggest I should be putting a more positive spin on getting events back up and running.
Yes it is great to see events back and many businesses I’ve spoken to are now flat out delivering those events – but they also admit to the challenges and the uncertainty – and we have to face up to that.
Once again I go back to the lack of a united industry voice, and that is because the industry is so vast and there are too many sectors with vested interests. While other industry associations are offering support and advice to their members (and advocating on their behalf) the only advice we get in our industry is to “follow the government health orders”.
With a new federal government could this be the time to hold a summit to meet with all the interested parties.
New governments do hold industry summits – wages, environment, etc, so should we be calling for an event industry summit that involves all aspects of events with representatives of all event industry bodies – Business Events, Festivals (arts and music), Performing arts, Major events, Public events, Private events (eg weddings); along with the ecosystem that supports events – Venues, Hospitality, Accommodation, Travel, Suppliers such as technology, staffing, security, catering, staging, transport, etc.
And this summit should be with all state and federal ministers representing the areas we work in – Major events (none seem to have minister covering all events), Travel, Tourism, Small Businesses, Health, Transport, Accommodation, etc because there is no one ministry that covers the entire event industry at a state or federal level.
When you put all that together then hopefully governments will see the true extent of the event industry and the value of that industry to the Australian economy.
So, am I confident this will ever happen? Nope! But I can live in hope.