Isn’t it funny how we come to miss something only after we no longer have it?
I raise the point because it reflects the sentiments of exhibitors who have come to realise how important and enjoyable it is actually meeting with clients. It’s all about ‘personal contact’ which is not the same online or over the telephone. They miss it!
We know that from experience because each time we thought the worst of COVID was over and announce new expo dates (only to then find that the new dates are impacted by new government restrictions), we are inundated with calls and emails from suppliers saying they were looking forward to seeing clients again, face-to-face!
Equally we receive even more emails from visitors wanting attend the show, sometimes totally unaware of government restrictions.
For that reason we are pleased to provide an update given the increasingly positive outlook; vaccination rates are providing light at the end of the tunnel. With current projections that NSW will open around mid-October to fully vaccinated people. Victoria and Queensland should not be far behind.
With Christmas looming, and even with current lockdown restrictions, companies need to review new products and collections that will be available for the busiest and now the most important sales period in 2021. And they must forward plan for the annual New Year sales, which are growing in importance.
The other feedback I continually receive is the desire and need for suppliers to connect with clients before Christmas, something we understand and appreciate. It’s even more important for those companies who have not met face-to-face with clients for as much as two years!
So it’s great to have a road map in NSW at least, and for the first time in months we should be feeling optimistic. And as I have raised previously, the real issue is around confidence, which is still the single biggest element to conquer.
It is clear the states won’t touch COVID cancellation insurance and I am reliably informed it’s been pushed to the Federal Government. Which is basically what the UK did and partly why I recently suggested that we need to reset and focus on what we can do to get going.
18 months on nothing has changed, we need to have a clear pathway and road open to confidently get going.
All the feedback from clients is around that lack of confidence that we get to a week or two before opening and have to pull the event. We need to solely focus on this to get going. As the music industry rightly raised we cannot continually have start /stop, we need to plan and instil confidence.
NSW has certainly stated that milestones means freedoms and this translates into Business Event running, my understanding is that at 70% we will reopen under the 4sqm per person rule and at 80% I understand a number of ministers are pushing for 2sqm, something Queensland changed to last Friday without any fanfare! That said the Qld premier’s announcement on not reopening fully until 90% is a feat rarely achieved anywhere in the world, which just underlines how she is off with the pixies and is sounding like Mark McGowan – very out touch. God knows how tourism will rebound in Queensland, let alone Business events.
If NSW Government keeps to their word they should be able to commit publicly that based on reaching the vaccination targets being reached we can function with no fear, yet they haven’t, which begs the question why not? I understand they felt the pressure to announce something, but now a few weeks on we surely should be able to have some meat on the bone. Given how many people are lining up to announce how many meetings they have had with various government bodies it still does not sound like they are addressing the core issue.
I have been critical of Dan Andrews, but I respect his current stance with the building industry – treating everyone equally and not being bullied into a position that counteracts the state getting out of lockdown. The Victoria Roadmap in a lot of respects aligns with NSW, which makes sense if NSW and Vic can at least operate and agree on opening that will leave Qld, like WA, severely affected.
The collective voice needs to be around confidence to resume business and the road to remain open, if Governments can’t commit to that why dangle the vaccine carrot, as the sector most now impacted over the greatest amount of time it would be nice to have a surety.
Here’s a quote to end with: The only easy day was yesterday!
We cannot give up on the squeaky wheel of our sector’s real needs, confidence remains the centre and major focus as with it there are enough resourceful people within our sector who will stand up and deliver in 2022!