ASE asked some of our contributors to sum up the year, look forward, or just make a comment. Here is what they had to say.
Peter Jones – Peter Jones Special Events
In the last month alone, we’ve gone from 0 to 70km an hour and many are struggling to keep up – primarily due to staff issues and short lead times.
From what I’m seeing, we then jump from 70km to 100km from February next year but the same staffing issue will still be prevalent.
That’s my number one priority to sort, as without great staff it becomes what can be done as opposed to being able to provide the full service we were used to. Can’t believe I am even contemplating the possibility of having to be selective but I’m not alone, as it is all everyone is talking about. Even the freelances are saying we are booked up, so it is just not the larger event companies. Some suppliers have said if you’re not a regular client then we are not in a position to help.
It will all get sorted but I’m really optimistic about 2022 as we can never go back to where we have come from.
Tracy Wood – Funktionality Events
Team comment – A roller coaster of emotions, going from 0 to 100 and back to 0 several times has become the norm.
We have had a mixture of events and all of this has been a reflection of fluctuating confidence in the 2021 market. The year started with mostly small client lunches, ½ day conferences and small dinners and after the last lock down in early summer the phones ran off the hook with last minute events. We have been executing lots of outdoor picnics, fun days, private events in homes, boats and a few superyachts. On the corporate side we have executed lots of staff Christmas events for 2021 end of year. Unlike 2020 (where corporate events EOY were primarily being held for staff only) we have seen a large increase in corporates getting back to putting on cocktail events and dinners for their clients as restrictions eased to allow us to dance & mingle.
Since October there has been more confidence with larger events and the dance floors have been packed. We have a very large portfolio of entertainment and actually had all of our duos, bands, Djs and magicians on the key dates in December book out which has never happened before. The up side of this is that we have ended the year with a significant growth in our entertainment database and lots of creative new entertainment offerings.
It is clear to us that Sydneysiders have not lost their sense of humour, and have used their down time to come up with lots of playful themes that really embrace our new found freedoms. Australians are a social bunch and we can tell from talking to our clients this year that they are missing the daily interaction somewhat. A conversation with a venue event manager last week was around how noisy the events feel compared to other years and we felt it was because everyone needs to talk and share, dance and shake off the Covid cobwebs…..
Anticipating in 22 – Confidence is my main concern now that we are heading into the New Year and we are having more cases. While overall we anticipate 22 being more stable, confidence seems to be an issue as circumstances continue to evolve. We are going to have to get comfortable with the shift from lock downs and a focus on stopping the spread to living with growing numbers of cases.
How the event market will respond to this is anyone’s guess. We are currently seeing mixed responses, particularly with the introduction of the Omicron strain. Let’s hope everyone gets to see their family and have a nice break over Christmas and New Year. All that seems to matter right now is having some ‘freedoms’ to see those close to us and have a relaxing break, especially for those in the events and hospitality industry. We are a resilient bunch – Merry Christmas, see you on the other side.
Gary FitzRoy – Expertise Events
Gary has been one of our regular contributors during 2021 – Expertise Events finished on a high note with two very successful events – Oz Comic-Con Homegrown in Sydney and Melbourne.
Re-opening to the public after on-again-off-again lockdowns, the doors to both shows played witness to capacity crowds for a weekend full of everything pop culture, including larger-than-life activations and in-person celebrity guests – the first time Oz Comic-Con has been able to facilitate this since 2019.
Gary Fitz-Roy said, “this is part of the healing process, we have to get these communities back together in hopes that it provides the enthusiasm to get into 2022.
“We have been fighting for our ability to just get on with what we do best, which is bringing great experiences to different communities. After months of border closures, lockdowns, and unknowns, we were finally able to get back to what we love.
“The uncertainty meant that we had to pull off two events in two different states in six weeks, a process that would usually take nine months of planning,” said Fitz-Roy. “It was incredibly challenging for all of my team, who have been outstanding through this all, but it was worth it for us all when we saw people able to get back together and do what they love with their tribes.”
Events like Oz Comic-Con demonstrate that the demand for in-person events has never been clearer – a major play for Expertise Events as they look to launch larger shows in the New Year, including Oz Comic-Con Homegrown in Perth, Adelaide, and Brisbane.
Keith Wooten – AV1
Let’s say COVID-19 never happened. The world would have been running along at its fast pace. Our events, conferences and exhibitions would have continued innovating at a slow pace. The COVID-19 pandemic has required urgency in innovation and learning like never before. It taught us resilience, change, confidence (having got through it twice) and a recognition that we have to keep innovating, even during the times without a pandemic chasing us.
In 2022, we won’t go ‘back to live events’, we’ll go forward to virtual, hybrid, live and every situation in between. We’ll do roadshows in a single day, entertain local audiences whilst engaging worldwide participants, we’ll pull together global panellists and offer them a convenient participation interface. We’ll be nimble and prepared for change up to the last minute and for the AV industry specifically, we will confidently demonstrate the value that our services bring to events. Oh, and we’ll place the Greek alphabet on one of Elon’s rockets and banish it to Mars!
Now for some Christmas cheer check out this video
And from a couple of the bureaux
Gareth Martin, CEO Business Events Perth
The announcement from Premier McGowan on WA’s border opening next year is great news for Western Australia’s business events industry, and means that from February 5 onwards, business travellers from national and approved international jurisdictions will be able to visit WA to attend a business event with certainty.
Business travellers in WA spend up to five times more than leisure travellers, so a strong return this market will provide a significant and much-needed boost to WA’s tourism industry, supporting local jobs and businesses.
We know from the activity we’ve seen happening at a local level since the return of events in July 2020 that the appetite to host and attend business events remains strong; with the support of the WA Government, Business Events Perth has sponsored over 350 local events to date since this resumption through our Event Here Now initiative. It’s plain to see that nothing beats face to face meetings.
BE Perth is committed to supporting the recovery of our industry. We’ve got 56 national and international business events confirmed to take place in WA in 2022 representing over 25,400 delegates, and more events pending for 2022 and confirmed for future years, so we’re in a great position to assist our industry along the road to recovery.
The recent announcement from the WA Government of an increase in funding for BE Perth through the Reconnect WA package will be a key factor for us to better position Western Australia in what is an increasingly competitive market.
Julia Swanson, CEO Melbourne Convention Bureau
“2021 was certainly not the year we all had planned, yet we got through it, and our sights are now firmly set on a bright 2022.”
“Things are moving at pace. There is pent up demand for in-person events, with companies eager to bring people back together and we are very much looking forward to welcoming the national and international business events confirmed for Melbourne in the coming year.”
This number will grow with business confidence on the up and a healthy boost from the Victorian National Business Events Program attracting national events to bolster the calendar.
In 2021 (calendar year) MCB secured 64 business events for Melbourne. These events are expected to attract almost 46,000 delegates and inject $191 million direct revenue to the Victorian business events supply chain and provide long-term certainty for Victoria’s visitor economy in the coming years.
“We’ve won over 80 per cent of everything we bid for, which is a 20 per cent increase on previous years.”
Melbourne now has 123 international and national business events confirmed from now until 2028 worth more than $803 million and expected to attract close to 134,000 delegates filling over 385,000 room nights. It’s a strong pipeline.
Whilst there’s some way to go after the sustained impacts of COVID, international client sentiment is positive. Victoria’s reopening has rebounded interest in booking events and news of Australian borders opening for travel-bubbles with the likes of Singapore and Korea has certainly fuelled enquiry.
“We are also closing out the year with a flurry of new partners signing on to MCB’s Partnership Program which is another strong signal of industry confidence.”
“MCB’s Partnership Program will put their business at the forefront of international and domestic event planners and key industry decision-makers as we confidently re-emerge into the new business landscape which will be hyper-competitive in 2022.”
The last few months of 2021 have been a transition period as the event sector builds back momentum and adjusts to the new operating rhythm and preparation for a big 2022.
Looking towards 2022
“We are excited for the return of Melbourne signature events of the Australian Open, Grand Prix in early 2022 and the Asia Pacific Incentive Meetings Event (AIME) in March.”
AIME 2022 will be the first international trade show to be held in Melbourne since reopening and will be a significant recovery platform for the business events industry in Victoria.
“It’s our opportunity to show the world that Melbourne and Australia are back.”
“We’ll see other international business events by mid-2022, including one of my personal favourites, the World Baristas Championship and World Brewers Cup in July. Interest out of Asia for small-medium groups is increasing and we expect this market to return quickly once air access is established.”
The outlook is bright. There is a raft of new hotel openings with five set to welcome guests before the end of the year including the new five-star Oakwood Premier Melbourne. The LUME at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre is offering a range of exclusive corporate event packages including thoughtfully curated menus, sound, and tech support to create an unforgettable multi-sensory event experience.
The spiritual home of Australia’s sporting and entertainment capital has a brand-new events and conference venue, CENTREPIECE at Melbourne Park. Spanning over 4,500 sqm across three levels and encompassed by open green spaces, the innovative venue has the capabilities to host everything from large-scale conferences and major awards nights, and gala celebrations including five-star dining experiences.