Save Victorian Events has released the results of a snap survey of Victoria’s Event Industry. This is the fourth survey we have done of the event industry in the last year. We’ve had over 400 responses.
The purpose of these surveys is to get solid data that we can all use to brief governments, media and others about the real situation in the Event industry, and so we can all lobby for much needed support.
The results show three quarters of events planned for January and February being cancelled (46%) or postponed (28%) and many of the rest (16%) at serious risk.
Some events are still happening – which is great – and they absolutely need to be supported as we know events can be run safely.
Average income for the March quarter for Event Industry businesses is forecast to the down by 68% compared to the same period of a normal year.
For the majority of the pandemic, their income has been down by 81% – which has been absolutely devastating.
85% of the Victorian Event Industry’s economic activity comes from business events. So conferences, business meetings, seminars, expos and activations for the not for profit, government and commercial sectors. In a normal year in Victoria there are more than 120,000 of these events and with a direct spend of over $12 billion. (And $35.7 billion nationally.)
Most business events are considered to be an extension of work and the workplace.
The Victorian government has had in place for a number of weeks now a very strong health recommendation for everyone to work from home if they can.
There is really no effective difference between a strong government health recommendation and a formal restriction. The risk of public shaming and reputational damage from going against a government health recommendation is, for a lot of organisations, a far greater sanction than the risk of a fine.
This has been proved over the last two years with a majority of business events not happening while there has been a government work from home health recommendation in place – as they are considered to be work and an extension of the workplace.
So while there is a government mandate in place to work from home – be it a formal restriction or a strong health recommendation – the majority of business events, and many other types of events, will not happen.
Today’s survey results reflect this.
If an industry cannot operate due to government mandate it is fair and reasonable that there should be financial support. All general financial support for people and businesses finished at the end of September 2021 – nearly four months ago.
Events do have lead times, so a lot of those involved with events have not done an event since the end of the Delta lockdown. Their first events were schedule to be in February / March but these have largely evaporated as we are effectively in lockdown again.
Until the strong government health recommendation to work from home is lifted, the majority of business events and many other types of events will not happen. When the recommendation is lifted, it will still take a couple of months for events to really start due to the lead times involved. Event businesses need to continue to be supported until most events can finally start to happen again.
There needs to be financial support for Event Industry businesses like the jointly federal and state funded Victorian Business CAP program that can be implemented very quickly, as well as support for Event Industry workers.
AusOpen is a Brilliant Event
It is great that the AusOpen is still happening. It is a truly brilliant event, and does provide work for some event people and businesses and gives a really positive message about events. We do encourage people to buy a ticket and go to the AusOpen and any other events that are still running – as we know events can be run very safely.
But the reality is that the vast majority of Victoria’s event people and businesses don’t work on the AusOpen. (Major events account for just 5.2% of our industry’s economic activity.) They work on conferences, seminars, family days, festivals, fetes, exhibitions, concerts, community days, professional weddings, etc… All of which have been hit very hard by Omicron.
The Event Industry has been one of the very hardest hit industries over the last two years. Some have have seen their events postponed three or four times. And some haven’t managed to get a single event across the line through this whole pandemic.
We are Optimistic About the Future.
We are very hopeful that once we are through the Omicron outbreak and the work from home health recommendation is lifted that events will start to happen again – and the survey results reflect this – but this is still many more weeks away. As an industry we are all doing everything we can to get events happening again.
Call Your Local Members of Parliament
We encourage everyone to pick up the phone and call your local state and federal MPs to tell them our your own situation and about these survey results. Its something that does make a difference. A lot of MPs do have some knowledge of the current situation, but hearing first hand from people in their electorate really does help push things – especially in an election year.
This link will quickly bring up the contact details for your local state and federal MPs (and the link works nationally):
In a week where there is much talk of the benefit of events – and what our industry does – for Victoria, this needs to be matched by real financial support for the businesses and people that are Victoria’s Event Industry.
The Save Victorian Events Team.
Quotes from Survey Respondents
“Most events for January and February have been cancelled or postponed, so this quarter’s income has disappeared.”
“Had events lined up for January and February – which have now been postponed – hoping March events might go ahead – but clients getting very nervous.”
“We are starting to have jobs postponed from February and March and expect most of these contacts will be pushed to the second half of 2022 or into 2023. Most of these jobs had been moved form the second half 2021. For a 3rd year in a row now we are suffering major financial loses.”
“Clients are asking for postponements from the front end to the back end of the year. Some clients are on to their 3rd postponement.”
“Worse than lockdowns as we have the same drop in business but with no government support at all.”
“Prior to the Omicron wave I had a lot of business booked. As of this week all of January events have cancelled and now February is doing the same.”
“We have just had over $250k in bookings postpone for Feb-April 2022.”