Event professionals are committed to working together to find practical ways to get Britain meeting again safely and as soon as possible – that was among the key takeaways from our micebook talks to Industry Voices event last week.
More than 500 people registered for our first extended talks last Wednesday (10th June), hosted by micebook founder Chetan Shah, with attendance peaking at around 320 during the afternoon.
The event kicked off with an inspiring and memorable keynote by John Peters, a former RAF pilot who shared how his experiences as a prisoner of war in the first Gulf War could potentially help people cope with the isolation and challenges of lockdown and the Covid-19 crisis. His key advice included:
-Accept your reality
-Look beyond the walls
-Remain calm and committed
-Discipline and deliberate practice – create new habits
-Manage your energy, and your fear
The keynote was followed by five session takeovers and networking opportunities. You can watch recordings of all sessions on our micebook voice forum.
HBAA: Beyond 4th July – an industry discussion
Chaired by C&IT editor Calum Di Lieto, with panel members including HBAA Chair Lex Butler, this session looked at what lies ahead for the events industry covering confidence, expectations, contracts and rates. “It was an optimistic but realistic debate. We discussed how many agencies are fighting to get money back from suppliers for their clients and not seeing any for themselves and how moving forward, contracts need to be written in a way that is mutually beneficial for all parties,” said Di Lieto.
“Collaboration is needed from all aspects of the industry, and HBAA is advising members not to drop rates to try and win business as this will have a detrimental effect in the long term.”
HIRE SPACE: Safer Events – A framework for action in the events sector
This session focused on the Safer Events Framework White Paper, which attendees were encouraged to download start the road to accreditation. “We covered the practical steps and the nuts and bolts of planning an event under new guidelines. It was extremely encouraging to see the level of engagement from the audience – the questions they were asking were very practical questions about how you go about doing this. This is a marked change from a couple of weeks ago,” said Edward Poland, Co-Founder of Hire Space.
“Buyers are past that stage of what on earth do we do and are very much thinking about how we do it, engaging with venues and suppliers and internally to put the solutions in place to make events happen. It was a really encouraging session.”
Read an overview of this session here
SITE GB: A focus on UK incentives
Chaired by SITE GB president Elliott Grant and featuring two agencies and two local DMCs on the panel – Purple Dog Solutions Founder Chris Clarke, Kate Anstis, Co-founder, Freshly Squeezed Events, Leigh Butterfield, Director 2B-UK and Crothúr Murphy, Crafted Ireland & Custom Ireland – this session covered the incentives market. “We discussed the opportunity to break down agency/DMC barrier to be more creative about what we put together for incentives,” said Grant.
“We also talked about sexing up the UK as an incentive destination. Regional destinations need to be more creative about selling themselves and create stories that we can sell to our clients. We laughed about how we could even use things like the British weather as a fun selling point and use it to our advantage with branded umbrellas and Hunter welly room drops.”
Studio Black Tomato: How to start selling again
Led by Adam Larter, Co-Head: Business & Strategy at Studio Black Tomato with input from Black Tomato Agency Co-Head David Heron, this session focused on how to start selling again in these challenging circumstances, when clients and consumers are concerned about the safety of travel. “We looked at how financial brands responded to the financial crash of 2008. If banks, who were hated at the time, could go out there and sell, then we can get out and start selling travel,” said Larter.
“We also focused on the need to balance the educational hygiene and safety messages with more inspirational messages. You don’t always need those post-Covid messages – you might be doing all those things to protect people, but you don’t need to be talking about them all the time as its not inspiring or exciting. We gave the example that if you were selling a safari, there are dangerous elements, and you don’t lead with those. You lead with the amazing imagery and wildlife experiences as that’s what sells.”
EMA: Returning to ‘Live’ – the corporate view from EMA
Moderated by EMA (Event Marketing Association) Chair Richard Waddington with Liberty Global Head of Events Anna Fox and Rathbones Head of Events Christopher McCarthy, this session focused on the corporate view. The panel shared how through a working group, EMA is drawing up guidelines for best practice and recommendations for members on how to deliver live events safely once the government allows and what they need to be looking at and doing.
After the sessions and a quick wrap up, attendees bar-hopped between a number of virtual bars – we were entertained by magicians at the Ablemaxx bar, and shown how to mix cocktails and transported to overseas locations at the Pearl Representation, Shangri-La and Accor bars, followed by an after-party micebook bar.