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Vice Chairman's Blog

It is autumn and the nights are longer than the days, the hurrah of returning the kids to school has passed into the long haul towards half term and arguing about where to spend Christmas this year.  But enough about the home life of our own dear Queen.  With another jubilee year ahead, she really is great, isn’t she? 

Talking of great, I’m sure we are all still reeling from the fantastic success of the launch of the new GREAT Britain campaign, which formed the centrepiece of the trip to New York last month by the Prime Minister.  Despite the attempts of cynics to undermine this bravura performance by pointing out that this was the same man that had only recently described Britain as broken and sick, I’m sure that we all felt a little lump of pride in the back of our throats at this startlingly effective volte-face.  As a previous incumbent at No10 once famously said, “Events dear boy, events.” 

So despite the shattering events of late August that cruelly took no account of the GREAT Britain launch plan in September, it did get me thinking (I know, hard to believe, but I do have rare moments of lucidity).  My train of thought ran thus – despite the manifestation of a broken British society that the riots might have revealed to the world, any effort to promote growth and national pride should be really good news for all of us working in the events industry. 

Linking that to the greatest show on earth as it rolls into town next year is of course one of the underpinning campaign themes and I think that too is exciting, as many, many of us will be working on programmes, projects and events linked to the Olympics in one form or another.  There really is a “once in a lifetime” feel about 2012 and some of the facts and figures that have been produced as we prepare for a massive year support the need for all of us to plan and prepare well. 

When it comes to setting out our stall as an industry and a country, this really is a massive opportunity. 

Six million people will watch the Games in person in London, while the worldwide TV audience is estimated to be in the region of 4 billion – even more when the beach volley ball is on. 

It is estimated that at least 250 CEOs will be in town, with every FTSE 100 company CEO present. 

Around 150 Heads of State will be clogging up those special Olympic lanes with their motorcades. 

20,000 members of the World’s media will be present, with some 6,000 unaccredited ones charging around trying to get great angles on the whole fandangle. 

And when we get into the detail of the value of the Games as identified in both our bid documentation and by the IOC, the numbers are equally massive - £5.1 billion total stimulus to the economy of the London 2012 Games, estimated £750 million increase in consumer spending during the Games period and £1.37 billion increase in economic output per year for the three years after the 2012 Games. 

In short, all of us involved in delivering exceptional service and outstanding experiences will hopefully be very busy doing just that.  But in order to ensure that we are, we also need to make sure that our planning and preparedness is as world-class as our global reputation as an industry.  Obviously many of you will have already engaged with key clients to discuss their requirements and plans for next year – the current shift of booking patterns being reported by many venues in 2012 is evidence that this critical client engagement has already started. 

But as one of the folks involved in Vancouver said, “It kind of creeps up on you.”  And critically for us, ensuring that we manage long term relationships across the supply chain that can withstand the demand onslaught that is bound to come will be extremely important.  If your most important client asks for something that you’ve sold out of, or can’t source or supply because you’ve done a lucrative short term deal with someone here just for 7 weeks, how will you cope and what will you say? 

So review your business planning processes, identify who’ve you not heard from, talk to clients and suppliers alike and make sure that you really are ready to handle both the known and unknown demands that will be placed on many of us in the events industry.  I’m sure it will be great but it will take all the great folk we work with working together better than ever before. 

Simon Hughes

  • International Confex
  • Air Partner
  • Candada
  • Active Events
  • Event Assured

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