Venuefinder hears from eight venues on their thoughts for what the new year has in store for the events industry.
Events industry to lead on CSR
Diane Waldron, Sales & Marketing Director, QEII Centre
“After successfully championing sustainability and environmental initiatives, including campaigns like the mia’s #20PercentLess, the events industry is now ready to lead on the broader socio-economic issues of CSR.
Although CSR is on everyone’s radar, I believe there is still a huge amount of education needed to ensure it’s not just done as part of a tick-box exercise but has real meaning and impact.
It’s going to become not just about your CSR policy, but about your true corporate social reputation and how you really live your values every day.
The events industry is perfectly placed to lead on this, with the unique position of being connected to every other industry, and regularly bringing industry leaders from other sectors together. We have the platform to educate and influence and in 2020, I think we are going to see a lot more of that.”
Curation of events
Nicholas Bills, Managing Director of Glaziers Hall
“Event organisers are constantly faced with a never-ending list of decisions and choices: What day should the event be on? At what time? Where should it be held? What food should be served? What activities should be included? Which speakers should be booked? What format should the event take?
In 2020, there is going to be a shift towards the curation of events by venues; streamlining the process by limiting the options, using expert knowledge to create tailored packages that will perfectly meet the needs of the event planner, saving them hours of time and stress.
It’s something we’re doing already at Glaziers Hall, and I can only see the trend growing throughout the year.”
Dan Rose-Bristow, Co-owner of The Torridon
“The wellness movement will finally trickle into the corporate market as employers take more responsibility than ever in looking after their teams’ wellbeing.
Mindful retreats effortlessly blended with carved-out time for blue-sky thinking will become a sought-after choice as organisations seek to encourage taking care of oneself to consequently have a healthier company.
In response to this cultural change, at The Torridon we've created our ‘Mindful Meetings’ package. From including ultra-fresh local produce on menus to taking the extra step with breakout activities including hiking and sea kayaking, the shift towards a more mindful meeting approach will help reinforce the ‘feel better, think better’ mentality, and curated speaker programmes centring on empowerment and happiness will both motivate and nurture delegates’ minds and bodies.”
Increased investment in training and development
Kirsten Kruls, Head of Sales & Events at Lincoln’s Inn
“Training and development should be considered integral to work culture, because it is proven to have benefits for both employees and the business.
I believe that the need for ambitious young talent in our industry and their demand for personal growth will see more venues focus on training and developing both their new recruits and their current members of staff.
Research has shown that development is the key to staff happiness and is often favoured over career progression. Unsurprisingly, it also helps with staff retention. Something we should all focus on as staff shortages across the industry become greater.
Whether it is allocating budget to external training, inviting experts into your venue for a masterclass or scheduling time to mentor a member of your team, more time and money will be invested in training in 2020.”
Innovation and variety in vegan dishes now a necessity
Rachel Azzopardi, Head of Events at Regent’s Conferences & Events
“No longer is it enough for menus to offer a ‘vegan alternative’. The increasingly high-level of culinary competition in the business meetings and events industry means that venues must up their game in their vegan offerings.
The box-ticking exercise of ensuring dietary requirements are adhered to in events is redundant, and with flexitarianism swiftly on the rise, more non-vegans are opting for meat-free plant-based food choices.
With the number of vegans in the UK set to skyrocket, venues are going to have to ensure that the expectations of delegates are not only met, but exceeded, when it comes to offering innovative variety on a menu.
Sourcing good suppliers that share your businesses’ ethics and themselves think outside of the box with identifying new flavours, sets a venue in good stead to produce a show-stopping vegan menu that will stand out from competitors.
‘Choice’ is going to be an ever more necessary word in this industry’s vocabulary and beyond."
Artificial Intelligence and sustainability will be high on the agenda
Paul Martins, Director of Sales at Cavendish Venues
“Technology never stops evolving and there are stronger steps emerging towards Artificial Intelligence (AI) from a customer service perspective.
Some large chain hotels have already incorporated self-service early check-ins, even with room keys being sent to clients’ phones in advance. This kind of interactive development will no doubt filter through to meetings and events further – with registrations handled through apps being just a start.
A study in 12 developed countries by Accenture, revealed that AI could double economic growth rates by 2035 and will increase productivity by 40%.
If Brexit has consequences that further exacerbates staff and skills shortages, investment in AI technology could well offer commonplace efficient solutions for some industry services.”
Sharing similar values
Clare Davies, Sales & Development Manager at The Institution of Engineering and Technology
“In a highly competitive market, it’s imperative to have flexible facilities and state-of-the-art AV to accommodate all manner of events, but in 2020 that’s not going to be enough.
Delegates will be looking to connect with a venue that shares their values, goals and ethos, and while many venues will change and adapt their brand messaging to fit all, it’s important to stand out from the crowd.
In 2020 it will be about your venues’ holistic credentials (do you care about the environment, do you care about your people, do you care about CSR?) as it is going to impact heavily venue choice.”
Improving the delegate experience with tech
Kate Dean, Senior Marketing Executive (Hospitality) at 116 Pall Mall
“For events on a large-scale and bigger budget, technology will improve the experience for delegates in 2020 from the moment they arrive.
Facial recognition will make the registration process faster. Apps can send push notifications with recommendations on which sessions you should attend, based on your interests and your role to help you get the most from an event where there are multiple speakers across a host of sessions in different rooms... all happening at the same time.”
By Mike Fletcher