July 7, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier | Image: Event Awards winners in 2020 | Credit: EventPix

The Australian Event Awards have opened for entries to recognise the best events and achievements across the full gamut of the events industry in the last financial year.

Entries for the awards, which cover public and business events, will close on September 19, with an awards ceremony to be held somewhere in Australia in November.

Managing director of the Event Awards Ian Steigrad said after consultation with judges and entrants from 2021 across all sectors of the industry, a decision was made to push the entry process and awards night further back in the year.

“The initial feedback early in the year was that whilst the industry was coming back after COVID people were pretty stretched in terms of not being able to access staff, in terms of trying to get back to business, trying to get their companies back up and running and all that sort of thing, so we came to consensus that it would be a good idea to give people a bit of space to try to get things back together before they started having [to do] things like writing Event Awards entries,” says Steigrad.

“We decided to leave it as long as we could but we also wanted to get the Event Awards in 2022 – we wanted to make sure we had a 2022 awards night and this was about as long as we could push it.”

He says they also checked there was an appetite to hold the awards this year, given the challenges of 2021, which saw more than half of Australia’s population in total lockdown for over a quarter of the year.

“There’s always appetite to have an Event Awards.

“People seem to feel that it’s a tremendously important thing that we have in the industry and that we sort of…buoy people along in difficult times and, obviously, reward them in less difficult times,” he says.

There are 20 categories in the mix for the 2021-2022 financial year, including the return of a couple of categories that have been on sabbatical for varying lengths of time.

“Best New Event we held over during COVID because there wasn’t too much new stuff going on,” says Steigrad.

“We wanted to bring that back as soon as we could and we felt that there was quite a bit of new stuff in the first six months of this year.”

Best Export, a feature from the early Event Awards years, is also back on the agenda, in recognition of Australian companies doing significant work overseas.

“We wanted to acknowledge the fact that there’s been a lot of movement of Australian event expertise overseas during the pandemic and there’s been quite a lot of Australian involvement in international events – a lot of it in the Middle East.

“Expo’s a huge one, but there’s a few others as well.

“And so we wanted to see whether there was enough commitment to exporting in the events industry to warrant an award in that space again,” says Steigrad.

A search for the next home of the Australian Event Awards is also set to get underway shortly as organisers look for a destination host for the next three years.

“The plan is to do a search for a home…shortly – we’ll probably try to get that out in the next couple of weeks with the idea of having something locked in by the close of entries on the 19th of September,” says Steigrad.

A bite-sized Australian Event Symposium will go ahead this year too, likely to feature three keynote-worthy presentations and be held during the day before the awards ceremony in the evening. Steigrad says the intention is to create a short program that will allow the industry to attend both  the education and celebration elements in one day and spend only one night away from home and business.

Event Awards entries can be completed online now via the Australian Event Awards website.