BY JEREMY GARLING

Many unprecedented changes have occurred in the event industry this year and more will follow over the coming 12 months, says Fourth Wall Events’ Jeremy Garling.

Changes have included the merging, and in some cases the closing, of industry event leaders; the change to venues as they close for major renovations with a flow on effect for those that feed from bookings; but most importantly and rightly so – the need for corporate clients to see innovation and justification at every part of the event process.
Event practitioners need to deliver a strategic outcome for every offering; they need to protect clients from financial waste in the event process and they need to redefine creativity at each opportunity.
Parties for the sake of parties have been in the past for some time, so let’s start talking about results for our client’s business as opposed to results for the single event.
We are part of the marketing mix and need to clearly set out that the investment by our clients will result in a clearly tangible return. Achieving this will ensure the business market sees the imperative nature of our sector… for instance: a restructure means a roadshow to explain the new structure – this will improve efficiencies in the business; a new campaign needs an internal motivation event so all channels of the business are using the initiative to the fullest; extending the life of the event beyond the three to four hours it runs for so the impact is significant, and so forth.
We as an industry are vital to successful businesses and how they communicate their brand and their strategy; to highlight this we all need to ensure we are positioning ourselves in the correct light.
We as an industry also need to protect our clients from charges that are excessive, thereby enabling more to be achieved for the guest and therefore better return on results. With the discussion that is currently occurring about ‘in-house technical director’ (TD) fees, attention should also be brought to ‘corkage’ (a generic term that lacks transparency, price consistency and fails to allow clients to take advantage of their own deals), ‘tasting catering charges’ (an integral part of the process, and an unnecessary charge), and ‘commissions’ (which Google can easily deliver in a few key strokes), for they all belong in the same category – charges that should have disappeared with the use of lycra flanking projection screens.
Yet, none of these points will be the future of our industry if creativity is not at the forefront. “All the world’s a stage” from Shakespeare’s As You Like It never rings more true than now…our sites, locations, venues and pop up spots are places for magic to happen and we need to take our guests there.
Festivals were once considered a flagging source of entertainment, but they innovated and now flourish; opera has never achieved more than it currently does with OzOpera and Opera On The Harbour, again a clear innovation of the art form. In the same way, events need to inspire, to challenge, to inform and to motivate… our future lies in innovation and becoming storytellers of the business we represent and bringing strategic outcomes to them.

Jeremy Garling is director of Fourth Wall Events. He can be contacted via email –
jeremy@fourthwallevents.com.au