By Brad Foster
They just don’t get it. Never have and probably never will. Stories are sensational and don’t help one iota.
The Australian ran a story recently entitled How Covid killed the events industry. It was six months after COVID-19 changed our sector and the world like we’ve never seen before.
The writers – for some reason they needed two people to write the puff – focused on fancy corporate events. Certainly, these make up the fabric of the event sector but they are not the events that the entire business event sector is built on.
In discussion with a prominent PCO about the article last week, we both agreed that the large association events, the exhibitions in specific sectors like mining and robotics and foodservice and travel, the majority of which are all about education and business, are really what this sector is all about.
We’re not talking a marquee at a horse race here, although of course that is part of the sector too. We’re talking business events – those that attract (or did) hundreds if not thousands of people who come together, discuss, learn, network, sleep in hotels, eat in restaurants, catch taxis or Ubers and, if the delegates are attending by themselves, will return home and bring their families back at a later date.
This part of the business event sector is the big end of town and the reason why convention bureaux around the country exist; why they spend big to win this business for the good of the city or state or territory they operate in.
The Australian article talked about corporate events with big budgets and plenty of bling. Business events, particularly association ones and exhibitions, are all about education, sharing knowledge and building ongoing relationships.
It would have been nice for the writers of this article to dig a little deeper than what many would describe as the “fun” part of the industry and get to its core. Only then would those working outside the sector really understand what is being lost.