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A Happy New Year for the London Events Industry

Friday 17 January 2014

 Sam Gill

Our CEO Sam Gill started one of the biggest event companies in London and now is loving life at Story. Here he looks to the year and ahead and what we can expect from the events industry. 

"As we start another new year, we can, for the first time since 2008, drop the question mark from the title of this article.­­

It has been a tough few years for the events industry, driven by the understandable belt-tightening of the major London service companies. But at last the omens are good, as all the main UK economic indicators are pointing to robust growth in 2014 and 15. And, as London led the nation into recession, so it finds itself at the forefront of the recovery.

Not that we will ever return to the corporate exce­­sses of the pre-crash period. Nor, quite frankly, do I ever wish to see this again, despite the potential revenues that this would deliver to London-based agencies.

What we are witnessing (and indeed should applaud) is a gradual and sustained increase in demand for effective events, whether they be to reward and motivate staff or to retain and win new business.

A recovery makes workforces more mobile, as competitors increase their focus on recruitment, so the need to deliver key events to improve loyalty and morale becomes increasingly important. Well designed and delivered events are invariably a more cost-effective retention tool than paying large bonuses, which are increasingly under the watchdogs’ and shareholders’ microscopes.

And, with client and brand-led events, increased consumer spending will naturally lead to healthier PR, launch and live marketing budgets as retailers become more confident in future demand. Charities, many of whom have suffered from low recent event engagement, should also see improved fundraising from events, as confidence returns.

So, with a strengthening London market both in the corporate and private sectors, are there any other reasons to fear for a much-awaited return to a healthy demand for events over the next two years?

Quite the opposite. Many feared that technology would reduce the need for live events, but video conferencing has never really caught on because many companies understand the true value of networking outside of the main auditorium.

In addition, social media and the internet’s ballooning appetite for images and words has only increased the value of live events, which now create a greater impact and reach a far wider audience than those simply attending.

So, as an industry, we can no longer complain about the market. It is now down to us all to deliver relevant, creative and imaginative events that deliver true and lasting value to our clients, whether enhancing their brands or improving the performance of their people.

In this way, the events industry will continue to take market share from above-the-line activity and deliver for itself a deserved and sustained period of growth.

Here’s to a great 2014!"

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