Insight: Issue 125 | Wed 8 March
Event News Everywhere All at Once
Are you Oscars ready? Well, how’s about some Academy-worthy insight from the events trade to kick off proceedings. Expect laughs, tears, drama and delight. (But maybe less from Will Smith this time)
This week’s nominations include: Celebrities out in force for launch of ‘UK-first’ Lightroom; Industry leaders debate key issues at Event Production Show; MIA hails successes of strong but challenging year; Have the rules for business networking changed post-Covid?; and ExCeL London partners with isla
Celebrities out in force for launch of ‘UK-first’ Lightroom
David Hockney’s been making a splash in London’s King’s Cross this week with the launch of his innovative and totally immersive ‘David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (not smaller & further away)’ exhibition.
The star-studded opening do (seeing the likes of Tom Hanks, Elton John and Paul McCartney in attendance) marks the first digital art show to be held at the English capital’s new Lightroom venue – a four storey high wraparound space that uses cutting edge AV technology and the UK’s first fixed Holoplot X1 Matrix Array sound system to immerse its visitors in 60 years of the painter’s work.
Speaking on Holoplot’s innovative new sound tech, Lightroom’s Chief Exec Richard Slaney comments:
“Holoplot represents a unique opportunity for us to create compelling sound worlds for our audiences, and exemplifies Lightroom’s ambition to use cutting-edge technology to create spectacular artist-led shows.”
Industry leaders debate key issues at Event Production Show
Last week, London’s ExCel centre played host to another successful Event Production Show. The annual two day conference brought together senior industry profs to discuss the key issues facing the industry.
The event got under way with a panel featuring LIVE CEO Jon Collins, Artichoke CEO Helen Marriage, Parklife co-founder Sacha Lord and Boomtown operations director Judy Bec discussing topics such as changing consumer behaviour and what needs to be done to entice young people back to events. In terms of solution, Collins suggested that the UK gov work side by side with the industry to run a ‘Let’s Do London’ style initiative – a business boosting campaign that generated a whopping £289m return.
One of the main talking points at this year’s conference was Operation London Bridge; a 12,000 steward strong affair that saw an unprecedented amount of close cooperation between agencies and companies to see the project through.
Panelist and CEO of LS Events Steve Reynolds said, “Discussing Operation London Bridge on the main stage at the Event Production Show gave us a platform to share learnings and give our industry peers a glimpse inside the epicentre of this unique project. I was proud to tell our story and take a moment to reflect on what we achieved in the delivery of the State Funeral for HM Queen Elizabeth II.”
The event also saw debate from key players such as Silverstone Circuits head of operations Lucy Hayes, Wembley Stadium head of event operations Paul Smyth and Arcadis’ Debbie Knellar.
MIA hails successes of strong but challenging year
At The Meetings Industry Association’s (MIA) 33rd AGM, board members celebrated the significant achievements made in what has undoubtably been a particularly challenging year for the sector.
Outgoing chair of the association Steve Jones (who is soon to hand over the reins to Whittlebury Hall’s Charles Sargeant) addressed the external factors affecting the industry’s ability to trade, from high inflation to political instability – and how the MIA continue to lobby on these issues on behalf of it’s members;
“We are in regular dialogue with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and hold a three-way meeting every six weeks.”
This year’s MIA events programme included Connect Days in Exeter, Liverpool, London and Birmingham, Destination Summits in Llandudno and Newcastle as well as over 25 webinars. The events offered members support on everything from proposal writing to managing people’s performance.
This year’s AGM also touched on the association’s aims for the coming year, as issues surrounding sustainability and wellbeing continue to increase in priority. MIA Chief executive Kerrin MacPhie comments:
“As well as planet and profit, this also involves people and ensuring that organisations recognise the importance of implementing robust wellbeing strategies. This will be more important than ever as we seek to attract and retain talent in our sector, something we are committed to championing,”
Have the rules for business networking changed post-Covid?
To handshake or not to handshake? That is the question.
Post-pandemic, it’s fair to say that judging what is acceptable social etiquette at a networking event or cocktail party has become more difficult. Luckily, Smart Meetings recently interviewed international etiquette expert and author Jacqueline Whitmore, where she laid down some handy advice on the dos and don’ts of professional interaction.
Here’s some of our fave Q&A’s:
What are the current expectations of a dress code for business meetings?
JW: Business meetings now tend to be a bit more casual—smart casual instead of suits and ties, but people are still dressing professionally.
If you’re at an event and you see someone you haven’t seen in a while, and maybe don’t remember their name, what is the best course for re-introducing yourself?
JW: Name tags are a blessing, right? But let’s say that you don’t necessarily remember talking to them. And so, one way would be to say, ‘Remind me where we met or when we last spoke?’ and just be honest. Don’t ever say “You don’t remember me, do you?” Instead, say something like, “We were we were on the XYZ team together. Gently remind people because we’ve kind of been out of commission for a while.”
How long should you typically wait to reach out to someone if you exchanged information?
JW: Better sooner than later. Let’s say that the meeting is three days, and you go home and sit down with all these business cards. I would at the very least connect with them on LinkedIn. And after that, send them a DM or a nice e-mail saying how great it was to meet them and here’s the information you requested so it could be a few days after the meeting. If you can do it within a week, that would be ideal.
How long should a normal Zoom meeting be?
JW: A half hour is a typical Zoom meeting. Any more than that, then it becomes a more extensive meeting and any less could probably be done over the phone.
ExCeL London partners with isla
In an industry first, London’s ExCel venue have joined forces with industry body isla to offer event organisers the groundbreaking TRACE platform.
TRACE measures and reports on the environmental impact of an event’s lifecycle – data that can then be used by organisers and agencies to implement change, lowering their carbon footprint.
As one of the first UK venues to sign up to isla, ExCel London’s sustainability manager Natalie Sykes speaks of what the platform means for the industry.
“As an industry, we know we need to change from the make/break/dispose mentality when it comes to staging events and move to a circular approach.”
“However, to be able to do this, you need to fully understand and measure your event’s existing carbon footprint, so you can then determine where you can make the greatest impact. This is where TRACE comes in and we’re delighted to be working alongside experts isla to play our part in helping to inform and inspire the events sector to make sustainable choices.”
It’s arrivederci for this week folks.
We’ll see you here, same time, same place, for more musings from the events milieu.