I've just heard that the energy price cap means a possible price rise of 81% in October 2022 and with that combined with the general rise in the cost of doing business, will event professionals have the funds to stage elaborate or expensive events or will attendees have the funds to attend them?
Price rises will affect businesses as well as customers
If money is tight, people will concentrate on the basics. If you think back to Maslow's triangle of needs, attendees will need to spend a higher proportion of their income on the basics of housing, energy, food and so on which is also going to impact event businesses. For businesses, corporation tax will increase whilst NICs have already increased, leaving them with reduced funds. Business owners will want to see a return on the events that their employees attend. It also means that attendees are going to be more selective when considering the events that they will attend; they will want a good return for their money.
How loyal is your audience?
For your audience there will be two types of events, the first one is the event that they must attend because it's their industry or their special interest, they want to network or see a piece of kit before they buy without the pressure of the salesman visiting the office. The second is the event that they think might realise some good networking contacts, might be good for the presentations but they're not that interested. If your event attracts the majority of the second type of delegate, your numbers will suffer.
Or will they? Does it mean that your audience has become self selecting and what you'll get is an improvement in the quality of attendee - they will attend because they really want to be there. And that makes it even more important for accurate registration figures. If the delegate can easily change their registration, you'll always have up-to-date data and can make accurate purchases for resources that you use for your event. The venue will have the appropriate number of staff to cater for your event. Refreshment costs will be brought down as will food waste, earning your event environmental credentials, the venue will be of a size suited to your event, the number of parking spaces, if appropriate, will be accurate along with any printed material that you want to have. With accurate event attendance figures, the event can be rescheduled if there isn't the take up that you anticipated.
How long will the recession last?
It's likely that the UK will enter a recession in the last quarter of 2022. It's being triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the interruption of energy, food, fertiliser from those two countries which will impact the cost of living and doing business. The Bank of England is forcasting that the recession will last until 2025 making non-essential businesses like the hospitality and events industries particularly vulnerable. There may be Government help but it's difficult to tell whether it will be as effective as the support offered during the pandemic. The expected recovery after the Covid lockdown seems like a distant dream at the moment. To try to keep the events industry going, events will have to adapt and if you're cutting costs, it may an opportunity to become more efficient and environmentally friendly.
The benefits of a lean event
The lean event is more efficient and environmentally friendly and continuously improving. The registration tool will be key to keeping the event organiser informed of the attendance figures, dietary requirements and whether the target market has been hit. If you find that the market you'd anticipated attracting hasn't signed up, then you know to change the marketing or email distribution list.
The lean event gets the creative juices going
The lean event also allows you to be creative during all stages of the planning and marketing process. With your venue in mind, could you move it to a cheaper site or negotiate for a lower price, perhaps aim for a reduced audience size and book a smaller and more intimate space or one in a less expensive area which also suits your target market. A change in the refreshments or menu may bring down your costs and will enable you to reduce your ticket price. Using locally sourced food may create a saving for you and it's great advertising for local suppliers.
Savings could be made in other areas for example, the presenters you book, could a local one do just as well as one who will need to claim expenses or is there a speaker who will do a presentation for you for free because it gives them an ideal platform to advertise themselves and their service/product? Using tech instead of physical things, like online feedback collection is always a more efficient and cost effective way of running an event.
Other ways of cutting costs
Consider other ways of cutting costs like putting the event online. This has two benefits, one that there's a lower initial outlay, amongst other things, there's no venue hire, refreshments or staff, the second is that the event can be recorded so that you can widen your reach, possibly all around the world which wouldn't happen under normal circumstances and your audience could watch again when convenient. Using registration software that records attendance data for watch again will provide convincing data both for your sponsors and your own marketing.
Good luck everyone
Lean events could become more prevalent as we head towards the winter with its threat of a cost of living rise and the spectre of a recession. Cutting costs, making sure the event is marketed to 'definites' and making the best use of tech is going to be the way forward I think. Good luck everyone as we could be in for a bumpy ride!