Nick de Bois MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Events, has urged all events industry professionals to respond as a matter or urgency to the Department of Culture Media & Sport’s survey on how government can help the industry grow.
The deadline for engagement had been extended to 8 December and de Bois issued the reminder during his address to the 4th Conference Summit, attended by over 100 PCOs and industry professionals at etc.venues’ 155 Bishopsgate, 5 December.
The Conservative MP for Enfield told delegates: “If we speak with one voice we can shape the future”, adding that the events sector was a “fragmented industry” but if government continued to perceive it as such it would “pack less of a punch”.
He said it was frustrating that “such a powerful industry has rarely been heard at the top table of power”.
The MP, himself a former event organiser, reminded the audience that the industry contributed £36bn to GDP and had 50,000 direct employees.
The events industry could be a big part of the Government’s Growth Agenda, said de Bois. “When we win international conferences, we are bringing in key potential investors and selling the UK,” he added, saying the events industry needed to produce “one or two leaders to champion it”.
The Conference Summit programme provided an opportunity for discussion and networking, with tracks on conference marketing, sales and content creation.
There was an analytical presentation by AMR International’s Denzil Rankine of the international events market. The statistics, however, were mostly drawn from the exhibition sector and could not be comfortably extrapolated to the conference market. Rankine admitted as much and pointed out that the conference sub-sector did not produce such data. He also contended that the B2B publishing industry had been “destroyed by Google”, news no doubt to the many B2B publishers in the audience.
Contentious claims aside, there was good detail on exhibition acquisitions.
At the conference’s morning feedback session, Tim Mann, MD of Solar Media and moderator of the Sales track, said “a very disparate audience” had flagged return on investment emerging as a common big issue, rather than centralisation of budgets.
Use of data and understanding the conference audience were other big themes coming to the fore in the Marketing session run by Sharon Thomas, Senior Marketing Director at Gartner Events.
Head of content marketing at Euromoney Institutional Investor Shannon Doubleday moderated a session at which PCOs exchanged experiences and challenges of their day-to-day tasks. “Content can be more about problem solving rather than projecting a message,” she said.
The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Jarvid’s department’s survey can be accessed on: www.surveymonkey.com/s/RTXH7JK.