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A Look at the Landscape

@royall empower our partners to build world-class teams.  Our expertise combines deep industry expertise with understanding our talent and the demands they face.

 

We're always here to help advise, but in the meantime, we've compiled our thoughts on the industry landscape today.

 

-              Why Talent is Such a Challenge Today?

-              The Future of Work.

-              7 Trends in Live Events Now.

-              Most Wanted Event Destinations.

-              Pitching Power.

-              What’s Next?


Why is Talent Such a Challenge Today?


Every hiring manager in the events industry knows finding strong talent is no easy task right now. The challenges surrounding talent in the events industry are multifaceted and influenced by both global and industry-specific factors. Factors such as the cost-of-living crisis, geopolitical events like the war in Ukraine and Brexit, and the ongoing effects of Covid-19 have led to difficulties in retaining and recruiting talent. Remote or hybrid working arrangements have become expectations, driven partly by candidates moving away from cities for lower living costs. However, the physical nature of events complicates this shift to remote work.


The industry experienced a reduction in personnel due to the pandemic, leading to freelancer rates increasing and intense competition for skilled permanent roles. Although a semblance of normality has returned, many employees are opting for freelance work due to better work-life balance, higher salaries, and flexible working arrangements. However, this trend has created recruitment gaps and increased costs.


Industry professionals are demanding more from their employers, including flexible working hours, increased pay, and better benefits. However, some lack the necessary skills to justify their demands. Aggressive headhunting tactics exacerbate the situation, with employees frequently switching jobs, leading to wasted time and resources on training.


There has been a significant decrease in people applying for roles in the industry, partly due to concerns over job security and the allure of similar-paying customer service roles perceived as more stable. Unstable supply chains and shorter client lead times contribute to stress and burnout among staff.


Recruitment and onboarding processes have had to adapt, with streamlined interviews and considerations for promoting staff internally or hiring those with little to no events experience. Onboarding remains a challenge, especially with stretched teams and remote working environments.


How do we address these challenges? Agencies need to invest in company culture and clearly communicate their values to prospective candidates. Experimentation with hybrid working models and prioritising employee well-being is crucial. Additionally, rewarding work and investing in personal development are essential for retaining talent and fostering a motivated workforce.


The Future of Work.


There continues to be a growing acceptance of hybrid events, especially considering the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. While some planners believe hybrid events are essential for managing costs effectively during economic downturns, others remain sceptical, suggesting that the preference for live events persists among many clients.


However, the consensus is that hybrid events are likely to remain a significant aspect of the industry. The accessibility offered by hybrid models, along with benefits such as greater reach for brands and ease of access for speakers, are driving factors.


Digital innovation is expected to enhance the appeal and immersive experience of hybrid events, with technology evolving to meet clients' business objectives more effectively. As demand for virtual elements increases, particularly for smaller meetings and learning-oriented programs, investment in content and technology becomes crucial.


Despite the allure of live events, the high cost of hybrid elements may pose a barrier for some clients. Yet, the potential for gathering data and showcasing audience engagement through hybrid events suggests a continuing need to incorporate virtual elements to prove ROI.


Overall, the future of hybrid events seems promising, contingent upon factors such as event format, audience preferences, and technological advancements. Successful implementation requires investment in content, technology, and relevant expertise, ensuring a smooth and engaging experience for both in-person and virtual attendees.


7 Trends in Live Events Now.


The return to live events of recent years signals a resurgence in face-to-face connections, with a strong emphasis on creating impactful experiences. This is evidenced by significant growth in event demand and attendance.


Seven key trends emerge:


Short Lead Times.

Increased demand has led to shorter planning windows, pressuring the event supply chain, and increasing costs.

 

Disruptive Agendas.

Events aim to engage audiences through interactive experiences, shifting away from content-heavy formats to include more participation, networking, and entertainment.


Flexibility.

Both clients and delegates seek flexibility in event planning and attendance, with a growing demand for hybrid and adaptable agendas.


Community Focus.

Events serve as opportunities to foster community and reinforce company culture, with a focus on staff well-being and team building.


Maximising Budgets.

Economic uncertainty prompts a focus on maximising budget impact, with emphasis on attendee experience and strategic spending.


Sustainability.

There's a growing emphasis on sustainability and environmental consciousness in event planning, with clients seeking authentic and measurable eco-friendly initiatives.


Marketing Integration.

Brands leverage events to express their values and purpose, integrating live experiences into broader marketing strategies for long-lasting engagement.


Overall, live events are recognised as powerful communication tools, with brands investing in them to drive engagement and connect with audiences on a deeper level.


Most Wanted Event Destinations.


The corporate travel market is witnessing several notable trends and considerations. Traditional factors such as budget, accessibility, and safety remain important, but sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) are gaining prominence. Cost and value for money are emphasised, with supplier inflation impacting decisions.


Exchange rates affect destination popularity, with some opting for cheaper alternatives. Sustainability and inclusion are key priorities, with a shift towards domestic options and a focus on destinations with proven sustainability strategies. Safety and comfort are paramount, with European countries favoured due to familiarity and local authenticity experiences sought after. Despite challenges like reduced infrastructure and increased demand, clients prioritise ease of access and availability. Popular destinations for the upcoming year include various European countries, North America, the Middle East, Africa, and APAC regions like Singapore and Australia.


The Pitch Process Today.


The agency landscape is fraught with challenges in the RFP and tender process. Clients often waste time by requesting pitches without genuine intentions, vague briefs, or insufficient time for proper responses. Some agencies report an increase in pitch frequency, while others opt to focus on existing clients due to uncertainty. Diligence before pitching is emphasised, with some agencies preferring to pitch only where odds favour success. Financial resource allocation for pitches has been scaled back by some agencies. Lack of communication and clarity exacerbate these challenges. Despite these hurdles, agencies stress the importance of maintaining open communication to navigate the pitching process successfully. Additionally, a lack of new opportunities due to clients playing it safe contributes to the strain on agencies.


Remote working has become the norm for both agencies and clients, leading to challenges in face-to-face interactions for pitching. Workshops and meetings have shifted predominantly online, requiring agencies to innovate in co-creating and ideating with clients remotely. Unreasonable expectations, such as changing briefs, short lead times, and exceeding budgets, are common issues affecting current projects. Agencies struggle with balancing client timelines and resource constraints, with suppliers experiencing delays and cost fluctuations. Additionally, clients demand high creativity and ROI without appropriate budget support. Lack of transparency from clients regarding objectives, budgets, and decision-making processes further complicates the pitching process. Despite these challenges, some agencies note a positive shift towards closer and more transparent client relationships, leading to more effective and valuable partnerships.


What’s Next?


The future of the industry presents a mix of challenges and opportunities. While some agencies are not yet feeling direct impacts on their businesses, there's anticipation for changes to occur early next year. Despite uncertainties, there remains an appetite for events, with many agencies still capitalising on pent-up demand from the pandemic. The UK is emerging as a more attractive destination for events, although currency fluctuations pose challenges. Concerns about rising costs, particularly in venues' F&B rates, are prevalent, leading to clients seeking value and savings across event budgets. Vigilance in dealing with overseas suppliers and preparing for increased costs is emphasised.


Moreover, there's a growing demand for events to offer tangible value and ROI, leading to stricter approval processes and a focus on strategic event planning. Collaboration and partnerships are expected to be key drivers of success in the industry, with agencies increasingly leveraging technology and content to enhance live experiences.


Our view is, despite challenges, there's optimism about the industry's future, with opportunities for agencies to build strong, long-term relationships by delivering meaningful ROI and strategic insights to clients.



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