BVEP - Business Visits and Events Partnership

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OIOV Taskforce Update (w-e 18.02.2022)

One of the discussion points in the last couple of OIOV Taskforce meetings has been what communications and messaging should the UK event industry be developing as we re-start and re-set in the spring and summer seasons? These discussions have identified a number of key themes, messages and issues which will inform the planning process for the development of a coherent and consistent communications plan for the UK event industry.

There are a number of challenges facing the development of an effective communications campaign for the UK event industry. Can we all unite around one set of core messages? Are external factors likely to degrade any positive messaging we produce? As a recent discussion around the use of the word ‘safe’ illustrated, different sectors will inevitably have different priorities, driven by both type of audience and event. The safety protocols put in place by a business events venue might be designed to build confidence amongst the target market of corporate clients, but would possibly be meaningless for a younger audience of music fans in a club setting.

As shared at a recent meeting there is evidence of a reduced propensity to spend on events / confidence in ticket buying - standing at 50% compared to 80 % plus last year (Source – LIVE agents survey). Do we need to interrogate consumer confidence stats in order to inform our comms planning? We are also getting very clear messages that this year is going to be very busy, which is both good and bad news. With the supply chain under challenge and forecasts of inflationary pressures increasing across multiple business sectors, there may well be casualties that erode both confidence and the positive messaging we need to develop.

Thanks to the comprehensive cover that the OIOV Taskforce provides across all the key sectors of the UK event industry, there is general agreement on the following:

  • The lifting of Plan B restrictions allows events of all types to take place across the UK
  • During the pandemic there has been no government comms designed to support the industry
  • As a significant UK industry we need to ensure that positive messages and comms are developed and delivered – other sectors such as travel are already committing significant media spend to promote their products and services
  • Building confidence in all sectors is critical
  • There appears to be more immediate consumer confidence (theatre, sports, music) than found in more risk adverse corporate clients
  • However enquiry levels for later in the year reflect postponements in December – February period
  • Any messaging will need to be simple – we are safe – we are open – live life live etc.
  • Benefits of live events for physical, social and mental well being are also very important messages
  • Messaging will need to be adjusted for different audiences – government, media, consumers, clients, social platforms etc.
  • External factors such as virus spread, inflation, the economic outlook, Brexit impacts, supply chain issues and over demand for venues, resources and talent all need to be considered
  • Timing will be critical – this might vary by event sector
  • Must develop flexible approach that creates space for existing trade association campaigns to proceed, with OIOV as ever in the background co-ordinating and collaborating to support effective and efficient comms across the industry.

Key Themes
So to stimulate discussion here are some of the key creative themes that came out of the last OIOV Taskforce meeting:

  • Confidence in our professionalism
  • Good value / YOLO / LIVE worth living
  • Being kind to people, care about local businesses
  • Do you remember how to go out?
  • An event marque – Welcome Back!

(N.B. These are not a definitive list or in any manner a final creative solution!!)

Linked to these were some question areas for further discussion:

  • Is there a real consensus to develop a comms plan for the UK event industry?
  • Can we map out existing or planned campaigns so that there is a co-ordinated approach?
  • Will one size fits all be the most effective approach?
  • Where do we all sit on timing?
  • IRL does any of this matter given the current economic challenges we are all facing?

The overwhelming opinion was that this was worth pursuing, so that we could have a box fresh messaging and comms resource ready to deploy when we needed to support either sector specific needs or more general confidence building to off-set external factors, such as reductions in discretionary spend in response to economic pressures. Many thanks to all the Taskforce members that have contributed their thoughts and ideas – and if as a OIOV supporter you’d like to do the same, please feel free to drop us a note – the power of the crowd always helps focus on the most effective ideas. Based on this we’ll be developing some solutions and ideas and look forward to presenting those back in the next few weeks.

Future OIOV plans
Many thanks to the tremendous support from the various Mash Media titles that carried details of the evolution of OIOV at the end of January. If you missed this please do take a look via these links:
Access All Areas article:
Conference News article:
Exhibition News article:

As we work on the grant funding bid process projected to be submitted early March, we are reaching out to supporters to help provide input, insight and any developmental thoughts in addition to those recently presented and sent out in the Future plans 2022 and Beyond pdf deck to all supporters – also any new networks/connections you feel we should engage we may not be in contact with in UK or across Europe would also be very useful - let us know by contacting Simon or myself – thank you.

Finally half term is upon us over the next couple of weeks, so hoping that everyone is getting a little downtime ahead of what is shaping up to be a very busy few months. Stay safe and healthy.