Opinion

Inflation busting event planning

20 June 2022

By Andrew Orr

Public confidence in the events sector feels back to pre-pandemic levels, and there was no better example of the joy in bringing people together through a shared experience, than the recent nationwide jubilee celebrations. But whilst the pomp and circumstance and endless street parties were enjoyed by many, behind the scenes the event industry is facing new challenges that need to be navigated.

Much has been said about both Brexit and the pandemic, but the industry is still reeling from the after effects, primarily driven from the loss of talented personnel and the instability of many suppliers – crippled by pricing, material and labour shortages. Add the awful scenes in Ukraine, and these are unprecedented challenges. 

But whilst the pomp and circumstance and endless street parties were enjoyed by many, behind the scenes the event industry is facing new challenges that need to be navigated.

Rising prices are causing significant stress both at home and in business, with material, labour, energy and fuel costs rising literally weekly, with some estimates ranging from 30% on certain items since January.  So, in real terms, this year’s budget isn’t going to get you what it did last year. These pressures mean clients are craving reliability from their agencies and to have the confidence that a quality execution can be achieved within the agreed budget and on time.

But if the jubilee celebrations validated anything, it is the power of in person events. So rather than let global macro pressures limit their use, we should lean into their significant benefits, whilst reviewing our approach to their planning and delivery, all with the aim of achieving better price security from the outset, for both client and agency. 

There is no doubt that shorter lead times are an ever-present post-pandemic behaviour, driven by the uncertainty that any imposed restrictions will put a halt to any planned activity, whilst conversely limiting the value of longer-term planning. However, with Covid hopefully an increasing distant memory, this is the time for agencies to propose alternative solutions to clients that will allow decisions to be made as early as possible.

Clients are craving reliability from their agencies and to have confidence that a quality execution can be achieved within the agreed budget and on time.  

Could a 2023 budget be allocated this calendar year to secure 2022 prices ahead of further predicted rises, allowing early negotiation and agreement of costs with suppliers?  TRO’s own full-service infrastructure and retained local supplier network, allows us to build early and store event assets for later use, or even better, re-use.

The re-use of any events assets should also be a motivation with rising prices. Re-use benefits the environment and supports the ongoing sustainability agenda within the industry, whilst having the additional benefit of controlling costs and avoiding some of the challenges faced with supply shortages.

These are the most of unique of times, but with robust planning processes implemented, we can continue with the regained confidence in the events sector and enjoy the immeasurable benefits of bringing people together.

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