Get your MP to take action - you can’t fail to have seen some or all of the posts on social media calling on the Government to provide support to the events industry.

There is no understating just how desperate the situation is for suppliers, organisers and venues.

So far, “Government” decision-makers, have remained impervious to the logical and reasoned appeals of the trade associations representing business events.

Now is the time to use a proven direct marketing sales tactic - the erosion process.

  • You should apply this specifically to your local MP.

The erosion process describes how, in direct marketing terms, you go about converting stone-cold prospects into clients.

To do this, you must be highly persistent in presenting facts and reasons why.

  • A one-off approach will rarely be successful.

The MP who represents you, in the area in which you live, should now be the target of a determined campaign designed to get them to take action.

The specific objective is that said MP, is seen to be raising the issue of the business events industry in public and Parliament.

To help your campaign, use all or some elements of the following;

1. About the UK business events sector

Before the lockdown in March of this year, the UK events industry was a world-leading industry.

World-leading seems to be a term the Government is keen to bandy around when it comes to their own initiatives, most of which are in reality, are far removed from that description.

You can highlight to your MP that three out of four of the world’s biggest exhibition organising businesses are UK owned.

Also, that event contracting businesses in the UK work with the most challenging delivery deadlines anywhere when it comes to installing events.

That’s why the organisers employed so many event supply staff to deliver London 2012, widely acknowledged as the most successful Olympic Games ever.

Boris Johnson, then Mayor of London, was highly grateful for the existence of ExCeL London which successfully hosted seven Olympic sports.

Using ExCeL’s facilities saved the London 2012 organisers many, many millions of pounds in build costs and removed the worry of a Games facility not being completed on schedule.

BTW: Boris Johnson is very familiar with ExCeL London as he opened the extension to the building in 2010 (there’s a plaque in the Boulevard commemorating the occasion).

Boris’s handprint is also on a 2012 commemorative wall plaque at the East end of the building - get your MP to remind him of these facts.

2. Industry statistics

The direct spend stats below widely quoted in recent weeks illustrate just how significant the events sector is within the economy;

  • Conferences and meetings £18.3bn
  • Exhibitions and trade fairs £11bn
  • Incentive travel £1.2bn
  • Corporate outdoor events £0.7bn
  • Arts and cultural events £5.6bn
  • Festivals, fairs and shows £6bn
  • Music events £17.6bn
  • Sporting events £9.6bn
  • Weddings £14bn

The numbers shown are for events in the broadest context; however, just quoting the total for the first four categories, those associated with Business Events, delivers a total direct spend of £31.2bn.

And, it’s not just supply, organiser and venue businesses that need events to restart - SME exhibitors, the backbone of the UK economy need them too as they rely on tradeshows to generate large chunks of their sales.

3. Germany understands the importance of B2B events

A history lesson; when WW2 ended Germany rebuilt its shattered economy around manufacturing and guess what else …. events.

German cities like Cologne, Hanover and Dusseldorf built some of the biggest exhibition halls in the world, and as a result, they host many of the world’s largest trade and consumer events.

The economic benefits of this strategy have been immense.

Apart from the business directly generated from the exhibitions and conferences taking place in those cities, the associated growth in sectors like hotels, restaurants, entertainment and travel-related services has provided thousands of jobs and millions in tax revenue.

Without Uk Government support or the reopening of the events sector, Germany, France, and Italy will have a significant competitive advantage over rival UK enterprises.

These three countries, in particular, understand why events are such an essential part of their respective economies.

You would hope that in a post-Brexit age, our Government would grasp this too.

Mr or Mrs MP; it’s your duty to tell them and to explain the collateral damage that’s being done to cities like Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester and London.

4. If it’s for the good of the country event businesses must be supported financially

If event businesses have to play their part for the greater good and stay shut; then it’s only right and proper they be paid to do so.

As demonstrated, these are extremely viable enterprises made inoperable only by government decree.

5. The number of livelihoods at stake

These stats supplied by ESSA about even-related redundancies show clearly the impact of COVID-19 restrictions.

  • Exhibition Organisers: 20-30% of their workforce have been made redundant with a second-round likely to reach 50%
  • Suppliers report similar cuts, but more worryingly, more than 50% are at threat of business closure by close of 2020
  • Venues are also in the process of making 20-30% redundancies. One venue in Manchester has already announced its closure; others are at high risk
  • Based on the above, there are likely to be almost 60,000 direct and indirect job losses if the exhibition and conference sector remains closed for much longer

6. Events can operate safely when broader conditions permit

A well-managed event is a much safer environment to be in than a supermarket.

If your MP needs proof, refer them to this event safety measures document and ask them to compare that with any similar version for supermarkets and grocery stores.

Also; If they choose to attend an event in Germany during the next few weeks, they can see those same event safety measures in place there.

More than slightly galling don’t you think?

Having experienced our world-class Track & Trace system myself,* I think it’s also fair to highlight to MP’s and through them to the Government, that event organisers do have world class tracking systems in place.

These systems derive from decades of developing sophisticated audience registration procedures and processes.

7. Putting the erosion process into practice

  • Meet with your MP
  • The MP you need to approach is the person representing the constituency in which you live not where your business is located
  • Brief them on all of the above points
  • Ask them what they will do to take action on your behalf
  • Tell them you will be in regular contact to see the progress made regarding specific support for event businesses and personnel or the restart of Business Events
  • Follow-up the meeting with a summary of key points including the actions both parties have agreed to take
  • Produce an article for your local newspapers based on the session with your MP
  • It should include details of actions agreed
  • Write frequently to your MP by email or printed letter
  • Tweet and post frequently about the issue including the name of your MP
  • Invite your MP to visit your premises, to see firsthand the impact the shutdown of events is having on your business - get them to meet staff if possible
  • The above is a photo and video opportunity
  • Always publicly thank your MP for action however small, taken to support the cause
  • Mobilise friends and businesses within your area to support the erosion campaign - doing so increases the points of contact bearing upon your parliamentary representative

My company specialises in providing marketing communications that achieve results.

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Meantime, I wish you success with your erosion process, and I recommend that you share results with other members of ESSA and the wider events sector.

 * I never received my COVID-19 test results; turns out I had pneumonia as confirmed by a visit to A & E.

David O’Beirne
The Exhibition Agency Ltd
63 Vera Avenue, London N21 1RJ  
T. 0203 633 4665
M. 07858 374 051

Exhibitors Only

The views and opinions expressed in these blogs are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ESSA, its members, board or staff. Our members represent a broad range of views within the event industry, and we have provided this section of the website for their opinions to be openly heard and discussed.

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