As the UK basks in the afterglow of Jubilee celebrations and Glastonbury weekend,
we consider their effect on the corporate event industry...
Last month the UK celebrated a historic 70 years of reign by Queen Elizabeth II. And everywhere you looked, whether on TV, social media or in retail outlets, people, communities, and businesses were planning celebrations alongside the official national event programme.
Following the Jubilee's incredible live concert, seriously impressive drone display, and a pageant down The Mall aimed at 'regenerating the arts', we've had a weekend of live music at Glastonbury.
The Worthy Farm festival finally celebrated its 50th anniversary in style after a pandemic-induced hiatus. And while armchair viewers could watch performances streamed on BBC iPlayer, the live event was still packed full of enthusiastic festival-goers of all ages.
"The festival is a mainstream example of what we're seeing in the corporate event sector.", says Kerry Edwards, managing director of boutique event and venue-finding agency Bien Venue. She continued: "The spring has seen in-person events such as conferences, AMGs, and incentives, taking off. Every event and venue professional speak to has been working on back-to-back events for several months."
But what about the Jubilee and Glasto?
"Throughout June and into this week, we're seeing an even sharper uptake in bookings right through into spring 2023. Some of these bookings come from client who have been slower to get back to face-to-face events. They've been using Zoom for meetings or a hybrid/virtual approach to bigger events for two years and are suddenly back to booking lives. We're certain some of the newfound confidence is a result of the hugely attended and promoted UK events this month."
"Coming together is human nature, and seeing so many people on television doing that again in such big numbers, has brought about a booking surge. I think while businesses have increased confidence for bigger events, it's making delegates more comfortable with the level of risk. After testing the water with a few smaller meeting and gatherings, many are happy to join a larger-scale company event in person."
And it's not all about the confidence levels. Kerry says: "The Jubilee showed people what the event sector is capable of - across the world, not just nationally. I believe the global showcasing has brought back an itch in many corporate event professionals to demonstrate some of the Jubilee's technology and logistical flawlessness themselves. It has reignited a spark of creativity lacking - through no fault of their own - in the last few years."
Covid certainly hasn’t gone away, and event, meeting and venue professionals are certainly prepared for it in terms of health and safety guidance. Yet it certainly feel as though the UK event sector can, in the words of Glastonbury headliner and legend Sir Paul McCartney, ‘Get back to where you once belonged’.
M&IT editor Paul Harvey is a journalist with more than 15 years of experience. He began his career in the local press, working for various titles across the north. Since joining M&IT in 2013, he has become a trusted and respected voice in the sector, championing event professionals and reporting on all aspects of the events industry for the brand.