Our secret supplier is back – and boasting about their powers of prediction

I’m back! Even with the new ownership, I have somehow made it through my unpaid furlough for my 73rd Supplier Sounds Off!

My unplanned break gave me time to read through some of my missives, which hark back to the noughties. They have been full of self‐centred and hyperbolic opinion – something my four ex‐wives all agree I excel at. But it seems not a lot has actually changed in our industry.

In July 2009 I wrote about agencies treating suppliers’ terms and conditions with contempt as we suffered in the economic recession. Then in August, it was a lecture on working with us for the long haul, not just short term gain, demanding more commission and overrides and not putting forward the best option to your client but the one that would reward you the most.

In early 2010 my crosshairs landed on the industry associations, mainly there being too many and not actually in a position to represent the industry. Particularly BVEP. In 2011 I then accused BVEP of a £36 billion mistake in exaggerating the value the industry, hence why the UK government doesn’t recognise it.

In 2013 I was then able to cut and paste that article and just change the £36 billion to state £58 billion as our industry enjoyed Venezuelan-like inflation in just two years.

In 2011 it was the turn of hypocritical sustainability practices, a challenge our industry nearly 10 years later is still struggling with. In 2015 I picked on agencies starting to charge by the hour as Zibrant (who they?) started to charge us to get through their doors.

In 2016 I whinged about the BVEP-inspired Event Industry Board and it being made up of civil servants, association chiefs and retirees and therefore not able to raise the importance of this sector at government level. See a trend here?

I also had a pop at Mr Holland, who really did annoy me. And also a moan that agency staff don’t turn up to events when they say they will. I finished that year sounding off about the lack of industry association cohesiveness and idiot suppliers giving first-class fam trips to people who might mention it on social media and get a thumbs up but also make our industry look Mickey Mouse.

Not much changed as in 2018 it was rants about the ridiculousness of the growing trend of thumbs up, by now though they were, of course, elite thumbs, and again wondering why we can’t be taken seriously at government level.

In early 2019 I wrote the only article I am sorry for, criticising a charity initiative. I was wrong, but I did follow it up with a criticism that our capital city was spending money on diverting domestic tourism rather than chasing international events, about which I am right.

And the end of 2019 it was again back to moaning about agencies charging for suppliers to visit. And article #72 in January this year before my hiatus I wrote about the – drumroll please – pointlessness of the associations and lack of government recognition!

I’m over my normal word count so I hope the editor allows a final mention or two (Go on then – Ed) – I seriously hope the One Industry One Voice initiative works, we need it to. It is a shame BVEP weren’t in a position to do it in March.

And a thank you, not for anything he needed to do for me, but for the help, guidance, and constant encouragement he has given to countless people who I love, like and admire in this wonderful and undervalued industry. Andrew Woods take a bow.