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The Week in Events: live return creates a buzz

Your weekly event industry news round-up from ExpoPlatform – now every Monday: Hyve’s Q4 results indicative of event industry’s stuttering restart, commitment to go green in Glasgow and the co-founder of Virtual Events Institute steps down.

Live returns create a buzz despite stuttering restart

Events organiser Hyve Group has recorded a “better-than-expected” final quarter for 2021 amid more signs of a recovery for our industry.

The group said success across the west was driven by significant pent-up demand for in-person shows and the maintaining of strong customer relationships throughout the pandemic.

Events were at a smaller scale than their pre-pandemic levels due mostly to remaining international travel restrictions.

Hyve said it identified three encouraging trends emerging from the events it has run since markets have reopened.

The first is that many shows have seen an increase in like-for-like customer spend.

Secondly, there is a direct correlation between performance and the amount of time that has passed since restrictions have lifted – events continue to recover as markets and communities normalise.

Finally, the group is seeing an increase in visitor density, meaning the number of visitors per exhibitor is higher post-pandemic.

Mark Shashoua, CEO of Hyve Group said: “Q4 has been a very positive step on the road to recovery, with events returning for the first time in the UK and US and exhibitors at many of our events increasing their spend compared to pre-pandemic levels.

“Groceryshop was run for the first time since its acquisition which was a landmark moment, while Autumn Fair achieved positive customer feedback. 

“We have delivered strong performances wherever we have been able to hold shows. Our omnichannel rollout continues at pace.” 

It comes as signs indicate the recovery of UK trade shows is continuing however there has been a massive drop in exhibitor bookings compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Analysis of 16 exhibitions held in the UK during September reveals weak performance with the comparable shows in 2019.

Findings from the Events Intelligence research shows total bookings were 43% down, an average of 60% of these were held over from the previous show, while 75% were from the UK, 8% from the US and 4% from Germany.

Calls strengthen for APAC reopening

Governments in the Asia Pacific region are facing further demands to reopen borders as a united group of exhibition and conference organisers “implored” for the resumption of travel for the event industry.

 The Joint Leadership Summit in Singapore brought together officials with local, regional and global MICE planners – with restrictions being cited as a key issue for the country’s competitiveness.

It was heard he MICE industry in Asia Pacific generated a revenue of close to £169 billion (US$230bn) in 2017 and is forecast to reach over £323bn (US$440bn) by 2025.

 Mary Larkin, president of UFI, said: “There is a need to reopen for business travel, to allow the international marketplaces that welcome buyers and delegates.

“Europe has already started to align its travel protocols. The Middle East has been open to vaccinated travellers for over a year. The US is welcoming back global travellers.

“We now ask governments help us reopen safely and securely, to remember the good that business events have done to our economies. We implore you to reopen.”

It comes as the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s government has announced the extension of the Convention and Exhibition Industry Subsidy Scheme for six months until December 2022.

The move comes in response to demand from the event sector and is on top of previous extensions since it was launched on 3 October 2020..

VEI co-founder steps down as CEO

Co-founder of the Virtual Events Institute has announced she will be stepping down as the company’s chief executive officer.

Sophie Ahmed has been at the forefront of the global platform’s development over the course of little more than 12 months since it was launched.

It has since produced an online certification program, trained nearly 2000 event professionals and produced dozens of tech talks dedicated to the rapidly evolving digital and hybrid landscape.

She said: “I have relished my role at VEI, helping drive digital transformation at this vital inflexion point for the world of events.

“From conceiving and creating the certification course, to producing summits and webinars to meeting the inspiring entrepreneurs who are shaping the future of events and event marketing, this has been an enormously stimulating and rewarding journey and I am grateful for all the support we have received from the industry.”

Glasgow backs sustainability

A new support service has been launched for conference organisers in Glasgow who want to host a more sustainable meeting in the city.

The Go Greener in Glasgow initiative – launched by Glasgow Convention Bureau – comes in response to UN Sustainable Development Goals with the introduction of an interactive workshop for meeting planners.

It aims to provide practical tips on delivering a sustainable conference, aligned to the UN goals.

Aileen Crawford, head of tourism and conventions, said: “The UN Sustainable Development Goals were already a key component of our People Make Glasgow Greener Strategy.

“The workshop concept builds on our Go Greener toolkit for conference organisers looking to deliver a more sustainable meeting in our city.

“The interactive format of the workshop allows each conference to make its own decisions on the Goals that best align to their vision and mission and then communicate these sustainable actions to their members, sponsors and stakeholders.”

Vaccination and testing best practices

Clear and consistent guidance on how to navigate the safe return of events has been hard to come by through official channels.

That’s why this article by Event MB has proven so useful to organisers looking to do their best in this everchanging landscape.

The piece offers some expert insights in how best to handle the evolving restrictions, as well as comparing the safety of attending a show with everyday activities.

Lorraine Mariella, president of Eventium, said: “It’s important to be transparent and let people know the risks.

“I let them know what best practices need to be followed and I reach out to the venue to see what they are doing, as well as what the city and state are doing.

“I put all of that information out to the attendees, so they know.”