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Omicron wave and Omnichannel M&A – the Week in Events

Your weekly event news roundup from ExpoPlatform – UK planners brace for Plan C rules to be set out by the Prime Minister as the rising ‘tidal wave ‘of Omicron variant postpones events in Germany, China, Netherlands and Britain, while Hyve, Tarsus and Informa accelerate digital transition.

Pandemic strikes again with more shows delayed

Battered event professionals are looking at a third year of uncertainty as the Omicron wave threatens 2022 plans.

Governments such as the UK and Germany have introduced stricter safety measures as the highly infectious variant gathers pace around the world.

Organisers have now started to wearily cancel and postpone Q1 events until later in the year – again.

High-profile shows impacted include BOE International, Furniture China, Tefaf Maastricht, Toronto Boat Show, Embedded World 2022 Exhibition and Conference and Agritechnica 2022.

Numerous more organisers are now under pressure to make a decision in the coming days before the holiday period kicks off.

It comes as this year was meant to be about seeing a return to some form of normality with live shows coming back with a bang.

There have been a number of hugely popular in-person events successfully go ahead, however many have been at a reduced scale.

Organisers have been forced to again face up to uncertainty brought by coronavirus, with an acceleration of plans to diversify their business.

This week Hyve acquired ‘omnichannel’  meetings programme organiser 121 Group, Tarsus created a division to put event acquisitions alongside their new digital acquisition, and Informa announced the next stage of their transition to Smart Events.

The rising wave of the Omicron variant how having a digital back-up – whether an online show or community – is so important in the current landscape.

Luke Bilton, ExpoPlatform CGO, said: “2022 looks like it will be the year when digital transformation is taken seriously by the industry.

“As the world goes into a third year of uncertainty, it’s clear that all events companies need a true multi-channel business model.

“There is a definite move towards more strategic, longer term partnerships between organisers and technology vendors to solve customer pain points.”

The latest restriction announcements come after it was found audience safety continues to be the biggest obstacle for resuming in-person events.

Findings from EventMB’s State of the Event Industry 2021 report show 35% of the respondents polled were concerned about attendee and stakeholder safety at live shows. 

This figure is significantly lower than last year when 55% considered safety at physical events as their top concern.

UK event planners given guidance for Plan B rules

Organisers have been given guidance from the UK Government about how to deal with coronavirus passport rules for events and venues.

Regulations under so-called Plan B mean visitors to any indoor show with more than 400 unseated people will have to show proof of vaccination or negative test prior to entry.

New guidance for planners states that a “responsible person” must be placed in charge of compliance with the latest legislation.

The statement said: “You are expected to take reasonable measures to ensure that all attendees aged 18 or above have the NHS Covid-19 Pass – or approved international equivalent – or have valid proof that they have completed a negative PCR test or negative rapid lateral flow test within the past 48 hours.

“You should communicate these requirements clearly with your customers, so they know what to expect when visiting your venue.

“This could include notifying customers of the requirement to show their NHS Covid-19 Pass on your promotional materials and website, informing those who make telephone enquiries or adding the information to tickets, as well as providing information on the steps required to comply with entry requirements.

“As a responsible person of a venue or event, you must take reasonable measures to ensure that only attendees with the required NHS Covid-19 Pass – or other accepted international evidence – or a negative test result enter your venue.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the plans as public health fears rise over the new coronavirus strain Omicron.

They were given the green light in the Commons with support from the Labour opposition, despite a major Tory backbencher rebellion.

People in England now need to use the NHS Covid Pass to gain entry to:

  • Nightclubs
  • Indoor unseated venues with more than 500 people
  • Unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people
  • Any venue with more than 10,000 people

Similar schemes have already been in place in the other UK nations.

Meanwhile, anyone caught using a fake Covid-19 pass could be fined up to £10,000 under the new legislation. Further legislation is expected to be announced in the coming days.

Tarsus Group grows with new health division

Tarsus Group has made two more additions to its portfolio as part of its newly launched health division.

The organisation has announced investments in two US-based events businesses amid a busy year involving six deals throughout 2021.

FounderMade and Health Connect Partners (HCP) will join the global B2B media giant as part of its newly created Tarsus Health division.

Tarsus Group CEO Douglas Emslie, said: “I’m delighted that FounderMade and Health Connect Partners are joining Tarsus Group as part of our Tarsus Health division which is a key focus area for the business going forward.

“These companies perfectly embody what we look for when bringing new brands into the portfolio – strong events that understand and meet their customers’ needs, driven by entrepreneurial and energetic teams.”

FounderMade hosts events focused on wellness, beauty and health for innovative and emerging brands to connect with retailers, solutions and investors.

HCP currently delivers events in five sectors across the acute care hospital market – pharmacy, supply chain, IT, radiology and surgical. 

These acquisitions will join existing Tarsus Medical brands in the new division, cover the healthcare, wellness and nutrition industries.

Tarsus Group said it plans to add additional names to it in 2022.

 

 

US exhibitions rebound with drop in cancellations

The US exhibitions industry has rebounded sharply after a major drop in cancellation rates of in-person events, a new study shows.

Findings from the Centre for Exhibition Industry Research’s (CEIR) annual Index Report show only 19% of physical events were cancelled in the third quarter.

This is significantly lower compared to 90.4% in Q1 2021 and 66.5% in Q2 2021.

These falling cancellation rates led to an improvement in the CEIR Total Index, a measure of exhibition industry performance.

The index – though still in the red – stood at a decline of 56% from 2019 in Q3 – markedly better than a decline of 95.7% in Q1 and 79.6% in Q2.

Industry benchmarks were made against 2019 to get a more accurate picture as most exhibitions and trade shows were cancelled in 2020.

The 2021 CEIR Index Report provides in-depth insights into the performance of exhibitions over the past year along with an industry outlook for the next three years. 

‘There are alternatives to flying’

“I wanted to lead by example and show the comparison between slow travel, such as a train journey, and flying. I wanted to show that there are very viable alternatives to flying out there.”

That’s how Anna Abdelnoor, co-founder of events industry sustainability consultancy isla, described the thinking behind her decision to get to IBTM World in Barcelona by train this year.

In her interview with M&IT, she set out how she carried out her journey between London and the Catalan city over two days.

She told the publication: “Business travel needs to be about quality, not quantity. If slow travel is twice the cost, you need to make damn sure that the trip is worth going on in the first place.

“I’m not saying don’t travel. I’m not saying don’t get on a plane. I’m not saying don’t ever fly. But it’s about that assessment.

“It’s the choices that we’re making. It’s how we do it, how we plan, how we take responsibility for travelling. Because it has to change.”

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful. At ExpoPlatform, we want to help you build better events and communities. Please get in touch and ask for a demo here. Thank you.