So, hands up who else has spent the past few months terrified that the events industry may never go back to how it was? Me too. However, the overwhelming success of the Help Out to Eat Out scheme has given me the ray of hope that I desperately needed.
When did Monday become the new Saturday?! Especially after the last 6 months that we have had, I never expected to be phoning restaurants trying and failing to get a table for a Monday evening. I am thrilled for the Food and Beverage industry that the scheme was such as success, they desperately needed a lifeline and we would all feel the devastating impact of restaurants, cafes and pubs being pushed beyond their breaking point. However, for more than just my love of an Italian Restaurant, I have been overjoyed that the nation flocked to their favourite eateries and resumed doing what we do best! The Eat Out to Help Out scheme is proof that there is a hunger for getting out of the house and sharing experiences with others and I believe this is the perfect recipe for the recovery of the events industry as well.
I am not naïve enough to believe that a switch can be flicked and we will all go back to happily hopping on a packed plane and attending large conferences abundant with hand-shakes and buffet stations. In fact, it’s important to learn from this awful pandemic and assess our germ controlling as a long term solution towards a healthier world. However, and I am sure I am not alone in this, there have been times when I have really considered the prospect of having to find a new career because the demand for live events and the bringing together of big groups of people would never be there in the way that it was before 2020. I am now writing this blog from the perspective of somebody who no longer believes this.
When given a gentle push, we as a nation quite literally gobbled up the chance to get back to restaurants and I suggest this shows far more than our love a budget friendly bowl of pasta (Even with 50% off, let’s be honest it is still actually cheaper to cook at home or buy a ready meal). It is the experience of dining out that we all couldn’t resist and I truly believe the same concept will apply to live events when the time is right. Earlier today I was speaking to a Manager of a local restaurant who told me that August saw record breaking profits (and not a single day off for 21 days!).
Will it be easy trying to run a large live event successfully while adhering to the inevitable long term guidelines/restrictions? No, probably not. I’m sure that restaurant owners had their work cut out for them dealing with such a surge of customers. But based on the months between March and August, I’m sure restaurant owners were all too happy to have to deal with the problems of too many customers! I know I would certainly welcome the chance to try and get 500 delegates following a 1 way system to get them into the plenary room for a prompt 9am start.
I am keeping this blog short and sweet because quite frankly we are all spending far too much time reading, re-reading, overthinking and catastrophising about COVID-19. Instead, I invite you to enjoy a slice of my newfound positivity and go about your day feeling optimistic for the future. If it worked for the Food and Drink industry, who’s to say a similar opportunity won’t arise and save the Events industry? The proof is in the pudding.