Ever looming and seemingly inescapable, the B-word haunts us all. As the deadline to leave the EU draws ever closer how does the industry feel about it? From our News Digest commentators to venue teams, what are the hopes and fears that Brexit inspires?
Martin Fullard, Editor, Conference News
“A no-deal Brexit, which now seems likely, will cause problems for agencies operating on the continent, logistically if nothing else. However, a positive business owner will be looking for ways to adapt the business. I am concerned that, should there be a recession, clients will force agencies to slash their rates resulting in a race to the bottom. I hope that in the face of adversity, agencies will step up to the plate and find innovative way to survive. Those on tight margins or who rely mainly on a single client, I fear, will struggle. It will be survival of the fittest.”
Charlotte Gentry, Founder, Pure Events
“I am pretty convinced that come hell or high water Boris will bring us out of the European Union come the 31st October, but what the real implications are no one actually truly knows. At Pure Events we have had the best year so far to date financially, so my view is that companies are viewing the current climate as business as usual and will continue to be so. Do I believe that there will be chaos at airports and ferry ports? No I don’t. I think that any significant changes will take time to really implement so I don’t believe in any of the scare mongering about how our travel to Europe will be restricted. I think that there will be a financial dip initially but then I think again we will bounce back quite quickly.”
Samme Allen, MC and Event Host
“I can’t speak for the industry, except that many organisations and professionals don’t feel prepared for Brexit and its uncertainties. My fear is that there could be apathy afoot and this could be disastrous as a sector. My hope is that with greater collaboration, cross sector communication and more curiosity will be key to this impacting the events world in a positive way.”
Julia Searle, Commercial Event Sales Manager, Southbank Centre
“We remain optimistic for the future of commercial events at Southbank Centre. In the last financial year our revenue has increased by 74% and enquiry levels continue to increase year on year. Brexit gives us an opportunity to look at increasing international business, as the drop in sterling is attractive to overseas bookers who can get more value for money in the UK. This influenced our decision to exhibit at IMEX America for the first time in 2019.”
Richard Groves, Group New Business Development Director, SMART Group
“Smart Group are experiencing a polarised response to the uncertainty around leaving the EU. A small number of clients have postponed or cancelled their events this autumn blaming the B word, but overall we have seen very little drop off in business into our traditional venues. As a catering business we are also actively working to mitigate any food supply issues by planning with our existing and new British suppliers to ensure that we have continuity of supply of top quality fresh products.”
Ed Poland, Co-Founder, Hire Space
The events world is a constantly adapting industry and while Brexit does present challenges, the industry is resilient. London is a global events destination for a reason - it’s a hub of innovation. Venues, suppliers and organisers are constantly using new tech to advance the events process. As long as we can continue to access skilled and talented people - especially on the tech and digital side - then the UK will continue to be a global leader for events.
We want to hear from you, how do you think Brexit will affect your part of the industry? Let us know on Twitter @EventLAB_Online