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06 Dec 2021

The AEO Ops Working Group extends thanks to venues and suppliers across the industry

The AEO Ops Working Group extends thanks to venues and suppliers across the industry

Dear ESSA and AEV,

The AEO UK Operations Working Group met recently to discuss our recent experiences of being back on-site at events, and given how closely all branches of the EIA have been working together, we wanted to share our feedback.

Our events, as a whole, have been welcomed back by our exhibitor and visitor audiences, clearly indicating the importance of Business Events within all of the markets we serve, and the true value of face to face marketing.

The pent-up demand that exists across the board has been clear to see: All manner of stakeholders were keen to get back into the halls, meet, network and trade with each other, in a way that is hugely reassuring to us all following the enforced hiatus brought on by the pandemic.

There has never, in our lifetimes, been such a huge challenge for us all.

None of us could ever have imagined quite how difficult it was going to be to get our industry back up and running.

Yes, we all could see that it wasn't going to be pretty, but there was no way of knowing just how steep the hill would be to climb.

As a result of the present challenges, The AEO UK Ops Group, unanimously wanted to acknowledge the unbelievable performance of every single company and individual involved in the staging of these events – from the largest of the [venues and] contractors down to the smallest of the sub-contractors and freelancers.

We are fully aware of the stress and pressure that the [service and] supplier community have been working under. Desperate decisions had to be made across the sector to navigate through lock-down and the following periods when no events could be staged, for then the tap to be turned back on with little confirmed notice - not with a trickle but with the hugest torrent.

As organisers we have seen the difficulties that our counterparts have all had in securing labour, in managing transport, in securing materials and stock. The challenges brought about by the rise in oil prices and materials. We have seen the compression of the majority of the event calendar into three short months, resulting in long and exhausting work hours, and we recognise the fallout created by last minute decisions and order making as a result of a lack in confidence that the events really would go ahead.

We wanted to extend a huge thank you to all of your members, and both the contractor and venue communities as a whole. Thank you for all of the effort, the dedication, the patience, the calm heads, the imagination, the problem solving, the pride, the unbelievable flexibility. The ripping up of the blueprints, the sheer bloody-mindedness to get things done. Thank you to all of the individuals, every single one. There may have been times where you wondered if we had seen you. We may, amidst the pressure we too were facing, have not always said thank you and well done when it was needed. We hope we did, but it would have been impossible to do it enough.

We know that the road ahead is not going to be a smooth one. Whilst we celebrate what we have achieved together, we recognise that the pattern of the last 3 months is not a sustainable one and the welfare of our event partners is very much in our minds as we look ahead.

However, we are confident that the closer ties formed between the Organiser, Venue and Contractor communities over the last 18 months - securing the future of our industry - will enable us overcome the difficulties ahead.

We are looking forward to working alongside each other more closely than ever before – being open about the challenges and finding ways to help each other.

Thank you, you are all appreciated

Kind regards

The AEO UK Operations Group

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