Ghost Events

With a surge in enquiries, savvy venues need to keep an eye to business at risk of being ghosted, writes Andrew White.

Ghost made out of a sheet
Photo: Getty Images

The locks are lifting and along with the massive sigh of relief, there’s a bullish air to the events market.

There are reports of demand being up by 170 per cent and 500 per cent! However, read behind the big stats and these are simply enquiries. Enquiries don’t put revenue in the bank – confirmed and contracted business does.

Enquiries are a spurious way of looking at how events are faring – we need more reporting on actual confirmed business, but it’s sparse. Why? Because no one really knows how the corporate will deal with bringing their teams back into the office let alone for an offsite meeting or event.

There are massive areas of duty of care that now come into play in the next normal corporate rule book. A corporate can take every effort possible to protect its staff and add procedures to be Covid confident in their workplace. However when they send their people on company business, things change. Employees are under their employer’s jurisdiction, and frankly it may be easier to carry on with the Webex that has been proven to work for 15 months and has in fact saved significant money. Corporate procurement departments must be relishing in the huge cost savings on training and events and the associated costs of sending delegates away for the day.

Conversely, company cultures have been redefined through home working and enforced remote working has meant that some employees have never even met their peers. Bringing people together to bond, collaborate and be creative is an important part of the big return to work and imperative to any organisation and its productivity.

Perhaps this push-pull of ‘will we, won’t we meet’ is the reason enquiries are so high. Add in another trend for provisionally holding four venues for the same event – yes, cancellation culture has reached the meetings and events sector – and there will potentially be a lot of venues with egg on their face if they don’t proficiently manage this demand for ghost events. Signed contracts and deposits are real-time value. 500 per cent of nothing is nothing. Fact.

Convert the enquiry
When you send your event quotation, put duty of care at the fore. Corporates want to know:
• What new Covid-compliant procedures are in place
• How contracts can be flexed in case of another lockdown
• They want open air and they want big technology as they will undoubtedly be streaming people into the events.

Hybrid – in person and streamed to an online audience – is the trend, so ensure you’ve the biggest internet connection possible and all of the necessary equipment and expertise onsite! After all, those ghostly online delegates are infinitely better than a ghost event that never happened because you weren’t set up right.


About The Author
Andrew White is MD of Triggerfish Communications, a specialist in helping heritage venues and leisure attractions build awareness and market share in the business of events.

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