Conference News September 2021 - Page 9

9 Association comment

Beckie Towle
includes a digital platform called Event Arena and an in-house studio . Abstract Events embraced digital disruption by launching a new Digital
Communications arm , offering solutions for virtual and hybrid options , plus studio space .
Guy Mason , director of Brief2Event , says the agency had big wins with virtual conferences , awards , webinars , and Christmas parties , but also picked up business from essential training events and organising keyworker accommodation .
Digital events and staffing kept agency Autograph Events busy during the first lockdown . Managing Director Victoria Jenkins-Leigh says : “ Staffing is something we have always done , but we also pivoted the business to deliver virtual events , care packages , and hampers , some of which replaced incentives .”
Learning and upskilling
Vital to this transition to digital events was the adaptability of agency staff . Upskilling has been essential in ensuring businesses are future fit . HBAA has been calling for a ‘ re-skill and re-equip ’ fund from the UK government . Despite a lack of governmental support so far , agencies have found ways to move forward . “ Many of our employees
“ The key to success has been to maintain open and honest communications . This approach with suppliers , as well as clients , has been instrumental in doubling our client base .” Beckie Towle
Chris Peacock
had to take on extra responsibility and upskilled in different areas ,” says Goalen . “ We were really impressed at how they adapted , rolled up their sleeves , and did what they had to do to keep the business going . We couldn ’ t have done it without their hard work , dedication , and motivation .”
Refocusing the existing talent within teams and broadening roles has become commonplace , too . Justin Dilks , director of business development at arrangeMY , mentions : “ We adapted by cross-training the operations team so team members that are normally based within our travel department are now working in the other areas of our business that have remained busier .”
As we look ahead to the near future of the events industry , what could a recovery roadmap look like ? Towle provides a clear answer : “ Agencies essentially act as an extension of a client ’ s in-house team and a venue ’ s sales team and , when that partnership is strong , it can help make everyone ’ s lives far easier when resources are challenging . The role of agencies , staff and their relationships with clients in building corporate customer confidence in getting back to in-person events in a safe and responsible manner will be crucial in the next 18 months .” CN www . conference-news . co . uk