Industry view from Anna Golden, Commercial Director
Reflecting on the highs and lows of the past year, Olympia London plans to move forward and encourage both venues and organisers to work collectively to rebuild a successful and brighter future.
A challenging year
It’s no secret that the effects of the pandemic have significantly challenged our industry in more ways than we could ever have imagined. The wave of countless cancellations and postponements triggered many emotions for both event planners and venues. However, some businesses have been able to diversify and expand into the virtual world, others have had to adapt to a new environment, while trying to recover from major losses.
As a venue we have a truly diverse customer base; PLCs, independent entrepreneurs, associations, agencies and brands. The glue keeping us all together is our passion for events. Experiencing a shared challenge of this magnitude has led most of the players in our industry to be more understanding, flexible and adaptable. The genuine care and backing shown from the majority of our organisers has been incredibly heart-warming. Witnessing everyone collectively re-group to safeguard and restore our industry together has been extremely powerful and truly motivational.
Breaking down barriers
The overall sentiment amongst organisers that I’ve noticed is that most have never felt closer to their customers, and we feel the same with them too.
Lockdown has taught us many things including the susceptibility and fragility of our industry. Never before have we all felt this vulnerable. There have been casualties along the way, and no one has escaped unscathed, we have all had to make difficult business decisions, lose valued team members and in some cases completely change direction. I for one am extremely grateful to organisers, suppliers, contractors and my team for the immense support throughout this testing time.
Even with tough decisions taken, we have celebrated milestones and supported one another wholeheartedly. This unique and unknown situation has allowed us to be more honest and open. Seeing everyone in their home settings with online meetings has brought down barriers and led us to create closer relationships and work more collaboratively through it all.
The gung ho characters have kept our industry optimistic and the pragmatic ones have helped us plan the detail of how we’ll offer visitors amazing events in this new era. In many ways, we feel closer to our fellow venues around the UK too. Those relationships are also fundamental to ensure the UK events industry can restart and blossom in the future.
Building towards a brighter future
Successful events only happen when everyone is on the same page, and it seems clear that many venues and planners are shifting their mindset and rethinking how we will work together to plan events for the future. We’re committed to fostering long-term relationships with those who have shown us support; the people who have picked up the phone with no agenda but just to ask if we’re ok.
As a world-renowned venue, we have every intention of nurturing these blossoming relationships and seeking new likeminded partnerships to work with alongside those existing clients who share our values, ambition, innovation and vision. We’re open to exploring more strategic ways of working together in order to make us stronger as business leaders and as a united industry.
Now is the time for Olympia London to encourage collaboration and collectively we can create and rebuild one step at a time.