5 for 2023: Michael Begley of venuedirectory.com shares next year’s key steps for the business events sector

Five for 2023: Michael Begley, managing director of venuedirectory.com, shares his top wishes for the new year

After a tumultuous 2022, you’d be forgiven for hoping for a more settled climate next year. However, with the ONS confirming earlier this month that we’re in a recession, resources are being squeezed tighter than ever, and the outlook is not as rosy as we may like.

The good news is there are concrete steps we can take now to ensure the best possible success in 2023 – both for our business and the wider community. Here are the five key steps I’d like to see our industry take as we enter the new year:

  1. With the goal of achieving net zero by 2050 edging ever closer, it’s essential that corporate procurement teams make it mandatory that all venues booked must have an audited sustainable accreditation. Recognised schemes such as Green Key, Green Tourism Standard, Green Meetings from Green Tourism and ECOsmart enable venues to demonstrate, measure and – crucially – build on their commitment to sustainability.
  1. More venues need to wake up to the benefits of Instant Book, particularly when it comes to small meetings of up to 30 delegates. The benefits extend beyond the commercial imperative. Instant book also takes the pressure off venue staff – and this is vital at a time when resources are squeezed beyond belief.
  1. Agents should look to streamline the amount of venues they request proposals from to ensure a better chance of success and save everyone’s time. With many venues now operating with fewer staff, some are struggling to handle the sheer volume of incoming enquiries – our recent analysis showed that in 2019, 76% of RFPs were answered within two hours compared to just 58% this year. 
  1. Wellbeing needs to remain a top priority. While the challenges of the pandemic may have diminished, another wide-reaching upheaval has taken its place: the cost-of-living crisis. With event professionals only rating their general wellbeing as 6 out of 10 (according to the Event Marketing Association), we need to be mindful of the stress our industry friends are under and give them the space and support needed during the tough times ahead.
  1. My final wish for next year is for the community spirit that powers our industry to continue and grow. The pandemic proved how our sector excels in coming together and collaborating. Since then we’ve seen the launch of numerous partnerships, such as the Net Zero Carbon Events Initiative, which unites organisations under a shared sustainability goal. As event professionals, we excel at bringing people together and I’d like to see that collaboration continue in the year ahead.

Michael Begley is managing director of venuedirectory.com