- Julie Vincent, Head of MeetBlackpool, shares her findings from the Think-Tank’s annual event –
As the Head of MeetBlackpool, I had the privilege of attending The Business of Events UK Policy Forum 2023 held at IET London: Savoy Place on 8th November. This year’s forum brought together brilliant minds and industry leaders, paving the way for insightful discussions that helped shape the future of our event landscape, as well as a Policy Agenda for the UK events sector.
Here are five key takeaways from the event that left a lasting impression on me and the MeetBlackpool team:
Resilience in the face of adversity
The events industry has weathered its fair share of storms, and the discussions at the forum highlighted the remarkable resilience demonstrated by professionals across the sector. From navigating the challenges posed by the global pandemic to adapting to shifting consumer expectations, the consensus was clear – resilience is not just a virtue but a necessity in our line of work. Blackpool as a business events destination is going from strength to strength, and I was proud to represent the town at this event, which was in itself a celebration of the sector’s strength, flexibility, and perseverance.
Sustainability takes centre stage
A recurring theme throughout the forum was the industry’s collective commitment to sustainability. As event professionals and organisers, we have a responsibility to minimise our environmental footprint and promote eco-friendly practices. The discussions inspired us as delegates to explore innovative ways to integrate sustainability into our events, aligning with global initiatives to create a greener, more sustainable future for the events industry. Blackpool is fortunate to offer a green and efficient transport network with its electrical tramlines, and it’s crucial that we leverage this infrastructure by highlighting its use and efficiency to event bookers and agencies.
Collaboration is key
One standout moment was the emphasis on collaboration as a driving force for success. We’re extremely fortunate at MeetBlackpool to work with a number of venues, hotels, and organisations who are united in a common goal: to see Blackpool thrive as a conference destination. But the forum also highlighted to us the power of partnerships between event organisers, suppliers, and local communities. Panellists Laura Wilson, from VisitAberdeenshire and Stephanie Newton, from Marketing Manchester, spoke passionately about utilising ambassadors to cultivate growth and prosperity, something I believe would work tremendously well for a lively destination such as Blackpool. We are now advancing our own ambassador programme for the town.
Senthil Gopinath, CEO, ICCA, was the first keynote speaker at the UK Policy Forum, and his remarks on global advocacy and how business events can bring invaluable opportunities to destinations in many forms, stayed with me throughout the day. His insights into the global events landscape and the pivotal role ICCA plays in connecting event professionals worldwide left me with food for thought, and we are now eager to explore the possibilities ICCA membership to leverage its extensive network, share knowledge, and contribute to the continued growth of the events industry.
The final recurring theme that stood out for me was the transformative role of technology in shaping the future of events. From virtual and hybrid experiences to cutting-edge event management tools, technology is a powerful enabler of innovation. MeetBlackpool is committed to staying at the forefront of technological advancements, ensuring that our events continue to offer immersive and engaging experiences for attendees. Here in Blackpool, we are continuously impressed by the visible progress of the Backlot Development, the nine-screen new cinema complex due to open in 2024, which will feature one of the largest IMAX screens in the country. Not only will this deliver state-of-the-art, immersive movie experiences to delegates and leisure guests, but it can also be leveraged by event bookers and corporates looking for a unique meetings and events space with cutting-edge AV and production right here in the heart of Blackpool.
The Business of Events UK Policy Forum 2023 was a source of inspiration and knowledge for MeetBlackpool. As we embrace the lessons learned and look toward the future, our commitment to resilience, sustainability, collaboration, and technological innovation will guide us in delivering exceptional events that leave a lasting impact on our attendees and the industry as a whole. Thank you to The Business of Events for such an inspiring day.