Since the financial crash, and what seems like an endless recovery that seems still to be very similar to a recession, the world of corporate events has taken a massive dip with regards to its income. There are many facets to this industry. Hospitatlity, the corporate awards market, entertainment. The fact is when companies start to save on their awards presentations, or team building events, the effects are far reaching.
I have managed a corporate awards company for over 20 years, and I have never before heard the tales of hardship that many companies I am involved with, have to tell me. I deal with a great deal of function rooms & hotels, who tell me that they have lost over fifty percent of their regular custimers, in some cases. I deal with events management companies, as well as directly with companies who look for awards. My business has dropped by nearly thirty percent. I, like many of my friends who operate within this industry, are having less success when we go prospecting for new clients. They simply would rather organise lower key affairs, sometimes just within the offices they own, rather than a function hall. Awards have lost out to certificates, or just simple congratulations accompanied by cheap sparkling wine.
Something that interests me is, is the reason for the decline. Much of it is obvious. When times were good, it seems, companies enoyed the fact that they could spend a fortune, regularly far too much. Many companies I was dealing with would admit to me they were thousands over budget for their event. Times, however were good, and this encouraged the price is no object attitude. As soon as the credit crunch, coupled with the general atmosphere of austerity, companies themselves saw incomes slashed. No one is keen to over spend, or indeed set high spending limits, when thier own income takes a severe dip. Companies I have dealt with for ages, even with improved incomes, are still keen to hold on the thrift they have shown for the past three years or so. Who can blame them? You cannot put forward many good arguments to overspend on what are a lot of the time merely overblown office parties. I feel fortunate to have only dropped thirty percent of my business. I know many companies within the corporate event scene that went bust.
The real question is how do we survive now. Times are different. Some companies have the money and resources to spend, spend, spend, as they recover their revenue streams. The fact is being thrifty seems to be a trend that has stayed with many of these recovering companies. The secret, I have found, to make sure that profit stays within my own company, is to realise the "golden age" is over, and that prices with have to reflect a more tightly controlled budget. I have found that I can still win business by only having to reduce my prices by about twenty percent from what I used to charge. I may make less per company, but I have picked up a lot more accounts from companies whp were still being quoted high rates for thier awards packages. Friends of mine in this industry seem to have surviveved with exactly the same mentality. Perhaps austerity is a good opportunity to charge less, and pick up more business in the long run.