Preparation, dedication, positive expectation v hibernation, resignation, preparing for elimination.

I’m not sure about the subtitle for this blog, perhaps I’ve been listening to too much Eminem during the current ‘emergency’ but a recent experience has had me pondering the meaning of life, at least from the point of view of the events and hospitality industry.  More on this in a paragraph or two.

While it can’t be denied that this incredibly important and valuable sector of the UK (and world) economy is facing its greatest ever challenge, there is a danger in giving in to the temptation to just switch off, resign yourself to the seemingly inevitable and in some really sad cases, just call it a day.

I won’t list all the well know businesses and brands that have or will go to the wall through absolutely no fault of their own. The impact of Covid 19 has been amplified by our governments jumbled, knee jerk reaction to it. For the most part, we’re on our own and treated with the utmost contempt by the powers that be. So what’s the point? Is it time to re-skill as per the advice of some incredibly crass politicians and scientists?

There’s a well-known saying; whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you’re probably right.  The contrast between those who refuse to be cowed by this situation (and the ineptitude of those who make the rules) and those who have lost the will to fight is significant.

I had occasion to visit Lochgreen House Hotel & Spa situated directly on the beautiful Ayrshire coast very recently. The management wanted to let me see what they’d been working on during the lockdown and current period of restrictions. One thing I can tell you is that the experience was probably one of the most uplifting I’ve had in recent months.

The team at Lochgreen have invested heavily in an already near perfect property to further enhance its appeal. While they obviously take their social distancing and response to the virus very seriously, I wasn’t being shown Perspex dividers, hand sanitisers and a one way system. Rather they wanted me to see the new extension to the function suite which has significantly increased capacity allowing them to host bigger weddings and corporate events.

The attention to detail is incredible with clearly no expense spared. The thoughtful and tasteful redesign which frames the location and surroundings to breath taking effect left a very strong impression on me. It wasn’t just the appearance of the property, but the attitude and quiet confidence of the management and team. They are absolutely ready to return to normal service, which in the case of Lochgreen House Hotel & Spa, is second to none.

By the way, it’s worth a visit just to enjoy the fabulous fine art collection on display. Completely free to enjoy while wandering around with something nice to sip.

Ah but …

That’s all very well, I hear you say, but what does a small events or hospitality business like mine have in common with the fine art collecting owners of Costley Hotels?

Well, as with so many things in life (thankfully), size doesn’t matter. It’s what you do with what you’ve got that determines the outcome. Your resources may not be the same but your challenges are no different. Ask Bill Costley what he pays for insurance every year, regardless of whether his properties are full or empty and I guarantee your eyes will water.

Like you he has staff to pay, stock to buy, maintenance standards (the gardens by the way are so tidy they look one of the paintings), and utility bills – the list is endless. So while the resources are greater, the demand on those resources is significantly greater too.

I’d argue that, like Bill, you’ve put too much into your business over the years to just roll over and die. Or you may have just started a new venture, as I have with Eventace.com and you may, again like me at least initially, be cursing your timing.

But I’ve taken heart from Costley’s approach and I think you can too. If the big players are getting ready to bounce back, so should you.  While they can afford to invest fortunes in their business, it’s more about the belief than the bunce. Belief in yourself and in your business is what will see you still standing while others fold.

You may of course think that this is flim flam and that just telling you to think positive is pointless and maybe even insulting. After all, your business, circumstances, situation are all different. My friend, you couldn’t be more wrong. The pressures we’re all under at the moment are the same no matter how big or small you are. But to assuage the doubters here are 5 ways to get your events business bounce back ready with my compliments.

The Art Deco Bar at Lochgreen House Hotel & Spa
  1. Maintain or repair your kit. Whether you’re a musician like me, a hairdresser, a chauffeur or a portaloo provider, now is the time to clean, repair or replace your gear. Get stuff serviced or better still, service it yourself. Top tip especially for people in bands – check your bag of leads. Untangle them, bin frayed cables and fix the plugs on the rest – you know what I’m talking about.

  2. Keep active on social media. I’ve been on some Facebook pages of event suppliers that haven’t been updated in weeks or in some cases months. If you want to disappear off the radar of your potential customers, that’s the way to do it.

  3. Keep advertising. People are still making bookings for events in the future. Now is the time to fill your diary with new business. So many weddings and events have been moved to 2021 and beyond that potential bookers are screaming for suppliers. There is opportunity out there. Shameless plug, but joining the event suppliers community at www.eventace.com is an easy and risk free way to be found by potential new clients. Join us free here https://eventace.com/become-a-supplier

  4. Respond quickly to any signs of interest and engage with potential customers vigorously. When you’re busy doing what you do, it’s easy to neglect contact with past and potentially future clients. Put the time on our hands to good use and follow up even any slight sniff of new business quickly. You’ll be in a tiny minority because even now, most events and hospitality suppliers basically lack motivation and can’t be arsed. The opportunities are yours.

  5. Network. Talk to others in the events industry, yes even your competitors. We’re all in the same boat, facing the same issues. Bury the hatchet and offer to help or even just listen. When this is over you’ll be better off with a network of friends and colleagues who can help you out with all manner of things. Join groups and forums. Have a look at this excellent FB group – Event Suppliers Scotland with over 300 members and learn from others, or better still, help others. There’s no point in isolating yourself. Even just knowing that people are facing the same challenges as you can seriously impact your mood and mental health. This situation is not of your making – you didn’t make some bad decision or mistake. We’re all in it and we need each other now more than ever.

So, what do you think of this article? Please comment, good or bad and let me know. In fact here’s a way you can pay me back for the love and attention I’ve showered on you by writing this. If you’re confident your business will survive the epidemic comment Yes and if you’re not, comment No.

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