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Tech tops recession-proof industries for events

Event Huddle discusses recession trends as leading event professionals share survival skills

Pictured: John Fisher, Philip Hughes, Kevin Jackson, Dale Parmenter and Mike Kershaw lead the discussion on recession at last night's Event Huddle

Technology, internal communications, Christmas parties, charities and alcohol have been named by event professionals as the most recession-proof industries.

FMI Group's John Fisher, The Ice Box's Philip Hughes, drp Group's Dale Parmenter and AOK Events' Mike Kershaw nominated the sectors as the most resilient during recession, but added that financial crises were "inevitable".

Their comments came at this month's Event Huddle, held at 1 Wimpole St London and chaired by ISES UK president Kevin Jackson, which looked at recessions and how the events industry can prepare for it.

Parmenter told the audience that companies had to push internal communications more than ever to survive recessions, while all panel members joked that people drank more in tough economic times.

Fisher added: "There's been one main area that's been OK for us in recession and that's technology. The next 'big thing' in tech, whatever it may be, will always need events to get people talking about it."

The panel members all agreed that the events industry needed to continue demonstrating how vital events were to the economy.

Kershaw said: "The focus needs to be about really shouting about the value of events to the UK. We didn't do that last time; we allowed the media to say events are bad. What we need to do is when it (recession) starts, and it will, we need to get out there and fight really hard to prove events matter."

Parmenter added: "We don't shout enough about the value of what events bring to companies. I had a sales manager say to me 'we can't afford to do this event'. I turned around and said 'you can't afford not to'. Events are not a luxury, they're a revenue driver.

"We need to get that message out there and justify what we do."

Hughes said during times of recession, it paid to involve all employees.

"Be nimble and have a plan in place. Also, involving the whole team and trying to come up with ideas and be creative together; you can't put your head in the sand about it. Everyone has to be aware of what's going on and ideally be involved in the solution as well."

The next Event Huddle will take place on 12 May. The topic will be transport, with the question of Heathrow airport expansion expected to feature heavily.

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