When I heard the Olympics would be held in Sydney in 2000, I immediately began making plans to open an office there. It was clear that an event as big as the Olympics would change the face of event management in that city. I was right and Moving Venue Management Sydney did very well because of it.
A London Olympics in 2012 would benefit the entire UK events industry and have an even greater effect than the Sydney Olympics, due to the simple fact that London is closer to the big markets of the US and Europe.
Internationally, London's profile would be enhanced beyond everybody's expectation. The whole world would see what a contemporary and exciting place the UK capital is. And they'd want to visit. The opportunity for boosting international tourism would be of huge benefit to London and the whole of Britain.
But what of the expense of hosting the games? The Sydney Olympics cost £2.25bn yet these costs were offset by a surplus, mainly from tourism, that left the games £3.3bn in profit.
In terms of expertise, London is far ahead of Sydney. It has a well-established event organising industry with all the experience, support and creativity needed. The London event industry would be quick to capitalise on such a massive opportunity as the games. Just give it the chance and it will prove, beyond any doubt, that London is the event capital of the world.
Richard Beggs, managing director, Moving Venue Management
ONLINE EVENTS CAN'T REPLACE REAL THING
As a technology provider, it may come as a surprise that I agree with Neil Jones' opinions about online events in his In My View column (Event, June).
We provide technology for the exhibition and meetings industry but often have to work hard to convince customers that an online event is no substitute for the real thing. Virtual exhibitions, webcasts and the rest have to be seen for what they are: supports to the main event.
The real challenge for the events industry is to use the technology in a way that enables organisers to provide added value to customers. At IMEX in April we added a photo of each stand to the IMEX website as well as showing visitors which stands had scanned their badges. The aim was to help visitors to the Frankfurt show remember what they saw and where.
But at the same time, people are not usually looking for an experience online. They want information and they want it fast. Going down the experience route is likely to lead to nonsense such as animated welcome pages. Much better to put the time, effort and money into developing easy-to-navigate websites.
Ken Clayton, director, RefTech
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