On the day Job Keeper is removed and Qld goes into lockdown again, we are already hearing about redundancies within our sector as independent Australian family businesses are hitting the wall, while the industry association is talking about skill shortages!
Given what may eventuate in the next month, there could well be a large number of people seeking employment.
Gary Fitz-Roy MD of Expertise Events said, “Unfortunately all too often when thinking about our industry I am reminded of the famous Abbott & Costello baseball skit: Who’s on first, what’s on second.
Both men are talking but neither can see the problem!
Our industry bodies are a little like that; tackling what they perceive is the major issue facing the sector as we emerge from the pandemic; however they are going about it the wrong way.
The issue is NOT about the confidence of exhibitors and their commitment to getting back to marketing and promoting their businesses again.
The biggest and most important issue facing the industry is not being addressed – visitor and buyer confidence.
Because of this, we are starting a campaign called #FairGo and our own association, the Events Alliance.
Without visitors (buyers) it doesn’t matter how “confident” exhibitors (sellers) are. No money will change hands. Whilst some trade shows can take advantage of the Business Events Grants, 50% of shows – the consumer shows – have no support.
We can talk about the lack of, or the loss of, staff and skills all we like. None of it matters if there are no buyers. You don’t need staff and skills if visitors don’t exist. We need a cohesive national approach.
It seems to have been lost on so many who should be showing leadership along with associations. The short term sugar hit for trade shows from things like JobKeeper, Federal Government Business Events Program, etc mean nothing without visitors!
Likewise, we can continue to talk about skills and exhibitors but, at the end of the day, we will not have a sustainable industry if we continue to focus on the wrong things and forget to take a more holistic view.
Not only are events being madly cancelled and moved in Brisbane that were planned for this week, the ramification is the events now affected in the next month plus which extends beyond the tourism Easter break. Whilst it’s not a competition, again the silent sector first affected is being affected the most again!
The knock-on effect is also now being felt as states change entry requirements making it difficult for shows to successfully run interstate as the conditions of testing and self-isolation makes it financially and practically not viable for Queenslanders to attend.
Despite talk from some representative groups as an industry we have not heard anything or had any recognition. It’s time for the industry to unite in communicating to their local Federal and state members.
The initiative #FairGo is designed to increase awareness and keep the squeaky wheel to lobby the Government, and given some groups are insulting the industry, by saying what they are doing, it’s now time for the whole industry to take this by the horns and push as no association will save us.
Gary Fitz-Roy said, “I find it insulting that every time people with real skin in the game including the great work by Save Victoria Events get media attention, our supposed thought leaders come out with some lame commentary about what they are doing on the shirt tails of others. Action is what we need, not more talking.
The new initiative launched #FairGo plays off Trade Fairs and is intended to be the national hashtag for the industry to use to Government, media and all interested parties.
Fitz-Roy added ‘It’s time for anyone with a vested interest to join and take the lead. Waiting for someone else or any association is a trap, it’s now or never. As part of this initiative I am invested and committed and sick of seeing our industry be ripped apart and it’s why we have been so proactive. We are now launching a new association called the Exhibition Alliance and for $179 a year membership we can endeavour to make a real difference. No big fees just a collective concerted effort to work for our futures”
For more details contact Gary Fitz-Roy