All our social media and news feeds are filled with gloomy news about the impacts of the US election and the UK referendum. Currency and financial markets haven't reacted well and we could be in for uncertain times ahead.
For those of us operating across the UK and Europe, and those with an international profile, we're all looking for that crystal ball.
In fact now is probably a great time to look to the past and learn the lessons of those businesses who not only survived but prospered in previous challenging times.
What are our event attendees thinking? Is my job secure? What's going to happen to interest rates? What will rising inflation do to my spending habits?
There's certainly a lot of insecurity and that drives a behaviour that can be more cautious. But does it mean people will cut back on their leisure activities or things that give them some fun 'time out'?
Turn the telescope around. If the £ is worth less against the $ then maybe the 'staycation' will be a strong trend. Value for money could mean spending on great events with great experiences rather than not spending. Payment plans may win out over big one of ticket purchases. Free events may become even more popular with scope to make reasonable returns through concessions.
In previous economic downturns the events and entertainment industries didn't disappear. Audiences became more discerning, chose carefully and spent wisely. Those promoters and event organisers who planned ahead and thought about the challenges their audiences would face actually did pretty well.
That's not to say there weren't tough times and many businesses and their associated suppliers didn't survive. But common to many of these was carrying on as before. Not preparing for a smaller, more discerning market. And forgetting that currency changes can matter!
We also learned that people needed their break from the challenges and uncertainties. As a proportion of their overall spend, disposable income, spent on activities faired pretty well. People wanted to reward themselves for working harder, cutting back and making the savings.
They wanted to go out and have a really amazing time and they didn't mind investing wisely to achieve it. But the event had to be good, great even, and not outside their budgets.
So what's the lesson? Don't live in a bubble and keep going as if nothing around you is changing. Model your future events around future uncertainty and a downturn in spending. Is £6 for a pint and £8 for a burger sustainable? Can you justify putting your ticket price up 5% if everyone's wages are reducing by 2% with inflation?
Taking the time to do this now puts you ahead of the game. Even better why not talk to your audience. Find out what they're thinking and try and test that against your own assumptions.
Here at Proud Events we've been looking to the future. We've been modelling our business for long term sustainability. Looking at EaaS (Events as a Service), commoditising events and collaboration. Why not speak to us