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CEO of DRPG, Dale Parmenter

The days of deals will soon be dead

CEO of DRPG, Dale Parmenter, on how Covid-19 will affect the market for event suppliers.

A recent BVEP report has stated up to 60% of event suppliers will not survive the current Covid-19 crisis. This means for a period of time, once the upturn arrives, resource will be in short supply, with the days of discounting and deals over and prices probably rising.

Having worked through several downturns, the pattern is always the same: fewer suppliers try to service a greater demand. For almost two years following 9/11, it was a suppliers’ market. When we compare this crisis to the one 18 years ago, this one is going to be deeper and harder to recover from, already having a huge negative effect on the events industry. When we come out of this, there just won’t be enough production companies and suppliers around to deal with the expected upturn.  We know many major venues are saying they are already full as events were rescheduled from the spring to the winter.

For several years we had a buyers’ market; in the next few months, this will reverse with a shortage of resource and prices will almost certainly rise. Procurement departments will be powerless to manage the situation as rate cards go out of the window and event services will be sold to the highest bidder. 

So, what can client organisations do to ensure they get a fair deal and the services they require? First keep talking to your agency, make sure they are stable and not vulnerable to the crisis. Secondly, share your potential future plans for 2020 and 2021, however sketchy they are at present. And lastly, time is of the essence here. If you can, reserve the services you need and lockdown the price now, don’t leave it until the autumn.