Industry leaders urged agencies against price-slashing and to focus on content-led events during the recession at this morning's Confex show in London.
Pure Events chief executive Charlotte Wilson, First Protocol chief executive Richard Waddington, Motivcom executive director Nigel Cooper and International Confex event director Duncan Reid said during a panel discussion that adapting services to meet clients' needs would be key to surviving the downturn.
Waddington anticipated that the market would shrink 30% during the recession and said clients were increasingly changing their events to comply with US - and potentially UK - government regulations.
"Even if they haven't taken government money, they will look to comply with regulations and this will have enormous knock-on effects," said Waddington.
"It's not about hospitality or luxury hotels anymore, it's about the content. Everything we propose to clients has to be content-led. Events are going to be held at business centres in international business hubs."
Cooper warned agencies and suppliers against slashing prices: "Reducing your prices is not going to grow your business - you will be merely entering into a price war and that benefits no-one other than the client, and it isn't going to increase their budget."
Elsewhere, the panel advised agencies and venues to integrate videoconferencing into their product offering rather than viewing it as a threat to face to face events.
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