If you lost three-quarters of your income overnight, and there was nothing you could do to bring it back, what would that mean for you?

You might optimistically hope the situation would come right shortly. You might lay awake at night desperately trying to fill the gaps. You might be forced to pivot your business, or worse, close all together.

Essentially this is where the events sector across New Zealand have been left – high and dry. 

Since Coronavirus hit our shores in March 2020 the events industry has taken hit after hit, and yet, organisers, venues, performers, artists, attendees, and all involved with this industry continue to persevere.

One of the most prominent themes of the latest outbreak has been the lack of certainty. Bex Tacon, experienced HB event planner of Planit Events, says the greatest difficulty in her business has been “uncertainty around regulations, rules, and timeframes”, expressing the challenge of planning ahead for events of any size without clarity.

As event organisers, attendees and members of the local community, the Hawke’s Bay Chamber is in the same boat. Insecurity is a symptom of a wider problem – how to build strength and resilience in an unfamiliar landscape. The best solution on hand is thorough research, planning and creating space for alternative ways to hold and attend events.

Contingency planning has become second nature across the board. Bookmarked tabs are checked feverishly in the weeks leading up to an event, with final plans cemented only once all options have been thoroughly explored.

Napier Conferences and Events Manager, Jacqui D’Ath, speaks to the struggle of rescheduling postponed event bookings. As a popular location for events in the Hawke’s Bay region, the task of meeting client needs, coupled with growing government guidelines and capacity requirements is a tough job.

Jacqui says that creating a team culture of resilience, creativity, and willingness to go above and beyond for clients has been crucial for their venue.

Planning ahead is key to continued viability, plan for the worst and welcome the best possible outcome.

We recently hosted a webinar with local law firm, Copeland Ashcroft, to gain an understanding of the legalities that should be considered around vaccinations. The key takeaway from this session was to conduct a risk assessment of each role within your work environment. This assessment should cover common risk areas associated with Covid-19 and help you determine the level of protection that will be required for your organisation, event, and visitors.

So, where to from here?

Whether you are an event organiser, attendee, employer or employee we all need to:

  • Plan for all contingencies, alert levels, traffic light levels, and unexpected changes.
  • Stay informed by connecting with your local business community through reliable sources.

We can’t know what the future may hold, but we can take responsibility for our actions to ensure that Hawke’s Bay events can continue to run and provide much needed enjoyment and economic revitalisation.

Karla Lee, chief executive, HB Chamber of Commerce

Photo: Kirsten Simcox, NCC

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