How deglobalisation benefits the events industry

Publish Date :12 Aug,2022 - 3:06 PM

How deglobalisation is benefitting event planners and local suppliers

Since the financial crisis of 2008, there has been heated debate amongst economists, politicians and business leaders on whether or not we are experiencing deglobalisation. Some have called it ‘slowbalisation’ – merely a slowing down of a process that has perhaps reached its peak, after soaring to historically high levels. Others argue that it is the fifth era of globalisation – yet another evolution in the lifecycle of the process.

What’s caused this shift? A number of recent world events and geopolitical tensions, such as the US-China trade wars, COVID-19 and, more recently, the war between Ukraine and Russia. The latter two have seen global supply chains completely disrupted in a matter of months, meaning many companies are now looking closer to home for solutions to safeguard their supply chains and business growth. 

Whilst some might argue deglobalisation is a threat to the world’s economy, growing tendencies toward regionalisation can in fact offer a glimmer of hope to event planners, businesses and local suppliers. 

In this article, I’ll be exploring the potential benefits that the wider events industry can gain as a result of deglobalisation – let’s jump in.

Shorter supply chains make for greater efficiency

The number of businesses that are looking at nearshoring, reshoring or onshoring their production and services has multiplied in recent years. The goal is to de-risk supply chains, and they can achieve this by bringing their operations closer to their regional and local customers.

With supply chains made shorter and more streamlined, event professionals can leverage greater operational and cost efficiencies when planning their events. For example, instead of having to wait months to get in certain sound equipment from overseas, they can speed up their timelines by working with local partners. And rather than paying a premium on imported food products, they can source produce from local suppliers at more affordable rates. Vendors themselves benefit from cheaper distribution rates, as they’re no longer relying on large, overseas orders.

What’s more, collaborating with local partners empowers event planners to take more control leading up to and during an event; facilitating face-to-face meetings and on-site visits becomes a whole lot easier when suppliers and organisers are in the same city or region.

Support local businesses and be kind to the environment

Sustainability has been the hot topic for some time now, but it’s not going to phase out anytime soon. If anything, it’s only becoming more critical in both the events industry and the wider business community, as our understanding of climate change and its impact on our planet develops. 

Most companies will have established sustainability and corporate responsibility policies that cover the way they organise their events. According to one survey, 83% are purposefully taking sustainability into account when planning their meetings and events. 

With deglobalisation taking a stronghold, we’re now seeing a positive uptick in locally-sourced products being used in events. The short distances these products need to travel means planners can significantly minimise an event’s carbon footprint. Additionally, by buying from vendors in the same region, event organisers can help boost the local economy (this extends to the retail, hospitality and cultural sectors when you take into account event attendees’ custom as well).

We’re even seeing a tendency towards hosting smaller, localised events – a direct consequence of the pandemic –, which is good news for small and independent venues that can profit from this new attention. Unusual or unused spaces within the community can also be given a new lease of life if repurposed for a local event. 

The era of hyper-focused events

Large-scale, global events undoubtedly play a positive role in helping businesses grow, connecting people from all walks of life and enabling the universal distribution of knowledge. But the emergence of localised, micro-events, as a result of deglobalisation, presents an exciting opportunity for event planners to create hyper-focused events tailored to niche markets. It’s an opportunity that many businesses are already looking to leverage in their event strategies; 28% of all European events are set to be local, in-person only and small (less than 25 attendees). 

With such small groups of attendees, planners can explore unique ways to connect with their audiences and do so more successfully as the demographic is highly concentrated. 

Micro-events make it easier for brands to build a strong and meaningful connection with their target customers, presenting them with the specific content or products they know consumers in that particular region want to learn more about. 

Businesses looking to host employee training or reward days can really hone in on what their staff respond to best – this is something that can change significantly from office to office and city to city, but the flexibility of micro-events means companies can rise to the challenge relatively issue-free

Look for the silver lining

There’s no doubt that a lot has changed since 2008 and these changes have had an irrevocable effect on the industry. Take, for example, the fact that 41.1% of event planners now say they’d only attend a physical event if was local to them when, in pre-pandemic days, people would often travel extensively to attend key events. 

However, rather than taking the view that this is a problem we need to tackle or overcome, we should be putting on our optimist’s hat and taking advantage of the many opportunities deglobalisation has brought us: increased supply chain efficiencies, more sustainable practices and higher engagement from our target audiences. 

The rules of the game might have switched, but it’s nothing the event industry can’t handle, so long as the right attitude is assumed.