11 Mar 2024

Reflections from the Association of Event Venues meeting 2024

Reflections from the Association of Event Venues meeting 2024

‘The first day of the London meeting was held at the O2 Arena in Greenwich, one of most popular event venues in the UK.  We engaged in a discussion with other venues about their recent and upcoming events, providing valuable insights about the quality of documentation and what the build-up, live, and break involved.   

We were thrilled to be given a behind the scenes tour of the venue getting access to   the arena and back-of-house areas. It was great to learn first-hand about some of the processes they implement that we could take away and integrate into our venue. One of these included internal signage for visitors and health & safety signage on display, as well as strict one-way systems in place in all areas where they allowed vehicles indoors. 


The first day concluded with group sessions, fostering discussions on common challenges faced by venue staff.  Shared experiences highlighted that, often, others in the industry were grappling with similar issues that we face at the Royal Highland Centre.  One that was of interest to us was a presentation on accessibility at the venue by the Customer Experience Manager. The O2 is currently focusing on hidden disabilities. Their staff members and security contractor (G4S) have taken part in hidden disability training and all members of staff are to be aware that it’s not just customers who have hidden disabilities, to be mindful that this could affect staff and contractors that they work with too. 


The second day was a full-day conference.  One of the standout sessions was that of Ben Hunt-Davis, a renowned performance coach whose impactful presentation left a lasting impression on the attendeeus. Ben shared the inspiring story of the lead-up to the Sydney Olympics, where the GB Men’s Eights transitioned from being a consistently 7th placed boat to a winning team.  The mantra “Will it make the boat go faster?” encapsulated the essence of Ben’s message.  By setting clear and direct goals, maintaining unwavering focus, and consistently taking purposeful action, the GB Men’s Eights achieved a remarkable turnaround in their performance.  Ben’s presentation went beyond the realm of rowing, it served as a powerful metaphor for the potential transformation that teams and organisations can achieve by applying these principles. 




The conference then welcomed Richard Harris-Deans, representing CHC Global.  He delivered an update on the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill, widely recognised as Martyn’s Law.  AttendeesWe gained valuable insights into the potential impact the legislation might have on venues, enhancing theirour understanding of security measures in the ever-evolving landscape of event management. 


We also attended a session on the future of events through the lens of Generation Z. The panel explored what the future holds for the industry and the young people at the heart of it, gaining valuable insights that will help shape event venue strategies in the years to come.  


The Association of Event Venues Conference provides a platform for collaborative efforts among event venues.  It allowed us to engage in meaningful discussions, share best practices and collectively address challenges.  The conference underscored the industry’s commitment to ensuring safety, sustainability and continual growth of event venues in a dynamic and ever-changing landscape. 


We are already looking forward to next year’s conference!