We caught up with Paul Black Head of Business Events at London Convention Bureau to find out all about the recent Future London Strategy Breakfast that took place at the end of November at the Treehouse Hotel London
DW: Hi Paul, why do London Convention Bureau (London & Partners) talk about these business festivals a lot in their communications?
PB: Business festivals such as London Tech Week, AdWeek Europe, London Climate Action Week are excellent platforms to drive more business opportunities for events in London, either during the actual festival or alternative periods of the year. For example, London Tech Week is a strong and authentic case study to talk about why London is a leading tech destination, highlighting the strong business ecosystems present in the City which can help attract new conferences and events with strong content, sponsorship, speaker and networking opportunities.
They also demonstrate great ways to foster community collaboration amongst different businesses and sectors, share knowledge, find new talent and take advantage of crowd-sourcing platforms to provide opportunities to every level and size of business.
And finally, and really important, but they showcase the importance of business events and how they can often generate new business and job opportunities here in London with companies visiting the festivals and then establish a permanent presence here in the capital.
DW: You mentioned sustainability in your update, what has London and London CVB been doing to address this given the importance of it in events?
PB: Talking about festivals London Climate Action Week really helped us to understand more what London is doing as a City to reduce emissions, food waste, improve recycling rates, and so in turn to support our hotels, venues, attractions. City leadership has been very proactive in sustainability with policies such as the Low Emission and Ultra Low Emission Zones as well as clear targets for transport providers to be hybrid or emission free in the coming years.
We have organised some practical educational workshops for our hospitality providers to help them to be more sustainable with areas such as food waste, as well as had a few pitch based scenarios for companies to offer their solution services to support suppliers on this journey. Plenty more to progress and accomplish and it goes without saying how important this for London and indeed the events industry.
DW: There are some exciting new plans coming to London – what stands out for you looking ahead?
PB: For me it’s the scale of the developments across so many different areas of London which will be attractive to event planners. I attended a meeting in Queen Elizabeth Park this week and its fascinating to see how this has evolved since the Olympics. HereEast and Plexal are incredible tech campuses and now there is fast growing gaming and creative sectors developing in this part of London (amongst others). Also to see how this has and is being developed to bring communities together, provide strong social and public services to residents and regenerate such a vast area of the city in a sustainable and inclusive way.
Kings Cross has some excellent spaces that have opened these past few years that really reflect London’s creative, urban and innovative scene for events. And I’m sure everyone is excited to see how the iconic Battersea Power Station is regenerated with some great new event spaces. So, plenty of areas we need to keep organisers and our valuable clients informed about during the next couple of years.
DW: And finally, on a personal level, what inspires you the most about the events industry?
PB: It’s the constant evolution and diversity of the industry, the importance of what business events brings to any destination; economically and socially, and of course the people! I really enjoy being out and about at industry functions and meeting different people involved in events – so much to learn and enjoy about our industry!