The last two years can probably be characterised in similarly sweeping terms; 2021, The Great Return; 2022, The Great Demand. For us at the Eastside Rooms, 2023 could be defined as The Great Evolution. But it could also be seen as the acceleration of what we have termed Ethical Events, something we’ve seen from our event organisers over the last 24 months and which shows no sign of abating.
So, as things return to semi-normality, despite what can only be seen as economic uncertainty, it’s reassuring to see so many event organisers looking to use their own events for good.
One of the first signs of this movement is the increasing interest in accessibility. In our minds, over the last few years, this has taken a backseat. Equally worthy causes, from the pandemic to diversity and inclusion, to sustainability, have all rightly been part of the main narratives around events creation. Accessibility dropped down in priority, though. We predict it will return in 2023, and its pleasing to see.
We don’t see it as replacing those other movements but as sitting alongside them. ‘Green’ meetings will remain essential and continue to expand at the same rapid pace that has typified events in 2022.
At the same time, accessibility has a natural partner in inclusion and the need to reach out to delegates, wherever they are, will be a continuous conversation in the industry, bringing with it hybrid and blended events and those that reach out into communities to meet them in person or digitally.
The three meet in a virtuous triangle to create this idea of Ethical Events, those that care about every delegate and make them feel truly welcome regardless of background.
We see this movement as fundamental to the future of events, not just in 2023. For so long the ‘Welcome’ sign above most event venues has been skin deep. At The Eastside Rooms, we’ve tried to make ours mean a whole lot more. From Changing Places size changing rooms, accessible entrance and exit ways, wider corridors, sensory support for guests, and even just having a multi-cultural staff happy to greet a multi-cultural delegation, remain top of mind in our business.
We’re not the first and we won’t be the last. What we do expect is that these ‘USPs’ will move from selling points to hygiene factors. There are no points for being inclusive, but you can lose them if you’re not. No pats on the back for being Carbon Neutral, but it will be a tough sell to a delegate organiser if venues or events lack a clear sustainability promise.
In 2023 we’re going to be held to account to the highest standards. That is a good thing. It’s a move we welcome.