Welcome to the first Events Industry Bulletin of 2021 and Happy New Year from the HeadBox team.

After spending the Christmas period in a Quality Street, cheese and Netflix-filled haze, it’s back to work and time to start planning for the year ahead!

With news of a trade deal with the EU and the Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccine going into circulation this week, we’re feeling positive about 2021.

We’ve pulled together everything you need to know from across the industry from the latest COVID updates, trends, and innovations from the ever-resilient hospitality and events industries.

The chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a £4.6bn support package for businesses impacted by the latest changes to lockdown restrictions across England. 

The government will provide £4bn in grants for around 600,000 firms in leisure, hospitality and retail, with each business able to claim a grant of up to £9,000. 

Whilst this is welcomed by the events and hospitality industries, the HBAA has warned that it may not be enough to save some businesses and the Meetings Industry Association has asked for further clarification on eligibility for the events sector.

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Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was a “pivotal moment” in the UK’s fight against the virus, as vaccines will help curb infections and then allow restrictions to be lifted.

Despite another national lockdown, news of another vaccine is positive news for the events industry, once again providing light at the end of the tunnel and another step towards the return of in-person events.

BrewDog offers up sites for vaccine hubs

BrewDog and Loungers have both offered the Government use of their currently closed restaurants and bars to help with the rollout of the Coronavirus vaccine across the country. Co-founder, James Watt highlighted that the venues had waiting areas, huge refrigerators, separate rooms for vaccination and a team who could help with organisation.

Whether the Government takes up the offer remains to be seen but it once again showcases the innovation of the hospitality industry and brilliant venues, following the transformation of the ExCel into a Nightingale Hospital last year.

Furlough extension welcomed by the industry 

Jane Longhurst, chief executive of mia said: “We are pleased to hear that Rishi Sunak has given advanced notice that the government is extending the furlough scheme by an additional month so that it will run until 30 April. By making this announcement now, it allows the business meetings and events sector the financial assurance to be able to plan longer-term.

“As we continue our ongoing liaison with government, it also provides the sector additional time to demonstrate how we can re-open and operate business meetings and events safely and securely – no matter which tier they are operating within.”

Strong event tech investment despite dip in Zoom stock

2020 was characterised by cancelled events and a huge push online, creating a booming virtual event tech sector. Investments in event tech have surged throughout the year, and this trend has continued over the last few weeks.

With the future still somewhat uncertain, we know that virtual will continue to play a huge part in the events calendar over the next few months at least. Rapid innovation and investment in virtual technology also hint at an exciting hybrid future as live events start to resume over the next year. 

confident elegant lady in eyeglasses hosting webinar
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Industry experts say sustainability needs to be at the top of the agenda once we emerge from the pandemic

When and how in-person events return is still uncertain but we know we are on the road back. Paul Harvey, journalist at M&IT spoke to key events industry figures on where they see sustainability fitting on the agenda post-pandemic. Many believe that events won’t return exactly in the same form and that Coronavirus has given the industry an opportunity to change.

person holding a green plant
Photo by Akil Mazumder on Pexels.com


We’ll be back with the next update in two weeks time so stay tuned!

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