The events industry 10 years on

A lot has changed in the last 10 years, with huge technological advancements opening doors for communication and development across all sectors, including the events industry. Nichola Jacklin, National Account Manager at Center Parcs, has worked in the Conferences & Events team since 2008 and shares the pivotal changes she has experienced in the events industry over the past 10 years.

Society undoubtedly lives at a faster pace of life today than 10 years ago. As a result, one of the biggest challenges I have noticed in the events industry is that companies are focusing on the wellness of their employees far more, providing a working environment in which they feel refreshed and energised amongst our always-on culture. Working remotely is now a far more achievable and acceptable way of doing business, and practising mindful habits in both work and leisure hours is greatly encouraged.

Standard sit-down events are no longer commonplace as event organisers respond to demand for wow-factor events and unique experiences that leave their guests with a lasting memory of the event long after it's taken place. This extends to event catering, with clients looking for informal styles of catering such as street food, 'bowling and burgers' and 'grab and go' lunches which have all become increasingly popular.

My role has also changed considerably in 10 years. Joining the company 10 years ago as Sales Office Manager and looking after inbound enquiries, I have seen some significant changes within our team and our brand, alongside those in the MICE industry. Having been given the amazing opportunity to take on a more outbound role as National Account Manager, naturally this has completely changed my focus to account management and engaging with our agency partners.

I have seen a lot of development in the meetings and events side of our business at Center Parcs. While our leisure guests know the brand intimately, we have worked hard to open up our corporate events and team building space to meeting planners. Opening The Venue at Woburn Forest was a huge milestone; we have capacity for up to 600 delegates for a gala dinner and accommodation for more than 3,500 guests here, meaning the village continues to thrive as a destination for corporate events. It has enabled us to accommodate more London-based clients looking to take a step out of the city and into the forest, and we've seen an increase in repeat bookers through the addition of another location.

While the last 10 years has seen a lot of change, there is still change to be made. I'd like to see an increase in awareness of sustainability and sustainable events. I'd also like to see the trend continuing for incorporating wellbeing and 'getting outdoors' into event programmes. Team togetherness and wellness were the key objectives of many client event briefs we received in 2018; however I'd like to see all event briefs echoing the current trends incorporating wellbeing and 'space to think'.

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