Nicola O’ Brien, director of ID Card Centre, discusses why event professionals are always on call


Reading a viewpoint on work life balance and the Swedish six-hour work day I momentarily drifted off to a sunny pub garden at 4pm on a Friday… I crashed back to reality with the realisation I’d be in the office for at least another two hours.

Why? Simon Clayton called it. “Most of the companies in this industry have clients and they demand suppliers and agencies to be available during the standard 9-5 working day and more.”

Whilst we are avid supporters of flexible working, duvet days and early finishes, the reality is that we need to be here for our clients, without them we wouldn’t be here.

The industry demands that we offer the best products, at the best price, with the best service, whenever it’s needed (even when that’s 5am on a Sunday morning). If we don’t they’ll move on, possibly forever.

The events industry really is like no other in its demands. Granted many industries are cash poor now but their lead times are often longer allowing us to offer cheaper, less labour intensive solutions. Some industries need everything tomorrow but also have the budget to pay for it. But events need it all…. yesterday!

So why are events so needy and is it sustainable for the industry?

Time. We appreciate that events have inevitable last minute changes and that delegate lists never really get finalised but that doesn’t need to prevent you from pre-booking any associated goods or services. Give your suppliers the heads up that its coming – allow them to plan for it within their business too. You may even get a better price for doing so.

Our average lead time from first contact/initial enquiry through to delivery is less than one week for events.

Give us time to be creative. With badges, for example, by planning early you have so many more exciting and creative options available to you. Start early so we can work on a bespoke solution for you that meets your objectives and your budget – we may even be able to save you money.

Trust. Trust us with you brand and your budget.

Trust that your event supplier is not trying to rip you off, they want to deliver an exceptional service at a fair price to you and them.

We know you have the budget, let us help you spend is wisely. We are often beaten up on price for weeks and by the time a quote is accepted it’s no longer possible to produce the goods at the original prices so a premium must be paid. This doesn’t make good business sense for any of us.

We’ve also seen countless clients pay extortionate amounts for same day couriers to get forgotten or additional items on to site, mid registration, risking delays whilst the courier trawls from one end of ExCeL to the other to find you. Many suppliers will do stock on a sale or return basis so you have everything you need from the get go and you’re not needing goods to be shipped on the day of the event.

This is an industry I love and am passionate about. I was an event organiser for 15 years so I understand the last minute nature of events (and having senior management who want a full badge redesign at 1am when your delegates are arriving at 9am!) but having now worked on both sides, I think there is more we can all do to make business improvements in the industry.

We want solid working relationships that work for all parties. After all isn’t that one of the cornerstones of sustainability?