Welcome to the first of Make Events’ guest blogs, this week we bring you an in-depth look into the growth of the events industry in Manchester, why Manchester is such a great hub for events and how this combination of factors makes Manchester a great place to build an events career. Perfectly timed too, as Manchester has just been named the most ‘liveable’ city in the UK (according to the latest Economist Intelligence Unit annual global survey.)
Not only does the below article confirm that Manchester is a great city to live in, but a great events city too!
This article is written by Event Academy, who run a CIM-accredited events qualification course, read more about their courses here.
Being described as “the belly and guts of the nation” could sound like the most backhanded compliment in the world but George Orwell’s vivid description of Manchester was always intended as the ultimate compliment; identifying Manchester as the city where much of the vital action which keeps the UK going happens.
Fast-forward to 2018 and Manchester continues to offer a thriving venue for commerce, one which started during the industrial revolution when proactive, pioneering planning alongside a culture of creativity led to innovations in industry, enterprise and transport.
A vibrant venue for events
Whilst London is often believed to be the UK ‘capital’ for events, what’s starting to be recognised is that the City of Manchester offers many similar advantages and positive benefits as a location for national and international events. Manchester’s benefits include, but certainly aren’t limited to:
- Great travel and transport links: including an international city airport and inter-city train links which make Manchester accessible to event attendees from all over the UK, as well as Ireland, Europe and more internationally. The famous Manchester canals also offers the opportunity for experiencing water travel and events, whilst Manchester’s trams offer a unique transport experience.
- Superb tourism and cultural venues: basically, Manchester has it all. Just within the city centre alone, there are vibrant venues and exciting locations for events, including:
- Albert Square – this historic 19th Century square is home to the Manchester Town Hall. The square itself hosts many of Manchester’s popular outdoor events, such as the Manchester International Festival and seasonal festivals such as Christmas Markets and summer Jazz Festival.
- Castlefield – the city’s conservation area includes the oldest industrial canal in the world, a Roman Fort, ancient cobbled street and unique warehouse locations.
- Chinatown – a popular location for tourists as well as event venues, Manchester’s Chinatown offers a cultural hub and event location in its own right.
- Market Street and the Cathedral Quarter – a busy retail hub with stunning cathedral walkways and backdrop.
- Spinningfields and Piccadilly – Manchester’s business district has grown in size and reputation, with both the Spinningfields and Picadilly areas being home to the HQs and regional offices of many UK companies and corporations. Names in these districts include the Guardian Media Group, Barclays Wealth, RBS, Thomas Cook Airlines and of course Manchester United FC. Picadilly is also a welcoming place for events and exploring, with tram stations and the city’s Visitor Information Centre and Wheel of Manchester.
- A very welcoming approach to visitors: it’s all very well having facilities, but are visitors welcome? Visitors to the City of Manchester voted a resounding “yes!” hailing Manchester as #9 in the rankings of the World’s Friendliest Cities, as voted by travellers on com.
The expansion of events
The number and variety of jobs being created within a fast-developing industry such as event management is increasing significantly:
Event industry statistics
According to Eventbrite’s 2017 Pulse Report, the most popular reasons for companies to organise events (or commission the services of freelancers and event agencies) are for:
- Education and training
- Generate profits and brand awareness
- Business networking and lead generation
- To launch products
- To bring people togetherThe common denominator behind those statistics is marketing, and in a city of such commercial and cultural growth as Manchester, having marketing skills is a way to get noticed in events.
Of course, Meeting, Incentive, Conference and Exhibition (MICE) events are commonly associated with marketing and Manchester is a rising star in UK locations for these types of events. Manchester rose to #3 as the city of choice for MICE events in 2017, coming just after Birmingham and London. Manchester has also risen to being #21 city location in the whole of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, from being #23 in 2016 (Cvent).
- Event talent
The Eventbrite report also showed that 65% of event professionals involved in the survey expected their existing event production to grow in 2017. Talent shortage was cited by 10.96% of respondents as a concern likely to impact on event production in 2017 – as the industry and demand for events is outstripping the number of professional, creative and dedicated event managers coming through with expertise in events.
- This also includes finding the right talent for the ever-changing events roles, as continued developments in event technology mean event managers constantly need to acquire new skill sets: another 32% of respondents in the Pulse Report indicated that new technology was expected to have an impact on events.As every new development needs a new skill to be learned, or a specialist provider to be brought in, freelance Event Production Managers and those with technical skills can find themselves in high demand. The broad scope of those MICE events, for example, often demand the latest innovations in technology and inspirational, engaging delivery, so new event managers who can get to grips with technology can certainly find their skills pay off.
The Manchester Events Experience
Just a glance at the What’s On section of VisitManchester.com reveals the number, scope and types of events running in the city at any given time. And remember that this public-facing page is just the tip of the Manchester event iceberg, because every week there will also be those private and corporate invite-only events which are just as prolific – and all of which need to be organised by someone!
So just as Manchester holds plenty of breathtaking options for professional event managers looking to put on an event, it also holds just as much potential for those looking to break into the world of event management: both the events industry generally and Manchester specifically hold plenty of career potential for the right person.
Of course everyone coming into events hopes to be snapped up as ‘the right person’ offering the creative flair and innovative thinking that’s already put Manchester on the map. But event management is a highly-competitive industry, so anyone hoping to come into it should be actively seeking ways to stand out when getting started.
Images by Fraser Cottrell and Wikimedia Commons.