Steve Murphy: Size matters?

Steve Murphy, managing director, Europa International, argues that it is how suppliers approach an event, not winning big, that is the mark of true competitors

So the London Olympics are nearly upon us. This summer, attention will be on the largest sporting event in UK history. An event that, at its heart, has a highly prized ethos of promoting what are, ultimately, minority sports, and providing smaller sporting nations with the chance to shine on the big stage. It raises an interesting paradox. The level of attention that will be lavished on this prestige event does make you reflect on how relatively small events can often struggle to find providers willing to support their needs with the same level of enthusiasm.

If the Olympic movement should act as a reminder of one thing, it is not that people will fall over themselves to win “big”, but that it is the spirit in which people take part that matters most. It should be the same rules for everyone. It’s an obvious statement, but sometimes we do need reminding of the obvious. After all, the same level of dedication and preparation required to achieve success is often the same.

Okay, so we all know that bigger events are typically more lucrative for suppliers. But all providers must also be alert to the danger of delivering a compromised service to events that generate smaller margins. Cash and resources may be tight for many – meaning a higher number of suppliers may be turning their attention to long-established, larger events. But justifying investment is just as important for event organisers in today’s current climate.

Regardless of size, almost every event is being forced to cut costs. So with margins being squeezed everywhere, does differentiating your service offer really make sense? Providing organisers with good, effective service should not be seen as added value, but an integral, essential basic function that everything else is built around.

As suppliers, we really must consider the impact of our decisions. As any organiser, would we want to feel like our hands are tied and we are forced to accept premium prices backed by second-tier service and a restricted product choice? Irrespective of budget, every organiser wants satisfaction and value. Fail to deliver this and the bottom line is that clients will vote with their feet. If not careful, that could quickly turn into a sprint.