To be prepared for event risks, venues must be proactive and continuously monitor and improve your existing policies and procedures to consider the nature of upcoming events, the local and national threat environment, current compliance obligations, foreseeable operational risks, and learnings from past incidents that have occurred at your venue or that are relevant across the industry. The challenge for most venues and event organizers is that new event risks are continuously emerging and existing risks are constantly evolving which makes it difficult to stay ahead.
In my role as a Global Vice President of Risk, it is my job to stay ahead of the latest trends and biggest threats that venues face and help you leverage technology to manage risk effectively. So, further to my recent post that covered everything you need to know about event risk management, I’m sharing my predictions for some of the biggest event risks that venues should prioritize in 2023:
The 8 Biggest Event Risks Venues Face in 2023
1. Crowd Mismanagement
Following years of lockdown restrictions — and the subsequent pent-up demand and heightened excitement from patrons — the importance of adopting effective preventative, detection, response and recovery crowd management measures is greater than ever. Over recent years, we have seen tragic examples of what happens when crowd management fails, is ineffective or lacks an appropriate level of detailed planning, such as the fatal crowd crushes at the Travis Scott concert in Houston, Halloween celebrations in Seoul and Asake concert in London. While the human loss alone is devastating, the reputational and financial loss can also carry a heavy burden.
As a venue or event organizer, you must prioritize crowd management planning throughout 2023. You must conduct thorough event risk assessments to understand and forecast foreseeable incidents. Establish effective risk management plans for preventing incidents, detecting if crowd activities are becoming unsafe, responding to such incidents and recovering the situation to minimize the potential for crowd disasters.
2. Extremism and Acts of Terror
With Martyn’s Law coming into effect in the U.K. in 2023, for any events or organized activities of between 100-800 people, venues and event organizers will be required to meet a minimum standard of security and emergency training and awareness. This is to ensure their workforce is equipped with a reasonable level of preparedness to identify and respond to terrorism-related threats. For any events or organized activities of 800 people or more, venues and event organizers will also be required to complete a formal risk assessment and security risk management plan, in addition to the training set out above.
While these laws are specific to the U.K., leading countries worldwide are committed to improving their strategies for preventing and responding to extremism and acts of terror. You should monitor government guidelines and implement them as part of your event risk management strategies. Below are some key resources available in your region:
- United States – Bureau of Counterterrorism
- Canada – Canada’s Counter-terrorism Strategy
- United Kingdom – Martyn’s Law
- Europe – Council of Europe Council of Europe Committee on Counter-Terrorism (CDCT)
- Australia – Australia’s Strategy for Protecting Crowded Places from Terrorism
- New Zealand – Counter Terrorism and Violent Extremism Strategy
3. Gun Violence
Gun violence continues to rise across North America, and while some of these are considered domestic acts of terror as a motive, the threat will continue to be an important priority for venues throughout 2023 across North America. As a result, venues will need to continue to develop clear strategies for preventing, detecting, delaying, responding and recovering from such incidents to ensure the safety of staff, suppliers and attendees as part of your event risk management strategies.
Your event risk management in this area should include a continued range of activities, such as behavioral detection training for event workers, intelligence sharing with local authorities, social media monitoring, strict access control and onsite search and detection. You also should consider continued training for security personnel in detection operating procedures and penetration testing through ‘Red Teaming’ and other vulnerability assessments, operational desktop readiness, and training in active response, including ‘Run, Hide, Fight, Tell’ emergency lockdown and evacuation preparedness.
According to this post by the Australia Financial Times, the great resignation will continue throughout 2023 and 2024. Therefore, staffing challenges will continue to threaten venues in the short term. This is an international industry-wide problem. For many workers, the events industry is considered unreliable and high risk. As a result, not only must your venue find the staff from a smaller pool of candidates, but you will also need to develop a clear plan for how to deal with the risk of last-minute staffing changes due to illness. In addition, you will need to continue to look for ways to do more with fewer staff.
Consider utilizing one of these strategies to help mitigate your staffing issues, such as:
- Merging larger labor forces i.e., combining security and customer service teams.
- Seeking innovative technologies to facilitate the efficient sale of food, beverage and merchandise, without the need for traditional labor forces.
- Digital and interactive signage solutions to replace customer service staff.
- Digital tickets and self-service scanning terminals make it quicker for patrons to enter the venue without the need for involvement from staff.
5. Cyberattacks and Data Breaches
As businesses and customers continue to become more reliant on web-based technologies, the inherent risks relating to cyber security increase. According to IBM Security’s Cost of a Data Breach Report 2022, the average cost of a data breach reached an all-time high at USD 4.35 million in 2022. This represents a 12.7% increase from 2020 when the average cost was just USD 3.86 million.
While this report is not specific to venues, it does highlight the importance of protecting client data and the fact that cyber security should be part of your risk management plan. We have all experienced the increased frequency of potential fraudsters and scammers attempting to access personal information, however, increased international political tensions and conflict has also fostered an increase in state sponsored attacks on small, medium and large institutions.
As venues rely increasingly on automation and web-based systems in various facets of facility management, marketing and security, it stands to reason that this represents an increasing inherent risk to the venues industry. The role of Information Security Officer in all organizations is becoming more important to ensure a range of prevention, detection and response processes are implemented and regularly tested.
6. Environment, Social Responsibility and Governance (ESG)
Environment, social responsibility and governance (ESG) is becoming a key component of event risk management. As customers are becoming increasingly aware of the impact that large-scale events can have on our environments and communities, failing to adopt socially and environmentally responsible initiatives represents a growing reputational risk to venues and events.
This will continue to grow in importance throughout 2023, so you must consider how to make your events more inclusive and accessible, while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions and non-recyclable waste. In live entertainment, the talent including performers and sports people are using their platform to impose stricter requirements around the integrity and alignment of sponsor brands and partnerships. This will become increasingly a risk for venues to consider, act upon and promote.
The changing climate around the world has shown an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events which can impact on the success of events. Severe weather is not an unexpected risk for any outdoor venue, but it is essential to have a plan in place to help ease the impact of Mother Nature’s fury. The most important thing is to keep people safe, protect your infrastructure and reduce any financial risks that may arise if events need to be postponed.
As a venue or event organizer, you should have a back-up plan, utilize technology to ensure staff receive weather alerts and communicate with attendees about proper protocols.
8. Economic Conditions
Businesses worldwide are experiencing considerable financial risk due to the increasing costs of goods and services, ongoing supply chain issues and consumers with less disposable income. In 2023, venues must factor these financial risks into their event risk management plans, to maximize revenue and profitability and ensure long-term business success.
With cost-of-living pressures affecting consumer’s disposable income and rising interest rates affecting mortgage holders, it’s important for events to continue to differentiate themselves, focus on the customer experience and provide affordable escapism from other pressures people are experiencing at home.
Support for Event Risks at Your Venue
It’s important to be prepared and plan for the prevention of risk incidents. Make sure you capture issues and ensure risk management processes are followed, tracked, documented, and reported. Risk Manager by Momentus Technologies is a solution to help venue stakeholders manage event risks. Discover how you can leverage our purpose-built solution to improve event risk management at your venue.
By Wayne Middleton