Talking about the Olympics – you were talking about the Olympics, weren’t you? So far it’s all going swimmingly and even a grouch like me, who bemoaned the expense and extravagance (given the current economic climate), is delighted to see Team GB has joined the gold rush with the gymnastics, equestrian, shooting, rowing and cycling!But what about the business implications? Will London 2012 exceed everyone’s expectations, or will it turn out to be nothing but more than fool’s gold?
Like anyone involved in marketing, I’ve been investigating the possible opportunities in the run up to the event. After a rush of blood to the head, I even started advising my clients, free of charge on how to make the most of the Olympics. And you know what? I was almost killed in the stampede of apathy!
The CBI (Confederation of British Industry) conducted a survey of business attitudes to the Olympic Games. Of some 250 or so London-based businesses polled, many were taking a fairly positive approach. About a quarter were hoping to directly benefit, and two-thirds were expecting at least the same level of business during the games.
Of course, the London hotels and hospitality businesses are seeing a huge surge, but, what about all the other businesses across the UK? According to the CCTV (China Central TV) website’s report on the survey, 55% of businesses in other UK cities weren’t so impressed, but try finding that on the CBI website.
So, how will the local pubs in Plymouth, or wine bars in Wigan benefit? Will they be packed to the gunnels with sporting enthusiasts, swilling real ale or sipping their Chardonnays? Or, will their tills have stopped ringing for the duration?
If it was my business, I think I’d take to my bed and hide under the duvet (with the entire contents of the wine cellar) until that infernal flame had finally been extinguished!
Will tourism figures show a decline nationwide? July and August are our peak months for holidaymakers. Only those with deep pockets will be able to afford the inflated fares and accommodation costs. That means empty bed spaces and no doubt; huge losses of revenue for these businesses at a time when we need to actually boost our tourism, not restrict it.
And dare I mention the tickets? We’re still in recession, everyone’s sick of cutbacks, and we live in fear of the next round of job losses. Charities like the Trussell Trust, are having to organise emergency food banks for people at risk of going hungry. So, at around £200 or £300 for a ticket to a major event, you can’t deny that this has to be an elitist’s games.
No wonder there’s empty seats – how many of the average families have that sort of money to spend? And just don’t start me on the food costs – please!
As you might have guessed, when it comes to the greater good, I’m firmly in the Olympic sceptic camp.
But on the plus side, since Danny Boyle’s spectacular opening ceremony, there is an amazing feeling of euphoria, sweeping across our green and pleasant land. And of course, I’m looking forward to hearing all about the budding entrepreneurs who are making a fortune, selling false Bradley Wiggins “stylee” sideburns to the star-struck Olympic masses!