The London 2012 Olympics will have a bigger impact than we might expect on our business life and we need to plan for the disruption they will cause as well as look for the opportunities the event can bring.
It will grab the attention of millions of people who are normally only marginally interested in sport and it will be difficult to avoid coverage of the lead up and during the events which will be everyone in print, on television and radio as well as online. Many people will see it as the event of a lifetime and will go to see some of the events live. There will also be huge numbers of visitors and although these will mainly be in London, they will also be spread around the south east as visitors look to find affordable accommodation, stay with friends and relatives in the area, want to be near some of the events and training facilities that are not in London and visit other areas to make the most of their UK visit.
Potential disruption to our business comes from three effects
- Our own staff (and possibly ourselves) wanting to attend or watch key events creating a big demand for leave in the period of the games (Olympics and Paralympics)
- Our customers, prospects, partners and suppliers also having many staff on leave meaning that decisions are likely to be postponed
- Traffic disruption due to increased number of visitors and travel to and from events. There are also less obvious effects such as a ban on certain aircraft movements around London for security reasons
There are two things we can do to combat this disruption
- Plan in plenty of time and let all your contacts know if you are going to be operating a restricted service during the games. Also check with key suppliers what their plans are
- Try to bring forward business to before the games – encourage prospects, maybe with special offers, to get things done in time for the games
- Providing services and goods to the games, the training camps (which are spread around the South East) and even to the Torch Relay which will pass nearby Mayfield. The organisers are keen to involve all sizes of business
- Offering help during the games to companies who are need additional help either due to increased business or because their staff are on leave
- Providing alternative activities for those who are not interested in the games in any way