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COMMENT72 . www.conference-news.co.uk . February 2012 In the corporate events industry, there's a feeling of optimism for 2012 despite the continuing diffi cult economic climate that engulfs us. One of the reasons for this is the summer occasion on everyone's lips, the 2012 Olympic Games.Far from regions outside of London cowering in the shadows of the capital, second-tier cities should be seizing the opportunity and pushing their own facilities to the corporate and agent sectors. A recent Center Parc's survey revealed that 85 per cent of corporate clients will move their summer plans out of London this year. Many are now looking for alternative venues due to lack of availability and accommodation and accessibility concerns caused by the 2012 Games.The research suggests that 15 per cent of those planning meetings, conferences and events in the capital will postpone any activity until later in the year, with 58 per cent quoting an increase in costs as their reason for hosting outside of London and 17 per cent citing transport issues. Why should they postpone their plans? With cost and availability a continuing cause for concern in London, it seems to make perfect sense for organisers to look beyond the Watford Gap.Without referring too much to the Harry Enfi eld 'Scouse' stereotype, our motto here at ACC Liverpool is to 'keep calm and carry on meeting.' While the industry may be in a state of panic about where to hold a corporate event at short notice, other venues throughout the UK can still come to the rescue. Whereas London venues may be booked up for the foreseeable future, you can bet that many venues in second-tier cities can offer availability at short notice.And let's not forget the importance of cost in this recession with everyone wanting more for their money and who can blame them? Venues which may be considered more intimate are probably more willing to talk cost and tailor prices to a client's requirements.If location is an issue, look no further than transport networks between the capital and the rest of the UK. Delegates can be in Liverpool in two hours by train, without the hassle of laborious tube journeys to get to the venue and to nearby leisure facilities. Location is also a massive factor with the industry realising that venues outside of the capital offer their own attractions, for example our waterfront location appeals to organisers looking for the wow factor. We also have two hotels on site boasting 442 bedrooms while the venue is a minutes' walk away from city centre restaurants.So before the corporate events industry starts to panic about organising that looming date, keep calm and think outside of the box. This is where regional cities such as Liverpool will be at the fore. In fact, all regional cities should be proud of their internationally recognised brands, and in many cases award-winning, conference facilities. This year is about much more than just London.Keep calm and carry on meeting ACC Liverpool's Director of Sales Kerrin MacPhie looks at how second-tier cities can seize the opportunities from the 2012 OlympicsIt seems to make perfect sense for organisers to look beyond the Watford GapKerrin MacPhie