Euro 2016: a bookies’ nightmare?
Will favourites France win the tournament? What odds should we assign World Cup holders Germany? Which teams are the dark horses? Who will score the most goals? These are all questions that a betting company faces in the build and during an event like Euro 2016.
With so many permutations and outcomes possible in such a short space of time, an event like this can make or break a bookies’ year as millions across Europe try to calculate the most likely winners, weigh up odds or optimistically punt on their own team.
Business Review Europe asked BetVictor CEO Andreas Meinrad about what Euro 2016 means for his company.
BRE: Describe the feelings that big sporting tournaments such as Euro 2016 bring to BetVictor.
AM: Euro 2016 is an exciting opportunity; we want to take our customers, old and new, on a journey from the opening ceremony all the way to the final. If they correctly predict the time and scorer of the opening goal in the final they will win, or share, £1,000,000 via our Million Pound Goal promotion; no gimmicks, no spin just the best value offer for new and existing customers and a truly outstanding creative proposition that will set us apart from the field. Simple as!
What impact will Euro 2016 have on the European gaming industry?
In terms of the wider betting industry, we are less concerned by what our competitors are planning to do and more interested on our own activities and ambitions. However, the Euros tend to spur on an array of cheap acquisition gimmicks, heightened offers, money-back deals and additional concessions- so I imagine this will be the case again this year.
Our response is to remain focused on what really matters to the customer; the bet. Improving the betting experience by removing the clutter from both the product and value messaging has helped us to differentiate ourselves from our competitors.
Do you see a change in betting patterns with events like Euro 2016? What challenges does it present?
The Euros sees bets being placed by those once-every-two-years football supporters. One of the challenges we face is trying to retain these punters after the Euros are over. We aim to make sure BetVictor is the bookmaker of choice for the football bettor for Euro 2016 and beyond.
How is BetVictor preparing for Euro 2016?
We have been focused on "best price" in football for years and are widely acknowledged as the best value operator in the sport.
Our policy will not change during the Euros; we will continue to offer best prices on football including Price Promise which is a best price guarantee on all football accas, five-folds and above, compared to our main competitors. We are very confident that our strong football pricing proposition allied to our Million Pound Goal promotion will prove a hit with new and existing customers.
One of our key aims to is ensure that, right across our mix of marketing challenges, our customers receive the right message, on the right channel, at the right time, every single time; both in real time and as part of a pre-planned campaign. We hope this will help to provide a unique and enhanced betting experience.
Finally, localising our content is particularly important during the Euros. The tournament provides an opportunity to hyper-personalise all our content, campaign aggressiveness, trigger times and offers, depending on developments within the tournament itself.
Is it true that major upsets such as Leicester City this season are good news for betting companies?
Leicester City winning the Premier League is an extraordinary, almost magical story and good luck to the customers who had the foresight and instinct to back their judgement; like everyone else we are left counting the cost of their success but winning customers are part and parcel of the gaming industry. Will it be good news for the industry in the long term? Who knows but it is great to see David slay Goliath occasionally.
Are you hoping that tournament favourites France do not win Euro 2016?
France are sure to be well-supported and they alongside, World Cup winners Germany, Spain and England are likely to be the best backed nations in what is sure to be a wonderful tournament and one which we are all eagerly looking forward to.
What are your thoughts on your team, Austria’s chances?
We have every chance of qualifying from a very open looking Group F. Portugal are favourites and deserve to be but they are far too short given both Austria and Iceland are worthy opponents; we must beat Hungary in our opening game in Bordeaux. If we do, I would be confident we will progress to the knockout stages and could easily top the group.
Read the July EURO 2016 issue of Business Review Europe magazine.
UK office space slashed as hybrid working looks set to stay
With hybrid predicted to be the working model of the future, and businesses both large and small announcing that WFH will continue for employees into the future, the traditional office space is being re-thought.
Businesses are both questioning how much space they need for a hybrid working future, especially if it means they can potentially save money, and what form that space should take.
UK firms slashing office space
Back as early as February, HSBC – whose real estate footprint currently stretches to around 112 football pitches worldwide – said it would be cutting its post-COVID office space by half globally and by 40% in London over the next few years, as it looks to implementation of a hybrid working model in light of the pandemic.
Lloyds Bank followed suit. Following an internal survey where 77% of employees said they wanted to continue to work for 3+ days a week post-pandemic, the bank announced it was also moving to a hybrid model, and so looking to cut its office space by 20% over the next two years.
In fact, the latest research from consulting firm PwC reveals that a third of organisations surveyed (258 of the UK’s largest companies) believe they will reduce their office footprint by more than 30%.
The findings of PwC’s Occupier Survey indicate there is likely to be a sizeable fall in occupied office space with half of executives surveyed saying that despite taking into account mass vaccinations, employees will continue to work virtually 2-3 days a week.
And companies continue to announce the hybrid working model for their employees. Accountancy firm EY has just announced that its 17,000 employees are moving to a hybrid way of working, WFH for at least two days a week. This follows PwC which in March said workers could stay at home for half the time and KPMG which this month said it would expect employees to only work two days in the office every week.
More collaborative work spaces
However, what’s also clear from PwC’s research is that the role of the office is not going to disappear completely, but instead adapt to a new way of working, with half of all organisations with more than 100 employees saying they have a real estate and workplace strategy that considers the long-term impact of COVID-19.
“We may see an increased demand for flexible space as many businesses operating models may well need that option if holding dead space is to be avoided,” says Angus Johnson, UK Real Estate Leader at PwC UK.
According to the survey, more than three quarters of respondents said they are likely to reconfigure existing office with 43% of financial services firms stating that they are extremely likely to do so as a result of the pandemic.
“It’s also clear that the nature and purpose of office space is going to change. As occupiers seek new, different space to meet their accommodation needs, environmental aspects will be increasingly important. If the real estate sector is to truly succeed as a more dynamic, greener industry it’s imperative that creative thinking comes to the fore.”
And companies are already thinking creatively how they can utilise office space in a hybrid future. So while HSBC is cutting a significant amount of office space, it is not downsizing its prestigious Canary Wharf headquarters, and instead reimagining the space. In April, CEO Noel Quinn announced the firm was embracing an open plan floor, with no designated desks or private offices, and instead using hot-desks in line with the future hybrid working style. “My leadership team and I have moved to a fully open-plan floor of the building in east London with no designated desks,” he said on LinkedIn.
Lloyds also reported it was adapting its office space, so that rather than individual offices, it will have a more collaborative workspace. And just last month, KPMG announced it too was ditching desks and individual offices, and replacing them with meeting rooms and conference halls for a more collaborative workspace.